Puss in Boots

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6 min

Charles Perrault

A miller had three sons. He owned a mill, a donkey and a cat. When he died, the oldest son inherited the mill, the second oldest got the donkey, and the youngest got only the cat. The youngest son then said to himself:
- What should I do with a cat? At best, I can have a pair of leather gloves made from the fur.
- Listen, the cat then told him.
- Do not kill me. Instead, have a pair of boots made for me, so that I can show myself out among people. Then you will soon get help.

Mjölnarsonen was surprised that his cat could speak and he had a pair of boots made for him. When they were done, the cat pulled them on him. Then he took a sack and poured some grain into it. Next he looked for a string, so that he could tie the sack together. At last he slung the sack over his shoulder and went on his way.

At that time, the country was ruled by a king who was very fond of partridges. The cat knew that and since they were hard to shoot, he had figured out a way to capture them. He untied the sack of grain and laid it open on the ground. He laid the string in the grass and pulled it away to a hedge. There he hid and lay in wait. Soon the partridges arrived. They jumped into the grain sack. When enough people had crawled in, the cat pulled the string. Then he put the sack on his back and went straight to the king's castle.
- Stop! Where? shouted the guard.
- To the king, answered the cat boldly.
Since the king was bored, the cat was let in. He bowed deeply to the king and said:
- My lord, the count, sends greetings to his king. He sends some partridges, which he has just caught.
The king was surprised by the beautiful, fat partridges and was overjoyed. He let the cat fill his sack with as much gold as he could carry.
- Take it to your master and thank him for his gift.

But the poor miller's son sat at home by the window with his head leaning on his hand and thought:
- Now I have disposed of my last pennies on a pair of boots for the cat. What can I get out of it?

Just then the cat came in, took the sack from his back, opened it and poured out all the gold in front of the miller's son.

- Here you get for the boots. The king greets you and thanks you for the fine partridges.
Mjölnarsonen was happy about such great wealth! While the cat pulled off his boots, he told all. Then he said:
- Now you have enough gold, but it doesn't stop there. Tomorrow I'll put my boots back on, because you're going to be even richer. To the king I said, that you are a count.

The next day the cat, with his boots on, went hunting again and went to the king with his catch. That's how it went every day, and the cat brought home gold every single time. He was so popular with the king that he could go in and out of the castle as much as he wanted. Once when he was in the kitchen to warm himself up a little, he heard that the coachman was going to take the king and princess for a ride around the lake. Then the cat quickly fetched his master and went with him to the lake. There the miller's son had to take off his clothes and bathe. But the cat hid his master's clothes.

Now when the royal carriage came running, the cat complained:
- Most gracious king! My lord, the count, was bathing here in the lake, and just then a thief came and stole his clothes. Now the count must stay in the water and cannot rise.
Then the king immediately had the finest clothes brought. Mjölnarsonen put them on and then had to sit up with the king in the carriage. The princess was happy, because she liked the young count.

Meanwhile, the cat had run ahead. He came to a large meadow. People were just raking hay there. They told that the meadow belonged to the great sorcerer. Then the cat commanded them:
- When the king now drives by here and asks who owns the meadow, answer: the count! If you don't, it will be a pity for you!
Then the cat hurried on to a large cornfield and a large forest. He commanded the people who worked there to say the same. And because he looked so strange, the people became a little afraid of him. Finally the cat arrived at the wizard's castle. He bowed to him and said:
- I've heard that you can transform into any animal. But could you really transform into an animal as big as an elephant?

- Well, that's what I mean, said the wizard.
And immediately an elephant stood in front of the cat.
- Unbelievable! he exclaimed.
- You are definitely the greatest wizard in the whole world. But I bet you can't turn into an animal as small as a mouse.
- I can do that too, boasted the wizard.
And immediately he ran about like a little mouse. But suddenly, the cat caught the mouse and ate it.

In the meantime the carriage with the king, princess and count had moved on and now came to the great meadow.
- Who owns all the hay? asked the king.
- The count, answered the people, just as the cat had commanded them.
And when they came to the great cornfield and the great forest, the people said each time that it belonged to the count.

The king was amazed at all this wealth. Finally they reached the wizard's castle. The cat was standing on the stairs waiting for them. When the carriage stopped, he ran forward, opened the door, and greeted them with:
- My king, welcome to my master's castle. The honor now shown to him will make him happy for the rest of his life.

The king got out and was amazed at the magnificent building, which was almost bigger and more beautiful than his own castle. But the count led the princess into a hall that glittered and glittered with gold and precious stones. The princess married the count, and when the king died, the miller's son became king. He appointed Puss in Boots his chief minister.

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