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PUSS IN BOOTS.
THERE was once an old miller who had three sons, and after his
death his property was divided among them.
The eldest son had the mill, and he soon set the sails going round,
and round, and the farmers and neighbors brought their corn and
wheat to be ground, and money came in very fast. So he was all right,
and had no cause to complain.
The second son' did not fare so well, however, for he had nothing
left him but a donkey, and he was quite down-in-the-mouth about it
for a while. Then the thought struck him that he might join in with
his elder brother, and by taking the grain to and from the mill might
earn enough to keep himself from starving. This turned out to be a
good plan, and he thought himself lucky in having such a good and
faithful servant as the little donkey. So he was all right, and had no
cause to complain.
But the third son fared the worst of all, for all that fell to his share
was a cat, and that was about as good, he thought, as nothing at all.
He sat down to think in what way he could earn a living, and be-
moaned his fate with bitter sighs and tears.
"What shall I do ?" he cried aloud. If I kill the cat and sell her
skin, that won't go far toward keeping me out of the poor-house! Oh,
how much worse I am off than my brothers!"
The cat sat near his master and heard every word he said; and when
he paused for a moment, Puss came forward, and in a clear voice said:
" Dear master, do not be so cast down. If you'll give me a pair of
PUSS IN BOOTS.
boots and a game-bag you shall have no cause for complaint." The
young man did not understand how the cat could be of any service to
him, but as he had always been a clever puss he thought it best to
So Puss was measured for a pair of well-fitting boots, and as soon as
they came home he put them on, hung the game-bag round his neck,
and set off on his adventures.
Through the woods and over the fields he ran till he came near a
rabbit warren, when he crept more cautiously for fear some of the
bunnies might hear him; for they have very sharp ears. He opened
the game-bag, into which he had put some bits of cabbage and fresh
parlsey, and arranging the strings of the bag in a clever way, waited
patiently for a visit from the rabbits.
Presently two or three young ones came hopping up and twitching
their long ears. They sniffed around for awhile at the entrance of the
bag, and then hopped in and began munching and nibbling at the
parsley and cabbage, little thinking of the fate that awaited them. All
at once the cat gave the string a jerk, and the bunnies were caught in
a trap, and though they kicked ever so hard they couldn't get out.
Puss lost no time in killing them, and slinging the game-bag over his
shoulder, he set out for the king's palace. He went up to the guard
at the gate, as grand as you please, and said he desired to speak with
the king. His manner was so determined that the sentinels dared not
refuse him, and Puss made his way straight to the king's private room.
Here he took off his cap, threw down his bag, and with a flourish
of his tail presented the gifts he had brought with the compliments of
his master, the Lord Marquis of Carabas. Puss made quite a grand
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PUSS IN BOO TS.
speech, to which the king replied, Tell my lord marquis that I accept
his present with great pleasure. and am much obliged to him." And
he could not help wondering who the Marquis of Carabas was, and
why he had never heard of him before. But Puss was so aristo-
cratic in his appearance there could be no doubt that he belonged to
a master of high rank.
Satisfied with the success of his interview with the king, the cat
bowed himself out with all the grace of a well-bred courtier.
A day or two afterwards he went out with his boots and bag in
search of more game, and succeeded in trapping a couple of young
partridges, which he speedily killed and presented to the king, with a
For three or four weeks he managed to send a present to the king
every day or two; and hearing one day that the king was to take his
lovely daughter for a drive by the river side, Puss devised a cunning
scheme which he proceeded to carry out in the following manner:
Go and bathe in the river, dear master," said Puss, and leave the
rest to me." The master consented to do as Puss told him, although
he failed to see the necessity of bathing in that place at that hour.
Presently the king's carriage drove in sight, and Puss began to run
to and fro, and wring his paws, and toss them over his head as if
almost distracted. Then he cried out at the top of his voice: Help!
help! help! my master is being drowned! Help for the Lord Mar-
quis of Carabas!"
The king looked out of the carriage-window, and recognizing the
cat who brought the presents of game and fruit, he ordered several of
his guard to go to the assistance of the lord marquis.
PUSS IN BOOTS.
But the rogue of a cat was not satisfied with this, he knew that his
master's shabby clothes would never do for a marquis, so he ran to the
carriage and told the king that a wicked thief had stolen his master's
fine clothes while he was in bathing. Puss said that as soon as he
knew of the loss he gave chase to the thief, but, though he ran miles
and miles, could find no trace of him.
The king at once ordered a suit from his own wardrobe to be,
brought for the Marquis of Carabas; and the young man, who was a
handsome fellow, looked very fine indeed in his new garments as he
came up to the carriage to thank the king for his kindness. His
majesty was so pleased with him that he insisted that my lord mar-
quis should enter the carriage and take a drive with him; and the
daughter looked as if she were not at all displeased at the proposal.
In fact, she was rather struck with the appearance of the Marquis of
As soon as Puss saw his master safely in the carriage, he ran on
until he came to a field where a party of reapers were gathering in the
harvest. The cat went up to the men and said, If you don't say,
when the king asks you, that this field belongs to the Marquis of Car-
abas, you shall all be chopped as fine as mince meat."
The reapers were startled at first, and then amused at the little
creature in boots, but they promised to do as they were told, and Puss
took his departure.
When the royal carriage passed the field soon afterward the king
stopped, and, calling one of the reapers to him, asked to whom all that
fine wheat belonged. "To the Marquis of Carabas, your majesty,"
answered all the reapers.
