Puss in Boots (fairy tale)

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"Master Cat; or, The Booted Cat", commonly known as "Puss in Boots", is a French literary fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master.

The tale was written at the close of the seventeenth century by Charles Perrault (1628-1703), a retired civil servant and member of the Académie française.

The tale appeared in a handwritten and illustrated manuscript two years before its 1697 publication by Barbin in a collection of eight fairy tales by Perrault called Histoires ou contes du temps passé.

Premise[edit]

The youngest son of a miller receives a cat as his inheritance, whereas his older brothers get the mill and the mules. The cat is not an ordinary cat, but asks for a pair of boots and proceeds to hunt and steal for his master.

One day, knowing the king and his daughter are traveling by coach along the riverside, the cat persuades his master to remove his clothes and enter the river. The cat disposes of his master's clothing beneath a rock.

As the royal coach nears, the cat begins calling for help in great distress, and, when the king stops to investigate, the cat tells him that his master, the Marquis, has been bathing in the river and robbed of his clothing.

The king has the young man brought from the river, dressed in a splendid suit of clothes, and seated in the coach with his daughter, who falls in love with him at once.

The cat hurries ahead of the coach, ordering the country folk along the road to tell the king that the land belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, saying that if they do not he will cut them into mincemeat. The cat then happens upon a castle inhabited by an ogre who is capable of transforming himself into a number of creatures.

The ogre displays his ability by changing into a lion, frightening the cat, who then tricks the ogre into changing into a mouse. Once that change is complete, the cat pounces upon the mouse and devours it. The king arrives at the castle which formerly belonged to the ogre, and, impressed with the bogus Marquis and his estate, gives the lad the princess in marriage. Thereafter, the cat enjoys life as a great lord who runs after mice only for his own amusement.

See also[edit]

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