PUSS IN BOOTS
 THERE was once a miller, who, at his death, had nothing to leave to his three children but
his mill, his ass, and his cat; so he called in no lawyer, and made no will. The eldest
soon took the mill; the second the ass; while the youngest had nothing but the cat, who
seemed more likely to prove a burden than a boon to his new master. The poor fellow was
quite downcast and said to himself: "My brothers, by putting their goods together, will
be able to earn an honest livelihood; but as for myself, when I shall have eaten my cat,
and sold his skin, what is there left? Then I shall die of hunger."
The cat, who was sitting on the window-seat, overheard these words, without seeming to
do so, and, looking up, said to him with a very serious, sober air,—"Nay, dear
master, do not be downcast at your future prospects. Only give me a bag, and get me a
pair of boots made, such as other folks wear, so that I may stride through the brambles,
and you will soon see that you have a better bargain than you think for."
Although the cat's new master did not put much faith in these promises, yet he had seen
him perform so many clever tricks in catching rats and mice,—such as hanging stiff
by his hind legs, to make believe he were dead, and concealing himself in the meal-tub,
as if he were nowhere about,—that he did not quite despair of his helping him to
better his fortunes. Besides, he knew not what else to do, and there was no harm in
As soon as the cat was provided with what he asked for, he drew on his boots, and,
slinging the bag round his neck, took hold of the two strings with his fore-paws,
and set off for a warren that he knew of, plentifully stocked with rabbits. He filled
his bag with bran ad sow-thistles, and then stretched himself out as stiff as though
he had been dead, waiting patiently till some simple young rabbit, unused to worldly
snares and wiles, should see the dainty feast and never think of the cat. He had
scarcely lain a few moments in ambush before a thoughtless young rabbit caught at
the bait, and went headlong into the bag, whereupon the cat drew the strings, and
immediately strangled the foolish creature. The cat was vastly proud of his victory,
and immediately went to the palace and asked to speak to the king. He was shown into
the king's cabinet, when he bowed respectfully to his majesty, and said, "Sire, this
is a rabbit from the warren of the Marquis of Carabas (such was the title the cat took
it into his head to bestow on his master), which he desired me to present to your majesty."
"Tell you master that I am obliged by his courtesy, and that I accept his present with
much pleasure," replied the king, looking graciously at him.
Another time the cat went and concealed himself in a cornfield, and held his bag open
as before, and, very shortly after, two partridges were lured into the trap, when he
drew the strings and made
 them both prisoners. He then went and presented them
to the king, as he had done the rabbit. The king received the partridges very
graciously, and ordered the messenger to be rewarded for his trouble.
For two or three months, Puss continued to carry game every now and then to the
king, always presenting it in the name of his master, the Marquis of Carabas, who
he said was a famous sportsman. At last he happened to hear that the king was going
to take a drive on the banks of the river, in company with his daughter, who was the
most beautiful princess in the world; and he said to his master, "If you will but
follow my advice, your fortune is as good as made. You need only go and bathe in the
river at the spot that I shall point out, and leave the rest to me."
The Marquis of Carabas did as his cat advised him, though it was too much for him to
say what it was all coming to. Just as he was bathing, the king came driving past,
when Puss began to bawl out as loud as he could, "Help! help! the Marquis of Carabas
is drowning! Save him!"
On hearing this, the king looked out of the carriage-window, and, recognizing the
cat who had so frequently brought him game, ordered his body-guards to fly to the
assistance of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.
While the poor marquis was being fished out of the river, Puss stepped up to the royal
carriage, and informed his majesty, that, during the time his master was bathing, some
robbers had stolen his clothes, although he had cried out "Stop thief!" with all his
might. The rogue had really only hidden them under a large stone. The king immediately
ordered the gentlemen of his wardrobe to go and fetch one of his most sumptuous dresses
for the Marquis of Carabas.
When the marquis, who was a well-grown, handsome young fellow, came forth gaily dressed,
he looked so elegant that the king took him for a very fine gentleman, and said the
politest things in the world to him, while the princess was so struck with his appearance,
that my Lord Marquis of Carabas had scarcely made his obeisance to her, and looked at her
once or twice with a very tender air, before she fell over head and ears in love with him.
