|The Book of Fables and Folk Stories|
|by Horace Elisha Scudder|
|A choice collection of old folk tales and fables, attractively arranged and illustrated. Between each of the longer tales appear several short fables, offering a varied reading experience for the young reader for whom it is intended. Ages 6-9 |
PUSS IN BOOTS
PUSS GOES A-HUNTING
THERE was once an old miller, and when he died he left nothing to
his three sons except his mill, an ass, and a cat. The
eldest son took the mill, the second son took the ass, and
so the cat fell to the youngest. This poor fellow looked
very sober, and said:—
"What am I to do? My brothers can take care of themselves
with a mill and an ass. But I can only eat the cat and sell
his skin. Then what will be left? I shall die of hunger."
The cat heard these words and looked up at his master.
"Do not be troubled," he said. "Give me a bag and get me a
pair of boots, and I will soon show you what I can do."
 The young man did not see what the cat could do, but he knew
he could do many strange things. He had seen him hang stiff
by his hind legs as if he were dead. He had seen him hide
himself in the meal tub. Oh, the cat was a wise one!
Besides, what else was there for the young man to do?
So he got a bag and a pair of boots for the cat. Puss drew
on the boots and hung the bag about his neck. Then he took
hold of the two strings of the bag with his fore paws and
set off for a place where there were some rabbits.
He filled his bag with bran and left the mouth of the bag
open. Then he lay down, shut his eyes, and seemed to be
sound asleep. Soon a young rabbit smelled the bran and saw
the open bag. He went headlong into it, and at once the cat
drew the strings and caught the rabbit.
Puss now went to the palace, and asked to speak to the king.
So he was brought before the king. He made a low bow and
"Sire, this is a rabbit which my master bade me bring to
"And who is your master?"
"He is the Marquis of Carabas," said the cat. This was a
title which Puss took it into his head to give to his
 "Tell your master that I accept his gift," said the king,
and Puss went off in his boots. In a few days he hid
himself with his bag in a cornfield. This time he caught
two partridges, and carried them to the king. The king sent
his thanks to the Marquis of Carabas, and made a present to
So things went on for some time. Every week Puss brought
some game to the king, and the king began to think the
Marquis of Carabas a famous hunter. Now it chanced that the
king and his daughter were about to take a drive along the
banks of a river. Puss heard of it and went to his master.
"Master," said he, "do just as I tell you, and your fortune
will be made. You need only go and bathe in the river, and
leave the rest to me."
"Very well," said his master. He did as the cat told him,
but he did not know what it all meant. While he was in the
river, the king and the princess drove by. Puss jumped out
of the bushes and began to bawl:—
"Help! help! the Marquis of Carabas is drowning! save him!"
The king heard and looked out of his carriage. There he saw
the cat that had brought him so much game, and he bade his
men run to help the Marquis. When
 he was out of the river, Puss came forward, and told what
"My master was bathing, and some robbers came and stole his
clothes. I ran after them and cried, 'Stop, thief!' but
they got away. Then my master was carried beyond his depth
and would have drowned, if you had not come by with your
At this the king bade one of his servants ride back and
bring a fine suit of clothes for the Marquis and they all
waited. So, at last, the Marquis of Carabas came up to the
 much more finely than he ever had been in his life. He was
a handsome fellow, and he looked so well that the king at
once bade him enter the carriage.
PUSS AND THE LION
PUSS now had things quite to his mind. He ran on before, and
came to a meadow, where some men were mowing grass. He
stopped before them, and said:—
"The king is coming this way. You must tell him that this
field belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, or you shall all be
chopped as fine as mince-meat." When the carriage came by,
the king put his head out, and said to the men:—
"This is good grass land. Who owns it?"
"The Marquis of Carabas," they all said, for Puss had thrown
them into a great fright.
"You have a fine estate, Marquis," said the king.
"Yes, Sire," he replied, tossing his head; "it pays me
well." Puss still ran before the carriage, and came soon to
"Tell the king," he cried, "that all this
grain belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, or you shall
 all be chopped as fine as mince-meat." The king now came
by, and asked the reapers who owned the grain they were
"The Marquis of Carabas," they said. So it went on. Puss
bade the men in the fields call the Marquis of Carabas their
lord, or it would go hard with them. The king was amazed.
The Marquis took it all with a grand air. It was easy to
see that he was a very rich and great man. The princess sat
in the corner of the carriage and thought the Marquis no
At last they drew near the castle of the one who really
the fields they had passed through. Puss asked about
him, and found he was a monster who made every one about him
 very much afraid. Puss sent in word that he should like to
pay his respects, and the monster bade him come in.
"I have been told," said Puss, "that you can change yourself
into any kind of animal. They say you can even make
yourself a lion."
"To be sure I can," said the monster. "Do you not believe
it? Look, and you shall see me become a lion at once."
When Puss saw a lion before him he was in a great fright,
and got as far away as he could. There he stayed till the
lion became a monster again.
"That was dreadful!" said Puss. "I was nearly dead with
fear. But it must be much harder to make yourself small.
They do say that you can turn into a mouse, but I do not
"Not believe it!" cried the monster. "You shall see!" So
he made himself at once into a mouse, and began running over
the floor. In a twinkling Puss pounced upon him and gave
him one shake. That was the end of the monster.
By this time the king had reached the gates of the castle,
and thought he would like to see so fine a place. Puss
heard the wheels, and ran down just as the king drove up to
"Welcome!" he said, as he stood on the steps
 of the castle. "Welcome to the castle of the Marquis of
"What! my lord Marquis," said the king, "does this castle,
too, belong to you? I never saw anything so fine. I should
really like to enter."
"Your majesty is welcome!" said the young man, bowing low,
taking off the cap which the king had given him. Then he
gave his hand to the princess, and they went up the steps.
Puss danced before them in his boots.
They came into a great hall, and there they found a feast
spread. The monster had asked some friends to dine with him
that day, but the news went about that the king was at the
castle, and so they dared not go.
The king was amazed at all he saw, and the princess went
behind him, just as much pleased. The Marquis of Carabas
said little. He held his head high and played with his
When dinner was over, the king took the Marquis
one side and
"You have only to say the word, my lord Marquis, and you
shall be the son-in-law of your king."
So the Marquis married the princess, and Puss in Boots
become a great lord, and hunted mice for mere sport, just
when he pleased.
Hundreds of additional titles available for
online reading when you join Gateway to the Classics