Puss in boots
Once upon a time there was a miller who owned a mill, a donkey and a cat and had three sons. When he died, he left the mill to his oldest son, the donkey to the second, and the cat to the youngest. The latter felt disadvantaged and wondered what he would do with only a cat.
The cat, hearing this, said to him with a calm and serious air: Don’t be sad, my master; you only have to give me a bag and make me a pair of boots to go to the fields, and you will see that you are not as badly off as you think.
Although the cat’s master was not very hopeful, he had seen him do so many tricks to catch rats and mice, that he thought he would lose nothing by trying.
When the cat had his boots and bag, he ran to a field where there were many rabbits. He put a carrot in the bag and quickly caught an inexperienced young rabbit. Proud of his prey, he went to the king and asked to speak to him.
When he arrived in the throne room, he made a big bow to the king and said:
– Sire, here is a rabbit hunted by Mr. Marquis de Carabas (this was the new name he had given to his master). He asked me to bring it to you as a gift.
– Tell your master, replied the king, that I thank him warmly.
Another time he took two partridges from his bag and went to present them to the king, as he had done with the rabbit. The king, being a gourmet, accepted with joy and gave him a drink.
The cat continued in this way for two or three months, bringing the king game from his master’s hunt from time to time.
One day he heard that the king was to pass by the river on a carriage trip with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world
He said to his master: “If you follow my advice, your fortune is made: all you have to do is bathe in the river at the place I will indicate to you, and then you leave it to me.
The Marquis de Carabas did as his cat advised, without understanding anything. While he was bathing, the king’s procession arrived, and the cat began to shout at the top of his voice: “Thief! To the thief!
The king recognized the cat, who had become his friend, and ordered his guards to go to the aid of the Marquis de Carabas.
The cat invented that a thief had taken away the clothes and the horse of his master who was in trouble to return home. The king immediately had new clothes brought for the false marquis and invited him to ride in his carriage.
When the king’s daughter saw him, she fell madly in love with the young marquis and he too fell in love with the princess. They continued their walk together. The cat ran ahead on the path until he met some peasants who were mowing their fields. He said to them: “If you don’t tell the king that the meadows you are mowing belong to Mr. Marquis de Carabas, you will all be chopped up like mincemeat.
A few minutes later the king arrived and asked the peasants who owned the fields they were mowing. It’s the Marquis de Carabas’, they all said together, frightened by the threat of the cat in the hat. The king was impressed by the fortune of the Marquis de Carabas.
The cat, who always went ahead of the carriage, always said the same thing to everyone he met: If you don’t tell the king that the meadows you are mowing belong to M. le Marquis de Carabas, you will all be chopped up like mincemeat; and the king was astonished at the great possessions of the marquis.
The cat in the hat finally arrived at a beautiful castle, belonging to a very rich ogre. He was the owner of all the land they had passed through.
– I was told,” said the cat to the ogre, “that you have the power to change into all sorts of animals, that you can, for example, turn into a lion or an elephant.
That is true,” the ogre replied abruptly. And he immediately turned into a lion in front of the frightened cat with a boot, who jumped into the air.
Once the ogre was back to his old self, the kicked cat came back from his fright and said:
– I was also told that you knew how to change into small animals, rats or mice, but I can’t believe it…,
Stung to the core, the monster immediately changed into a mouse and ran across the floor.
The cat in the hat pounced on it and ate it.
A few minutes later, the king and his troop arrived.
The cat walked in front of the castle and said gravely:
– Welcome to the Marquis de Carabas, my master!
– How can you say that! exclaimed the king. This estate is yours, Monsieur le Marquis? You impress me!
He didn’t have time to say anything more because the cat in the hat led them into the great hall to sit down to a magnificent banquet that the ogre had organized for his friends. The king was so impressed and delighted by the innumerable dishes on the buffet and the great wines in the cellar, that he offered his daughter’s hand in marriage to the Marquis de Carabas.
The latter accepted and they got married the same day.
And so the miller’s young son became a prince, and the cat in a hat became a great lord and only chased mice for fun.
From Charles Perrault, modernized by Roland Beaussant, contesdefees.com
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