The king insisted on his getting into the carriage and taking a drive with them. Puss,
highly delighted at the turn things were taking, and determined that all should turn out
in the very best way, now ran on before, and having reached a meadow where some peasants
were mowing the grass, he thus accosted them: "I say, good folks, if you do not tell the
king, when he comes this way, that the field you are mowing belongs to the Marquis of
Carabas, you shall all be chopped as fine as mince-meat."
 When the carriage came by, the king put his head out, and asked the mowers whose good
grassland that was. "It belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, please your majesty," said
they in a breath, for the cat's threats ha dfrightened them mightily.
"Upon my word, marquis," observed the king, "that is a fine estate of yours."
"Yes, sire," replied the marquis, with an easy air, "it yields me a tolerable income
Puss, who continued to run on before the carriage, presently came up to some reapers.
"I say, you reapers," cried he, "mind you tell the king that all this corn belongs to
the Marquis of Carabas or else you shall, everyone of you, be chopped into mince-meat."
The king passed by a moment after, and inquired to whom those cornfields belonged.
"To the Marquis of Carabas, please your majesty," replied the reapers.
"Faith, it pleases our majesty right well to see our beloved marquis is so wealthy!"
quoth the king.
Puss kept still running on before the carriage, and repeating the same instructions to
all the laborers he met, and the king was astounded at the vast possessions of the
Marquis of Carabas, and kept congratulating him, while the new-made nobleman received
each fresh compliment more lightly than the last, so that one could see he was really a
marquis, and a very grand one too.
At length Puss reached a magnificent castle belonging to an ogre, who was immensely rich,
since all the lands the king had been riding through were a portion of his estate. Puss
having inquired what sort of a person the ogre might be, and what he was able to do, sent
in a message asking leave to speak with him, adding that he was unwilling to pass so near
his castle without paying his respects to him.
The ogre received him as civilly as it is in the nature of an ogre to do, and bade him
rest himself. "I have been told," said Puss, "that you have the power of transforming
yourself into all sorts of animals, such for instance, as a lion, or an elephant." "So
I have," replied the ogre, sharply; "do you disbelieve it? Then look, and you shall see
me become a lion at once."
When Puss saw a lion before him, he was seized with such a fright that he scrambled up
to the roof, although it was no easy job, owing to his boots, which were not intended
for walking in a gutter and over tiles.
At last perceiving that the ogre had returned to his natural shape, Puss came down
again, and confessed he had been exceedingly frightened.
"But I have also been told," said Puss, "only I really cannot believe it, that you
likewise possess the power of taking the shape of the smallest animals, and that,
for instance, you could change yourself into a rat or a mouse; but that is really
too much to believe; it is quite impossible."
"Impossible, indeed!" quoth the ogre, now put upon his mettle; "you shall see!"
 So saying, he immediately took on the shape of a mouse, and began frisking about the
floor, when Puss pounced upon him, gave him one shake, and that was the end of the
ogre. By this time the king had reached the gates of the ogre's magnificent castle,
and expressed a wish to enter so splendid a building. Puss hearing the rumbling of
the carriage across the drawbridge, now ran out to meet the king, saying, "Your majesty
is welcome to the Marquis of Carabas's castle."
"What! my lord marquis," exclaimed the king, "does this castle likewise belong to you?
Really, I never saw anything more splendid than the courtyard and the surrounding
buildings; pray let us see if the inside be equal to the outside."
The marquis gracefully handed out the princess, and, following the king, they mounted
a flight of steps, and were ushered by Puss, who danced before them, into a vast hall,
where they found an elegant feast spread. Some of the ogre's friends were to have
visited him that day, but the news went about that the king had come, and so they
dared not go. The king was positively delighted, the castle was so magnificent and
the Marquis of Carabas such an excellent young man; the princess, too, was evidently
already in love with him so; after drinking five or six glasses of wine, his majesty
hemmed and said,—
"You have only to say the word, my lord marquis, to become the son-in-law of your
The marquis bowed and looked at the princess, and that very same day they were
married, and the old king gave them his blessing. Puss, who had brought it all
about, looked on mightily pleased, and ever after lived there a great lord, and
hunted mice for mere sport, just when he pleased.
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