Puss was a very clever cat. For a long time, he belonged to an old farmer.
But when the farmer died, Puss could not live on his own. He decided that
he would need a new master. Puss went to see the farmer’s son.
“I was quite loyal to your father,” Puss said, “and he was quite fond of me. If you would be my new master, I promise to serve you just as well.”
The farmer’s son was very busy with his chores. He did not have time for Puss. These were difficult times. He worked hard to feed himself. He did not think he could take care of Puss, too.
“I do not need another mouth to feed,” said the young man. “If I am going to be your new master, you will have to work for me.”
“I will work hard,” Puss said smiling. “You have my word.”
The farmer’s son was doubtful. What good was the word of a cat? Still, he thought he would give his father’s cat a chance. “What can you do for me?” the son asked.
“Just give me a sack and a pair of boots,” Puss told the young man, “and you will see how useful I can be.”
Although the farmer’s son was poor and had very few things of his own, he found a cloth sack and an old pair of boots in the barn. “Here you go,” said the young man. “Let’s see what you can do with these.”
Puss was happy to have a chance to prove himself to his new master. “A cat does not need much more than a good pair of boots and someone to give him a chance,” he said. He slid into his new boots. They were sturdy and comfortable.
“What are your plans?” the young man asked.
“These will make it easy for me to hunt through the thick brush and mud in the forest,” he said. Puss took the empty sack and ran into the woods. “This sack will not be empty for long,” Puss called back to his new master. “I will take care of you. You will see.”
Scratching his head, the farmer’s son watched Puss run off into the woods. “Oh well,” the young man said, “they are only an old pair of boots. What harm is there in giving a cat a chance?”
The farmer’s son waved and continued with his work in the fields. In the woods, Puss chased a big rabbit into the thorny brush. With his sturdy new boots, Puss stomped his way through the brush. He was able to move quickly to the rabbit’s favorite hiding places. Before long, Puss had trapped the rabbit inside the sack.
The rabbit would make a fine meal for his new master. But Puss did not bring the rabbit back to the farm. Instead, he carried it to the gates of the palace.
“I would like to see the King,” Puss told the palace guard. “Please tell him that I have a gift for him.”
The palace guard scratched his head. “What does a cat want with the King?”
“Please sir, I wish for only a moment of his time,” Puss said.
“Very well then, I will ask,” said the palace guard.
The King had never had such a strange visitor. He was curious to see the unusual cat that wore boots and spoke so nicely. “Bring him to me,” the King told the guard. Puss was calm and bold in the King’s throne room. “Your Royal Highness,” he said with a bow, “I offer you a gift from my master.”
“What a fine rabbit!” said the King. “I receive many gifts each day, but this is the finest I’ve seen in a long time!”
“My pleasure,” said Puss, again bowing gracefully. Puss hunted every day. He caught squirrels and partridges and pheasants.
And every day, Puss returned to the palace to offered these royal gifts to the King.
“Compliments of my master, the Duke of Carabas,” Puss said with a bow.
“Your master is quite generous,” said the King. “Tell me, is he married?”
Puss cleared his throat. “No, Sir, he is not married. He works too hard to serve the King. In time he will meet a beautiful and good woman to share his life with.”
“Very interesting,” smiled the King.
Puss heard about the King’s plan to take a carriage ride. The royal carriage would pass by the young man’s farm. Puss also learned that the King’s daughter, the beautiful princess, would join the King on his ride.
Puss rushed home to his master’s farm. The young man was busy with his chores. “Hurry!” he told the young man. “Go out by the road, take off your clothes, and jump into the river!”
Puss’s master was shocked. “Why should I do such a silly thing for you?” he asked. “You still have done nothing for me!”
“This sounds like a silly thing to do,” said Puss. “But it is all for you. You will see.”
“You must think me a fool,” said the young man.
“No, I certainly do not, and I regret what I am about to do,” said Puss. “Believe me, I regret it deeply.” Puss then gave his master a gentle push into the river just moments before the King’s carriage arrived at the riverside.
“Please! Help!” Puss cried. “The Duke of Carabas is drowning!”
The King remembered the unusual cat in boots. He ordered his guards to
stop the carriage.
“My master has been robbed!” Puss told the King. “The thieves took everything and left him to drown!”
