Russian Fairytale: Puss in Boots

A very long ago in one village there lived an old miller with his three sons. When he felt his death coming, he left to his sons a heritage: The mill fell to the elder brother’s lot, a donkey came down to the middle brother, and the youngest brother inherited a cat.

The younger brother could not solace himself because of such a miserable share. He thought, "My brothers can get their living honestly if they unite their property; but I can only eat my cat, then make a muff of its fell and then to die of starve." The Cat heard those words and said in a serious human voice, "Don’t be upset, my master, I can be useful for you. And now I ask you to give me a sack and order a pair of boots." Though the Cat’s master did not rely too much upon the Cat, he did not want to loose hope.

When the Cat received all required, he set out to the forest abounded in rabbits. There he stretched on the ground and began to wait for a young inexperienced rabbit which would not object to eat bran and hare-lettuce contained within the sack. And he achieved his purpose. A young rabbit got into the sack and the Master Cat seized it. He went to the king’s palace and asked for the king’s audience. When he was admitted to the king’s apartments he bowed and said, "Oh, sovereign! My master marquis de Carabas entrusted me to present you this rabbit on his behalf." The King replied, "Tell your master that I highly appreciate his gift, it gave pleasure to me."

Puss in Boots Illustration
Puss in Boots Illustration

Next time the Cat hid himself in the field among wheatears and caught two grouses into his sack. Then he went again to the King and presented them as before. The King accepted the gift with the same pleasure, and ordered to give the Cat money for vodka.

In the same manner the Cat from time to time was bringing wild fowl to the King within two or three months.

One day the Cat learnt that the King was going to ride for a walk with his beautiful daughter along the riverbank. He said to his master, "If you listen to my advice, your future will be provided. You have to go to the river today and swim in a certain place. The rest depends on me."

So so-called marquis de Carabas followed the Cat’s advice and swam in the river. When the King rode by, the Cat shouted with all his power, "Help! Help! Marquis de Carabas is drowning!" Hearing this shout the King looked out from the carriage and recognized the Cat. He ordered to his bodyguards to help marquis de Carabas. While the poor marquis was being pulled out of the river, the Cat approached the king’s carriage and told to the King that thieves had stolen his master’s clothes. The King at once sent his cloakroom courtier to bring his best attire for marquis. In this dress he pleased the princess, and as he glanced at her respectfully and tenderly, she fell in love to him to distraction. The King wished marquis to sit to his carriage.

The Cat was in raptures of successful beginning of his plan and ran ahead quickly to the peasants who were cutting the grass on the meadow. He asked them to tell the King that all those wide meadows belonged to marquis de Carabas. And when the King asked them who’s those meadows were, they replied all as one, "They belong to marquis de Carabas!" "What an excellent manor!" said the King.

The Master Cat running before the carriage saw the harvesters and asked them to tell the King that all those fields belonged to marquis de Carabas. And when the King asked them whose those endless fields were, they replied all as one, "They belong to marquis de Carabas!" "What a vast domain!" said the King.

At last the Master Cat reached a huge castle appertained to a man-eating giant. The Man-eater was the richest one in the world as all those lands were his. The Cat asked permission to talk to the Man-eater and said that he could not pass by that castle without paying his compliments to its master. The Man-eater received the Cat with courtesy and offered him to rest. "They assured me," said the Cat, "that you are able to turn into different animals, for example, into a lion or an elephant." "Exact truth," said the Man-eater roughly, "and to prove it I’ll turn myself into a lion right now." The Cat was so frightened by a dreadful lion that escaped through the window to the roof. It was difficult because he was in the boots. But soon the Man-eater turned into his previous look, and the Cat returned down from the roof and confessed that he had suffered much fear. The Man-eater was satisfied. Then the Cat said, "They also assured me that you are able to turn into a tiny animal, for example, a rat or a mouse. I consider it is impossible." "Impossible?" re-examined the Man-eater, "you will see now!" And he there and then turned into a little mouse running on the floor. As soon as the Cat saw it, he sprang at it and ate it.

Meanwhile the King passing by saw the splendid Man-eater’s castle and wished to call on there. The Cat ran out to meet the King and said, "You are welcome to the castle of marquis de Carabas!" "How!" exclaimed the King, "this castle is also your property, marquis! It is charming! I want to view it from inside." They entered the large hall together and saw hot breakfast on the table cooked by the Man-eater for his friends.

The King admired with pleasant qualities and belongings of marquis de Carabas, the princess was passionately fond of him, so the King said after a few draughts of wine, "Marquis, if you want to be my son-in-law, I will not refuse." Marquis thanked to the King for such honor and married the princess the very that day. The Cat became a great noble and sometimes caught mouse only for play.


Puss in Boots

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