The Blue Fairy Book
The Master Cat; Or, Puss In Boots
THERE was a miller who left no more estate to the three sons he had than his
mill, his ass, and his cat. The partition was soon made. Neither scrivener nor
attorney was sent for. They would soon have eaten up all the poor patrimony.
The eldest had the mill, the second the ass, and the youngest nothing but the
cat. The poor young fellow was quite comfortless at having so poor a lot.
"My brothers," said he, "may get their living handsomely enough by joining their
stocks together; but for my part, when I have eaten up my cat, and made me a
muff of his skin, I must die of hunger."
The Cat, who heard all this, but made as if he did not, said to him with a grave
and serious air:
"Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master. You have nothing else to do but to
give me a bag and get a pair of boots made for me that I may scamper through
the dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you have not so bad a portion in
me as you imagine."
The Cat's master did not build very much upon what he said. He had often seen
him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice, as when he used to
hang by the heels, or hide himself in the meal, and make as if he were dead; so
that he did not altogether despair of his affording him some help in his miserable
condition. When the Cat had what he asked for he booted himself very gallantly,
and putting his bag about his neck, he held the strings of it in his two forepaws
and went into a warren where was great abundance of rabbits. He put bran and
sow-thistle into his bag, and stretching out at length, as if he had been dead, he
waited for some young rabbits, not yet acquainted with the deceits of the world,
to come and rummage his bag for what he had put into it.