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PUSS IN BOOTS.
"You have a fine crop of wheat, my lord marquis," said the
Yes, your majesty," replied the marquis; and the king thought he
had never met such a nice and modest young man.
As the king passed through the different fields he did not fail to ask
to whom they belonged, and was surprised at being told they were the
property of the Marquis of Carabas.
Really, my lord marquis," said the king, "your possessions are
"Yes, your majesty;" and the princess thought he was the hand-
somest young man she had ever laid eyes on.
Now there was in those parts a very fine castle in which dwelt an
ogre, who was a great giant and a magician. The cat had a slight
acquaintance with him, so he posted off to the castle, rang the bell
loudly, and told the ogre he had come to make him a visit and in-
quire after his health. The ogre was much obliged to the cat, and
invited him in, which was just what Puss wanted. He at once
accepted the invitation, and sitting down at a table, with his paws
tucked cosily together, entered at once into conversation.
Sir,"- said Puss, I am told that you are a mighty magician.'
"That is true," said the ogre.
And I have heard," said Puss, that you can transform yourself
into the shape of various animals."
"That is very true," said the ogre.
But I mean large animals; an elephant for instance."
"That is quite true," said the ogre, as you can see for yourself," and
saying some magical words, he stood before the cat in the shape of an
P USS SIN BOO 7S.
elephant, with long trunk, great flapping ears, and sharp tusks-all
Puss was rather startled at the sudden change, but he soon mustered
courage and went on: "Well, that is really marvelous, indeed- But
can you change your shape to any animal you choose ?"
Certainly," said the ogre, and he waved this trunk in the air, flap-
ped his ears, and presently stood before the astonished cat in the shape
of a huge African lion, with bristling mane, glaring eyes, and a most
ferocious display of white teeth.
The cat gazed at him for awhile in astonishment and fear, but when
the lion opened his mouth and gave a great roar, Puss flew down the
stairs and escaped through an open window.
The ogre was delighted with the success of his performance, and
laughed heartily at the way in which he had frightened his guest.
Puss kept up his growling and spitting for some time, but after he
had recovered from his fright he entered the room again, excusing
himself to the ogre for leaving in such haste, and saying it was due to
the intense heat. Resuming his seat at the table he began:
Sir, I should never have believed these wonders possible if I had
not seen them with my own eyes. You are, indeed, a great magician,
but I have heard of a conjuror who could assume the shape of small
animals as well as large ones. That must be exceedingly difficult,
and require long practice."
"One is as easy as the other," said the ogre, who was vain of his
powers, and did not like to think there was any one greater than he.
But I mean," said Puss, "small animals, like a cat or a mouse."
"Judge for yourself," said the ogre, and in a moment he was caper-
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PUSS IN BOOTS.
ing about the room in the shape of a mouse. In less than a second
the cunning cat had sprung upon him, and with his sharp teeth he
soon put an end to the ogre. He had only just time to run up stairs
and dress himself in a page's suit he found in a closet, and to give
his face a hasty wash, when the king's coach appeared in front of the
There, to the great astonishment of the Marquis of Carabas, stood
the cat gallantly attired and ready to do the honors of the occasion.
Welcome!" he said, with a courtly bow; "welcome your majesty,
and your royal highness, to the castle of my master, the Marquis of
Carabas! As the honor is an unexpected one, pray pardon the hasty
arrangements made for your reception. To tell the truth, my master
has not long been in possession of this castle, but if you will be
pleased to alight and take some refreshments, this will be the proudest
day of my life, and of my master's, the Lord Marquis of Carabas."
"Upon my word, my lord marquis," said the king, "you have a
splendid castle here, and I should greatly enjoy giving it a closer
inspection. I am tired of being cramped up so in this coach, and the
long drive has given me quite an appetite. Will you join us, my
The princess was only too glad to gratify her curiosity, and the
king graciously commanded the marquis to take her by the hand and
lead her into the dwelling.
While they were walking through the upper rooms, the cat slipped
away and had a fine banquet prepared, and on their return they sat
down to a feast that was, indeed, fit for a king.
With each glass of wine he drank the king became more and more
PUSS IN BOOTS.
jovial, and seemed to grow very fond of the marquis, to whom he
said: It will be your own fault, my Lord Marquis of Carabas, if
you do not become our son-in-law, provided our daughter has no
At this plain speech the princess blushed and huhg her head, but
did not look at all displeased, while the marquis rose at once from his
seat, thanked the king for the honor he desired to bestow upon him,
and accepted the honor very gracefully.
The cat's joy was so great that he had to go out of doors and stand
on his head for awhile, and kick up his hind legs in the air.
There is little more to tell. The marquis returned with the king
and princess to their palace, where the wedding took place with much
pomp and ceremony. The king, of course, gave away his daughter,
and the cat was present in a lovely court suit. The Marquis of
Carabas made a good husband, and he and the princess lived most
happily together. As for the cat, he became a great lord, and never
had to hunt rats and mice except for his own amusement. He lived
to a good old age, and when he died, his grateful master and the
king vied with each other in doing honor to his memory. A hand-
some monument was erected containing a life-size statue of Puss in
Boots, and on the base of it were these words:
A FAITHFUL FRIEND IS A MAN'S BEST FORTUNE.
And all the cats in the kingdom were provided with shoes, and tried
their best but without success, to rival the famous
PUSS IN BOOTS.
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