|A Child's Book of Stories|
|by Penrhyn W. Coussens|
|A choice collection of favorite fairy tales, to delight children of all ages. The 86 stories selected for this collection include folk tales from England, Norway, and India, as well as the best fairy tales from Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault. The volume also contains a handful of fables from Aesop and several tales from the Arabian Nights. Ages 5-9 |
PUSS IN BOOTS; OR, THE MASTER CAT
HERE was a miller who left no more estate to the three sons
he had than his mill, his ass, and his cat. The
partition was soon made. Neither scrivener nor attorney
was sent for. They would soon have eaten up all the
poor patrimony. The eldest had the mill, the second the
ass, and the youngest nothing but the cat. The poor
young fellow was quite comfortless at having so poor a
"My brothers," said he, "may get their living
handsomely enough by joining their stocks together; but
for my part, when I have eaten up my cat and made me a
muff of his skin I must die of hunger."
The cat, who heard all this, but made as if he did not,
said to him with a grave and serious air:
"Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master. You have
nothing else to do but to give me a bag and get a pair
of boots made for me that I many scamper through the
dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you have
not so bad a portion of me as you imagine."
The cat's master did not build very much upon what he
said. He had often seen him play a great many cunning
tricks to catch rats and mice, as when he used to hang
by the heels, or hide himself in the meal, and make as
if he were dead; so that he did not altogether despair
of his affording him some help in his miserable
condition. When the cat had what he asked for he
 booted himself very gallantly, and putting his bag
about his neck, he held the strings of it in his two
fore paws and went into a warren where was great
abundance of rabbits. He put bran and sow-thistle into
his bag, and stretching out at length, as if he had
been dead, he waited for some young rabbits, not yet
acquainted with the deceits of the world, to come and
rummage his bag for what he had put into it.
Scarce was he lain down but he had what he wanted. A
rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and
Monsieur Puss, immediately drawing close the strings,
took and killed him without pity. Proud of his prey, he
went with it to the palace and asked to speak with his
majesty. He was shown upstairs into the king's
apartment, and making a low reverence said to him:
"I have brought you, sir, a rabbit of the warren, which
my noble lord the Marquis of Carabas" (for that was the
title which puss was pleased to give his master) "has
commanded me to present to your Majesty from him."
"Tell thy master," said the king, "that I thank him and
that he does me a great deal of pleasure."
Another time he went and hid himself among some
standing corn, holding still his bag open, and when a
brace of partridges ran into it he drew the strings and
so caught them both. He went and made a present of
these to the king, as he had done before of the rabbit
which he took in the warren. The king, in like manner,
received the partridges with great pleasure and ordered
him some money for drink.
The cat continued for two or three months thus to carry
his Majesty, from time to time, game of his master's
taking. One day in particular, when he knew for certain
that he was to take the air along the river-side with
his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world,
he said to his master:
"If you will follow my advice your fortune is made. You
 have nothing else to do but go and wash yourself
in the river, in that part I shall show you, and leave
the rest to me."
The Marquis of Carabas did what the cat advised him to,
without knowing why or wherefore. While he was washing
the king passed by, and the cat began to cry out:
"Help! help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be
At this noise the king put his head out of the
coach-window, and finding it was the cat who had so
often brought him such good game, he commanded his
guards to run immediately to the assistance of his
lordship the Marquis of Carabas. While they were
drawing the poor marquis out of the river, the cat came
up to the coach and told the king that while his master
was washing there came by some rogues, who went off
with his clothes, though he had cried out "Thieves!
thieves!" several times as loud as he could.
This cunning cat had hidden them under a great stone.
The king immediately commanded the officers of his
wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the
Marquis of Carabas.
The king caressed him after a very extraordinary
manner, and as the fine clothes he had given him
extremely set off his good mein (for he was well made
and very handsome in his person), the king's daughter
took a secret inclination to him, and the Marquis of
Carbas had no sooner cast two or three respectful and
somewhat tender glances but she fell in love with him
to distraction. The king would needs have him come into
the coach and take part of the airing. The cat, quite
overjoyed to see his project begin to succeed, marched
on before, and meeting with some countrymen who were
mowing a meadow, he said to them:
"Good people, you who are mowing, if you do not tell
the king that the meadow you mow belongs to my Lord
Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as
herbs for the pot."
The king did not fail asking the mowers to whom the
meadow they were mowing belonged.
 "To my Lord Marquis of Carabas," answered they
altogether, for the cat's threats and made them
"You see, sir," said the marquis, "this is a meadow
which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every
The master cat, who went still on before, met with some
reapers and said to them:
"Good people, you who are reaping, if you do not tell
the king that all this corn belongs to the Marquis of
Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the
The king, who passed by a moment after, would needs
know to whom all that corn, which he then saw, did
"To my Lord Marquis of Carabas," replied the reapers,
and the king was very well pleased with it, as well as
the marquis, whom he congratulated thereupon. The
master cat, who went always before, said the same words
to all he met, and the king was astonished at the vast
estates of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.
Monsieur Puss came at last to a stately castle, the
master of which was an ogre, the richest had ever been
known; for all the lands which the king had then gone
over belonged to this castle. The cat, who had taken
care to inform himself who this ogre was and what he
could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not
pass so near his castle without having the honor of
paying his respects to him.
The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do
and made him sit down.
"I have been assured," said the cat, "that you have the
gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of
creatures you have a mind to. You can, for example,
transform yourself into a lion, or an elephant, and the
"That is true," answered the ogre very briskly; "and to
convince you, you shall see me now become a lion."
Puss was so sadly terrified at the sight of a lion so
 that he immediately got into the gutter,
not without abundance of trouble and danger, because of
his boots, which were of no use at all to him in
walking upon the tiles. A little while after, when puss
saw that the ogre had resumed his natural form, he came
down and owned he had been very much frightened.
"I have been moreover informed," said the cat, "but I
know not how to believe it, that you have also the
power to take on you the shape of the smallest animals;
for example, to change yourself into a rat or a mouse;
but I must own to you I take this to be impossible."
"Impossible!" cried the ogre. "You shall see that
And at the same time he changed himself into a mouse
and began to run about the floor. Puss not sooner
perceived this but he fell upon him and ate him up.
Meanwhile the king, who saw, as he passed, this fine
castle of the ogre's, had to mind to go into it. Puss,
who heard the noise of his Majesty's coach running over
the drawbridge, ran out and said to the king:
"Your Majesty is welcome to this castle of my Lord
Marquis of Carabas."
"What! my lord marquis," cried the king, "and does this
castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer
than this court and all the stately buildings which
surround it. Let us go into it, if you please."
The marquis gave his hand to the princess and followed
the king, who went first. They passed into a spacious
hall, where they found a magnificent collation, which
the ogre had prepared for his friends who were that
very day to visit him, but dared not enter, knowing the
king was there. His Majesty was perfectly charmed with
the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as
was his daughter, who had fallen violently in love with
him, and seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to
him, after having drunk five or six glasses:
 "It will be owing to yourself only, my lord
marquis, if you are not my son-in-law."
The marquis, making several low bows, accepted the
honor which his Majesty conferred upon him, and
forthwith, that very same day, married the princess.
Puss became a great lord and never ran after mice any
more but only for his diversion.
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