PUSS IN BOOTS
Once upon a time . . . a miller died leaving the mill to his eldest son,
his donkey to his second son and . . . a cat to his youngest son.
"Now that's some difference!" you might say; but there you are, that's how
the miller was!
The eldest son kept the mill, the second son took the donkey and set off in
search of his fortune . . . while the third sat down on a stone and sighed,
"A cat! What am I going to do with that?" But the cat heard his words and
"Don't worry, Master. What do you think? That I'm worth less than a
half-ruined mill or a mangy donkey? Give me a cloak, a hat with a feather in
it, a bag and a pair of boots, and you will see what I can do." The young man,
by no means surprised, for it was quite common for cats to talk in those days,
gave the cat what he asked for, and as he strode away, confident and cheerful.
the cat said. "Don't look so glum, Master. See you soon!"
Swift of foot as he was, the cat caught a fat wild rabbit, popped it into
his bag, knocked at the castle gate, went before the King and, removing his
hat, with a sweeping bow, he said:
"Sire, the famous Marquis of Carabas sends you this fine plump rabbit as a
"Oh," said the King, "thanks so much."
"Till tomorrow," replied the cat as he went out. And the next day, back he
came with some partridges tucked away in his bag. "Another gift from the brave
Marquis of Carabas," he announced. The Queen remarked,
"This Marquis of Carabas is indeed a very courteous gentleman."
In the days that followed, Puss in Boots regularly visited the castle,
carrying rabbits, hares, partridges and skylarks, presenting them all to the
King in the name of the Marquis of Carabas. Folk at the palace began to talk
about this noble gentleman.
"He must be a great hunter," someone remarked. "He must be very loyal to
the King," said someone else. And yet another, "But who is he? I've never
heard of him." At this someone who wanted to show people how much he knew,
"Oh, yes, I've heard his name before. In fact, I knew his father."
The Queen was very interested in this generous man who sent these gifts.
"Is your master young and handsome?" she asked the cat.
"Oh yes. And very rich, too," answered Puss in Boots. "In fact, he would be
very honoured if you and the King called to see him in his castle." When the
cat returned home and told his master that the King and Queen were going to
visit him, he was horrified.
"Whatever shall we do?" he cried. "As soon as they see me they will know
how poor I am."
"Leave everything to me," replied Puss in Boots. "I have a plan." For
several days, the crafty cat kept on taking gifts to the King and Queen, and
one day he discovered that they were taking the Princess on a carriage ride
that very afternoon.
The cat hurried home in great excitement. "Master, come along," he cried.
"It is time to carry out my plan. You must go for a swim in the river."
"But I can't swim," replied the young man.
"That's all right," replied Puss in Boots. "Just trust me." So they went to
the river and when the King's carriage appeared the cat pushed his master into
"Help!" cried the cat. "The Marquis of Carabas is drowning." The King heard
his cries and sent his escorts to the rescue. They arrived just in time to
save the poor man, who really was drowning. The King, the Queen and the
Princess fussed around and ordered new clothes to be brought for the Marquis
"Wouldn't you like to marry such a handsome man?" the Queen asked her
"Oh, yes," replied the Princess. However, the cat overheard one of the
ministers remark that they must find out how rich he was.
"He is very rich indeed," said Puss in Boots. "He owns the castle and all
this land. Come and see for yourself. I will meet you at the castle."
And with these words, the cat rushed off in the direction of the castle,
shouting at the peasants working in the fields, "If anyone asks you who your
master is, answer: the Marquis of Carabas. Otherwise you will all be sorry."
And so, when the King's carriage swept past, the peasants told the King that
their master was the Marquis of Carabas.
In the meantime, Puss in Boots had arrived at the castle, the home of a
huge, cruel ogre. Before knocking at the gate, the cat said to himself, "I
must be very careful, or I'll never get out of here alive." When the door
opened, Puss in Boots removed his feather hat, exclaiming, "My Lord Ogre, my
"What do you want, cat?" asked the ogre rudely.
"Sire, I've heard you possess great powers. That, for instance, you can
change into a lion or an elephant."
"That's perfectly true," said the ogre, "and so what?"
"Well," said the cat, "I was talking to certain friends of mine who said
that you can't turn into a tiny little creature, like a mouse."
"Oh, so that's what they say, is it?" exclaimed the ogre. The cat nodded,
"Well, Sire, that's my opinion too, because folk that can do big things
never can manage little ones."
"Oh, yes? Well, just watch this!" retorted the ogre, turning into a mouse.
In a flash, the cat leapt on the mouse and ate it whole. Then he dashed to the
castle gate, just in time, for the King's carriage was drawing up. With a bow,
Puss in Boots said,
"Sire, welcome to the castle of the Marquis of Carabas!" The King and
Queen, the Princess and the miller's son who, dressed in his princely clothes,
really did look like a marquis, got out of the carriage and the King spoke:
"My dear Marquis, you're a fine, handsome, young man, you have a great deal
of land and a magnificent castle. Tell me, are you married?"
"No," the young man answered, "but I would like to find a wife." He looked
at the Princess as he spoke. She in turn smiled at him.
To cut a long story short, the miller's son, now Marquis of Carabas,
married the Princess and lived happily with her in the castle. And from time
to time, the cat would wink and whisper, "You see, Master, I am worth a lot
more than any mangy donkey or half-ruined mill, aren't I?"