The King ordered his guards to pull the young man from the river. Dripping wet, and confused, the young man now faced the King. “What have you done to me?” he whispered to Puss. “I look like a fool!” Puss gave his master another small shove toward the King’s carriage.
“At last I meet the great Duke of Carabas,” said the King. “Your charming servant has told me so much about you.” Puss bowed politely. The farmer’s son was puzzled. He did not say a word.
“Look at you,” said the King. “You are soaking wet!” The King ordered one of his guards to return to the palace. “Bring my friend the Duke one of my finest royal suits,” he said. “Once you are dressed and dry, won’t you join me on a carriage ride?”
The young man was amazed. He had a fine new suit and an invitation from a King! “Well Sir,” he said, “I would be quite honored.”
“Believe me,” the King said, “the pleasure is mine!”
As the young man climbed into the carriage, he glanced at his curious cat. Puss bowed again. Seated next to the King was a beautiful princess. The young farmer blushed as he sat down beside her.
“My dear cat,” the King said, “won’t you join us as well?”
“You are too kind, Your Majesty!” Puss said. “After all, what would a cat be doing riding in a carriage?”
While the royal carriage rolled along the country road, Puss was still busy with the plans he had for his new master. He had managed to introduce his master to the King. But the King could not find out that the farmer’s son was not really a duke. Puss had more work to do.
He ran ahead of the King’s carriage. Beside the road, he met two farmhands, who were working in a large cornfield.
“When the King arrives,” Puss told the farmhands, “tell him these fields belong to your master, the Duke of Carabas.”
The farmhands did as Puss asked. The King was impressed with the Duke’s wealth. “So, you own all this land?” he asked.
“Well, yes,” the young man lied. “I suppose I do.”
Puss ran up the road again. He met two maidens in a meadow. He whispered something to them before the royal carriage arrived. “Who owns this land?” the King called out to the maidens.
“This meadow and everything around it belong to our master, the Duke of Carabas,” said the maidens. The King shook the young man’s hand. “You must be the richest duke in all of the kingdom!” he said. “How could I have gone this long without knowing you?”
The princess also gazed in the young man’s direction. She smiled sweetly at him, and the young man blushed again. Next, Puss ran up the road to a huge castle. It was almost as big as the King’s palace. A wicked giant lived there. This giant had magical powers, which he used to scare his neighbors and steal their land.
No one was brave and bold enough to enter the giant’s castle. But Puss was not afraid. He crept into the castle. His boots clicked and echoed through the halls. Puss walked into the giant’s kitchen. There, the giant was preparing a big meal.
“What are you doing in my castle?” the giant roared.
“I have heard that you are very powerful,” Puss calmly told the giant. “But I do not believe it.”
“Huh!” the giant huffed. “I am more powerful than anyone, even the King!”
“What can you do that a King cannot do?” Puss asked.
“I can change my shape,” said the giant proudly. “I can become a hawk, a wolf, a cloud, a mountain, or a grizzly bear! I can do anything!”
“I will believe it when I see it,” said Puss coolly.
The giant became angry. “I do not need any magic to stomp on you and your pretty little boots!” he shouted.
“Wait!” said Puss. “I know how you can prove to me how powerful you are. Only a very powerful giant could change himself into a tiny little mouse!”
The giant laughed. “That’s easy,” he said. The giant shrunk down and became a mouse. Now Puss towered over the giant. He pounced and popped the giant into his mouth!
When the royal carriage rode by the castle gates, Puss was there to greet the King, the princess, and the young man.”Welcome to my master’s home,” he said to the King. “The Duke would be honored if you and your lovely daughter would stay for dinner.”
They had a wonderful feast. “You have enough food here to feed a giant!” said the King.
The princess and the young man got along splendidly at dinner. The princess whispered to her father, “I believe I would like to marry this young man, the Duke of Carabas.” There was a royal wedding the very next day.
Puss had taken good care of his new master, so his master took good care
of him. With a fancy bow, Puss was sworn in as an officer of the King’s court.
And Puss had a fine new pair of boots, but he never wore them to hunt in
the woods. Puss wore his new boots at fancy parties and in royal parades.
Exactly where a puss in boots belongs.