The Baldwin Library
HENRY SOTHERAN LTD.
2 TO 5 SACKVILLE ST.,
PUSS IN BOOTS.
S HERE was once a miller, who, at his
death, had nothing to leave to his three
children but his mill, his ass, and his cat.
There was one advantage in this, that
they did not have to call in a lawyer to divide the
property, for his bill would no doubt have amounted
to more than the whole estate was worth.
The eldest son took possession of the mill; the
second brother considered himself entitled to the ass;
while the share allotted to the youngest consisted of
nothing but the cat, who seemed more likely to
prove a burden than a boon to his new master.
The latter could not, therefore, refrain from think-
ing himself rather hardly treated, and he said,
naturally enough,-" My brothers will be able to
earn an honest livelihood by going into partnership,
but as for myself, when I shall have eaten my cat,
Puss z Boots.
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
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 trying this.
As soon as the cat was provided with what he
asked for, he drew on his boots, and, slinging the
Puss in Boots.
bag round his neck, he 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 and sow-thistles, and then stretched
himself out as stiff as though he had been dead,
waiting patiently till some simple young rabbit, un-
used to worldly snares and wiles, should see the
dainty feast aid 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 your master that I am obliged by his courtesy,
and that I accept his present with much pleasure,"
replied the king, looking graciously at him.
Puss in Boots.
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, the cat 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 prin-
cess 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
Puss in Boots. 5
was all coming to. Just as he was bathing, the king
came past, when the cat began to bawl out as loud
as he could, -" Help help! the Marquis of Carabas
is drowning !"
On .hearing this, the king looked out of the car-
riage-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
While the poor Marquis was being fished out of
the river, the cat 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 hid
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
gayly dressed, he looked so elegantly that the king
took him for a very fine gentleman, and said the
Puss in Boots.
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 became over head and ears in
love with him.
The king insisted on his getting into the carriage
and taking a drive with them. The cat, highly
delighted at the turn things were taking, and deter-
mined 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 grass-land
that was. It belongs to the Marquis of Carabas,
please your Majesty," said they in a breath, for the
cat's threats had frightened them mightily.
Upon my word, Marquis," observed the king,
" that is a fine estate of yours."
Puss in Boots.
Yes, Sire," replied the Marquis, with an easy air,
"it yields me a tolerable income every year."
The cat, 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, every one 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 Maj-
esty," replied the reapers.
"Faith, it pleases our Majesty right well to see
our beloved Marquis is so wealthy! quoth the king.
The cat kept still running on before the carriage,
and repeating the same instructions to all the la-
borers he met with, so that 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.
Puss in Boots.
At length the cat 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. The cat having in-
quired 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 unwill-
ing 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 the cat, that you have the
power of transforming yourself into all sorts of ani-
mals, 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 be-
come a lion at once."
When the cat 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
Puss in Boots.
At last perceiving that the ogre had returned
to his natural shape, the cat came down again,
and confessed he had been exceedingly fright-
"But I have also been told," said the cat, "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 on the floor, when
the cat pounced upon him, gave him one shake, and
ate him up in a moment.
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. The cat 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."
Puss in Boots.
What! my Lord Marquis," exclaimed the king,
" does this castle likewise belong to you ? Really, I
never saw anything more splendid than the court-
yard 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 evi-
dently already in love with him; so, after drinking
five or six glasses of wine, his Majesty hemmed and
You have only to say the word, my Lord Mar-
quis, to become the son-in-law of your sovereign."
The Marquis bowed and looked at the princess,
and that very same day they were married, and the
Puss in Boots. I I
old king gave them his blessing. Puss, who had
brought it all about, looked on and shed a few polite
tears, it was so touching! and then lived there a
great lord, and ever after hunted mice for mere
sport, just when he pleased.