Thursday, June 28, 2012

Puss and Puss and Puss and Boots


Puss in Boots

Charles Perrault

There was a miller whose only inheritance to his three sons was his mill, his donkey, and his cat. The oldest son quickly claimed the mill the mill.  The second took the donkey.  And the youngest son was left with the cat, whose name was Puss.




 The youngest son was quite distressed, and angry.  "My brothers," he complained, "could make a decent living by joining their inheritance together.  As for me, I shall eat the cat, make a muff from his skin, and then then die of hunger."


The cat wasn't too pleased to hear this, and considered setting put on a new life for himself.  But he felt sure that, with some luck, he could turn the situation around.  "Do not be concerned," he said to the son.  Just give me a bag and some boots, and give me a chance to prove myself.  You may be surprised at all I can do for you."




The son had little optimism about the situation, but he had, in the past, watched the cat pull many a fast one on rats and mice, hanging by his heels or hiding in the grain, and even pretending to be dead.  So, figuring things could not get much worse, he handed over a bag and boots.


The cat was inordinately pleased with his bag and boots.  He pulled on the boots, slung the bag over his shoulder, and took off for a hunt.  Seeing a clearing with some rabbits, the cat filled the bag with grains and greens and stretched himself out, playing dead.  An sure enough, pretty soon a naive young bunny hopped right into the bag.   Puss closed the bag and killed the bunny.


This he took to the palace, where he asked to speak with his majesty. He was shown upstairs into the king's meeting room.  Puss bowed deeply and said, ", and, making a low bow, said, "Your majesty! I have brought you a rabbit from my noble lord, the Master of Carabas" (that being the title the cat thought up for his master).






"Tell your master," said the king, "that I thank him, and that I am pleased with his gift."


Another time Puss hid himself in a grain field. This time, with his bag, he caught an entire brace of partridges, which he also took to the king as a gift from his master.  This time the king was so pleased, he gave Puss a tip.  


The cat continued in this manner, bringing better and better gifts to his majesty.  







One day, knowing that that the king would be taking a drive along the riverside with his beautiful daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world, he took his master aside for a little cat-to-youngest son chat.  "Follow my advice and your fortune is made. All you must do is to go and bathe yourself in the river at the place I show you.  Leave the rest to me."


The Marquis of Carabas did what he was told though he wondered what his cat was plotting now. While he was bathing, the king passed by.  The cat began to cry out, "Help! Help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is drowning!"





When the king heard the cat who had brought him such fine gifts crying out in such a state, he ordered the coach to stop and sent his guards to rescue his lordship the Marquis of Carabas. While they were dragging the confused Marquis out of the river, the cat told the king that, while his master was bathing, thieves had stolen his clothes (which the cat had, in fact, hidden beneath a large rock.)


The king ordered his officers to run to the castle and fetch one of his best outfits for the poor Lord Marquis of Carabas.  The Marquis of Carabas looked pretty nifty in the king's clothing.  The king took a liking to him and his daughter, the beautiful princess, thought he was the handsomest hottest thing ever. The king then invited him to enter the coach and join them on their drive.





The cat, meanwhile, ran on ahead. When he saw some countrymen who a meadow, he said to them, "My good fellows, if you do not tell the king that the meadow you are mowing belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped up like mincemeat."


This sounded unpleasant to the countrymen, who wasted no time in telling the king that the fields belonged to "My Lord Marquis of Carabas."


Puss, still running on ahead, next met up with some reapers, and told them, "My good fellows, if you do not tell the king that all this grain belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped up like mincemeat."


When the king passed by a few minutes later, the reapers obediently repeated what they had been told. 





The cat continued to run ahead and telling the same tale to everyone he met, until it looked like his Master owned everything in the land.


Finally Puss came to a stately castle which belonged to a fearsome (and extremely wealthy) ogre (who considered himself in the 1%, ogre-wise). All the lands that they had passed belonged to this castle.



The cat asked to speak to the ogre so he could pay his respects.  The ogre received him and invited Puss to sit down.  "I have heard," said the cat, "that you are able to change yourself into any kind of creature you wish."


"That is true," boasted the ogre.  To show off, he turned himself into a mighty lion.  


At the sight of the lion, the cat leaped right up on the roof, which was a bit of a problem because his boots were worthless on roof tiles.   But the ogre resumed his normal ogre form and the cat came down, admitting he had been quite frightened.


"I have also been told," said the cat, "that you can also transform yourself into the smallest of animals, for example, a rat or a mouse. But I think that that would be quite impossible."



"Impossible!" cried the ogre. "Ha!  Just watch!"


With that, the ogre changed himself into a mouse and began to run about the floor. As soon as the cat saw this, he pounced n the mouse-ogre and ate him up.


Meanwhile the king, who saw this fine castle of the ogre's as he passed, decided to go inside. The cat, hearing the noise of his majesty's coach running over the drawbridge, ran out and said to the king, "Your majesty is welcome to this castle of my Lord Marquis of Carabas!"


"My Lord Marquis!" cried the king, "Does this castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer than this court and all the stately buildings which surround it. Let us go inside!"


The marquis gave his hand to the princess, and followed the king, who went first. They passed into a spacious hall, where they found a magnificent feast, which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who were coming to visit him that very day, but who dared not to enter, knowing the king was there.





His majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen head over heels in love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to him (after five or six glasses of ogre wine), "It will be your own fault, my Lord Marquis, if you do not become my son-in-law."


The marquis, cleverly, shut his mouth and bowed deeply, accepting the honor.  The very next day he married the princess.  The cat became a great lord, and never again ate mice.  Not even for dessert.






Puss in eBay
Puss in etsy


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