Once upon a time there was a miller who had three sons. When he died he left his mill to the eldest son, his donkey to the
second son, and his cat to the youngest, who had always been his favorite.
The two eldest sons resolved to live together; but they would not let their brother live with them. “You only have a cat!” they scoffed. “What good are you to us?”
So the poor lad was filled with sorrow. “Wherever shall I get my bread?” All at once Puss, the cat, jumped up on the table, and touched him with her paw.
“My dear master,” she said, “Do not fret. I will get your living for you. But you must buy me a pair of boots and give me a bag.”
The miller’s son had very little money, but he said to himself, ” ‘Tis such a wonderful thing to hear a cat talk! How can I refuse her?” So he took Puss to the shoemaker’s, and got him to make her a very smart pair of boots. When this was done, he found a nice large bag for the cat.
THE RABBIT WARREN.
Now, not far from the mill there was a rabbit warren, and Puss resolved to catch some rabbits for dinner. So she put some lettuce leaves and fine parsley into her bag, went into the warren. She held the bag very quietly open, and hid
herself behind it. Little greedy rabbits, who knew no better, ran into it, to have a feast. Directly Puss pulled the string of the bag, and carried them off to her master. “Roast rabbits? How delicious!” he exclaimed. The miller’s son cooked one for dinner. Meanwhile Puss took away the other, which was a very fine one, and saved it for another day’s meal.
Even though their cupboard was full, early the next day Puss took her bag and went again into the warren, and in the same manner caught two more fine young rabbits. But instead of carrying them home she walked to the king’s palace and knocked at the door.
PUSS AT THE PALACE.
Puss knocked upon the great palace door. When The king’s porter saw a cat wearing boots, he was astounded! “I have brought a present to the king,” said Puss. “Please let me see his majesty.”
The porter took her to the king. When Puss came into the king’s presence she made a low bow, and, taking a fine rabbit out of her bag, announced, “My Lord Marquis of Carrabas sends this rabbit to your majesty with his great respects.”
“I am much obliged to the marquis,” said the king, and he ordered his head cook to dress the rabbit for dinner.
By the king’s side sat his daughter, a very beautiful lady. She turned to her attendance, and ordered, “Please, give Puss a good cup of cream to show our thanks.” Well, Pull liked very much! She went home, and told her master all she had done. The miller’s son laughed! And every morning Puss caught a rabbit, and carried it to the palace with the same message.
Now, in that country there lived a cruel ogre. Everyone was afraid of him because he used to eat children. Even though they had tried, no one could rid them land of him, for he was such a giant. One day Puss went to call on him. He received her civilly. You see, he did not care to eat cats. Puss sat down, and began to talk. “I hear,” said she, “great Ogre, that you are so clever! The folks say that you can turn yourself into any creature you please.”
“Yes, so I can,” said the ogre.
“Dear me,” said Puss, “how much I should like to see Your Ogreship do it!”
Right then and there the ogre, who liked to show how clever he was, turned himself into a lion! He roared so loudly that Puss was quite frightened, and jumped out of the way. Then he changed back into an ogre again. Puss praised him a great deal, and then said, “Can Your Ogreship become a small animal as well as a large one?”
“Oh, yes,” said the vain ogre; and he changed himself into a little mouse. Directly Puss did what cats do. She pounced on that mouse and ate him on the spot!
THE MARQUIS OF CARRABAS.
Quickly Puss ran home and begged her master, “Quickly go and bathe in the river! I have something very special to do for you!” By this time, the miller’s son had learned to trust his fine cat, so he obeyed. While he was in the water, Puss took away all his clothes, and hid them under a large stone.
Right then the king’s carriage came in sight, just as Puss had expected. You see, that clever cat paid attention. She knew that the king and his daughter, the princess, always drove in that direction and that time. As soon as she saw them coming, she began to cry very loudly, “Help, help! Please save my Lord the Marquis of Carrabas.”
The king ordered his driver to stop. “What is the matter?” The princess spoke up quickly, and said, “Father, we must help the good Marquis of Carrabas?”
“Oh, your majesties,” said Puss, “my master, the Marquis, was bathing, when some wretched thief came along and took away his clothes! Help me fish him from the river, or he will get a cramp and be drowned.”
Immediately the king ordered his footmen to assist the Marquis of Carrabas. Then he ordered another attendant to ride back to the palace and fetch a suit of his own royal clothes for the marquis. “The Marquis has sent so many generous gifts. It is the least that we can do,” said he. When they were brought, Puss took them to her master, and helped him to dress in them.
PUSS FRIGHTENS THE REAPERS.
Now the miller’s son looked quite like a gentleman in the king’s clothes. “Thank you for such kindness, Your Majesty.” said the lad. In a wink the king bade him to climb into the royal coach where he sat next to the fair princess. “We will gladly drive you home,” the king declared.
Of course, Puss told the coachman which way to go. Then she ran on ahead, and came to a field where some reapers were cutting wheat. “Reapers,” said she, “if the king asks you whose field this is, say it belongs to the Marquis of Carrabas. If you don’t, I shall scratch and bite you!” And Puss showed her sharp claws and fangs!
In these parts many folks were afraid of cats and their special powers. “Please don’t hurt us. Our master is bad enough!” the reapers cried. “We promise to do as you say.” Then puss ran on, and told all the other workers on the road to say the same.
Soon the royal coach came along, and the king asked, “To whom do these fine fields belong?”
The reapers answered, “To the Marquis of Carrabas.” The herdsmen said the same of the cattle, and the farmers said the same of the orchard.
The king turned to the miller’s poor youngest son, said, “My lord, you have a fine property!” In truth all of the land and the cattle and the orchard had really belonged to that dreadful ogre. And we know what his fate was! So, where do you think that cunning Puss was directing the coachmen to go? To the ogre’s abandoned castle!
At last the coach stopped at the Ogre’s castle. Puss greeted them, and bowing very low, said, “Your majesty and the princess are welcome to the castle of my Lord Marquis of Carrabas.”
The king was delighted, for it was indeed a very nice castle, full of riches. They all sat down to a great feast, which Puss ordered to be served. And right there, the king was so pleased with the miller’s son that he thought him a very good match for the princess.
So, he invited the lad to court, and in a little while gave him his daughter for his wife, and made him a prince. From that day on, you may be quite sure that the miller’s son was grateful to Puss for his good fortune, and that clever cat never had to catch mice for her dinner any more, for dainty meat and the best cream were every day given to Puss in Boots.
Oh, Looky Here….Mirror, Mirror in my Hand, who is the most clever kitty in the land? Puss In Boots!