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"PUSS IN BOOTS"

Once upon a time... a miller died leaving
the mill to his eldest son, his donkey to his
second son and... a cat to his youngest son.

"Now that's some difference!" you might say;
but there you are, that's how the miller was!

The eldest son kept the mill, the second son
took the donkey and set off in search of his
fortune.. while the third sat down on a
stone and sighed,
"A cat! What am I going to do with that?"

But the cat heard his words and said,
"Don't worry, Master. What do you think?
That I'm worth less than a half-ruined mill or
a mangy donkey? Give me a cloak, a hat with
a feather in it, a bag and a pair of boots,
and you will see what I can do."

The young man, by no means surprised, for it
was quite common for cats to talk in those days,
gave the cat what he asked for, and as he
strode away, confident and cheerful the cat said.
"Don't look so glum, Master. See you soon!"

Swift of foot as he was, the cat caught a fat
wild rabbit, popped it into his bag, knocked
at the castle gate, went before the King and,
removing his hat, with a sweeping bow, he said:

"Sire, the famous Marquis of Carabas sends you
this fine plump rabbit as a gift."
"Oh," said the King, "thanks so much."
"Till tomorrow," replied the cat as he went out.

And the next day, back he came with some
partridges tucked away in his bag.
"Another gift from the brave Marquis of
Carabas," he announced.
The Queen remarked, "This Marquis of Carabas
is indeed a very courteous gentleman."

In the days that followed, Puss in Boots
regularly visited the castle,
carrying rabbits, hares, partridges and
skylarks, presenting them all to the
King in the name of the Marquis of Carabas.

Folk at the palace began to talk about
this noble gentleman. "He must be a great
hunter," someone remarked.
"He must be very loyal to the King,"
said someone else. And yet another,
"But who is he? I've never heard of him."

At this someone who wanted to show people how
much he knew, replied, "Oh, yes, I've heard
his name before. In fact, I knew his father."

The Queen was very interested in this
generous man who sent these gifts.
"Is your master young and handsome?"
she asked the cat.
"Oh yes. And very rich, too," answered
Puss in Boots. "In fact, he would be very
honoured if you and the King called to see
him in his castle."

When the cat returned home and told his
master that the King and Queen were going
to visit him, he was horrified.
"Whatever shall we do?" he cried. "As soon as
they see me they will know how poor I am."
"Leave everything to me,"
replied Puss in Boots. "I have a plan."

For several days, the crafty cat kept on
taking gifts to the King and Queen, and one
day he discovered that they were taking the
Princess on a carriage ride that very afternoon.

The cat hurried home in great excitement.
"Master, come along," he cried.
"It is time to carry out my plan. You must
go for a swim in the river."
"But I can't swim," replied the young man.
"That's all right," replied Puss in Boots.
"Just trust me."

So they went to the river and when the
King's carriage appeared the cat pushed
his master into the water.
"Help!" cried the cat.
"The Marquis of Carabas is drowning."

The King heard his cries and sent his escorts
to the rescue. They arrived just in time to
save the poor man, who really was drowning.
The King, the Queen and the Princess fussed
around and ordered new clothes to be brought
for the Marquis of Carabas.

"Wouldn't you like to marry such a handsome man?"
the Queen asked her daughter.
"Oh, yes," replied the Princess.
However, the cat overheard one of the ministers
remark that they must find out how rich he was.
"He is very rich indeed," said Puss in Boots.
"He owns the castle and all this land. Come and
see for yourself. I will meet you at the castle."

And with these words, the cat rushed off in
the direction of the castle, shouting at the
peasants working in the fields, "If anyone
asks you who your master is, answer:
the Marquis of Carabas.
Otherwise you will all be sorry."

And so, when the King's carriage swept past,
the peasants told the King that their master
was the Marquis of Carabas.

In the meantime, Puss in Boots had arrived at
the castle, the home of a huge, cruel ogre.
Before knocking at the gate, the cat said to
himself, "I must be very careful, or I'll
never get out of here alive."

When the door opened, Puss in Boots
removed his feather hat, exclaiming,
"My Lord Ogre, my respects!"
"What do you want, cat?" asked the ogre rudely.
"Sire, I've heard you possess great powers.
That, for instance, you can change into a
lion or an elephant."
"That's perfectly true," said the ogre,
"and so what?"

"Well," said the cat, "I was talking to certain
friends of mine who said that you can't turn
into a tiny little creature, like a mouse."
"Oh, so that's what they say, is it?" exclaimed
the ogre. The cat nodded, "Well, Sire, that's
my opinion too, because folk that can do big
things never can manage little ones."
"Oh, yes? Well, just watch this!"
retorted the ogre, turning into a mouse.
In a flash, the cat leapt on the mouse
and ate it whole.

Then he dashed to the castle gate, just in time,
for the King's carriage was drawing up.

With a bow, Puss in Boots said,
"Sire, welcome to the castle of
the Marquis of Carabas!"

The King and Queen, the Princess and the
miller's son who, dressed in his princely
clothes, really did look like a marquis,
got out of the carriage and the King spoke:

"My dear Marquis, you're a fine, handsome,
young man, you have a great deal of land
and a magnificent castle.
Tell me, are you married?"

"No," the young man answered,
"but I would like to find a wife."
He looked at the Princess as he spoke.
She in turn smiled at him.

To cut a long story short, the miller's son,
now Marquis of Carabas, married the Princess
and lived happily with her in the castle.

And from time to time, the cat would wink and
whisper, "You see, Master, I am worth a lot
more than any mangy donkey or half-ruined mill,
aren't I?"


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