There once was young man, who lived with his father and older brother; his mother had died when he was very young. When his father grew old, he gave the estate to his eldest, and a bit of money, food, and the family cat to the young man. Now, the young man refused to help his older brother tend to the estate, feeling cheated out of the family inheritance.
He lived with his brother for a while but still refused to farm the land. His brother allowed him to stay at the family home; however, he did not give his younger brother any of the food or profit that the farm made. Once the younger brother’s food and money began to dry up, he decided to kill the cat – seeing this as his last hope before he would have to begin working for his brother.
He approached the cat with a large knife and raised it above his head. Before he could strike a blow, the cat began to speak!
“Ah, ah, ah, young sir!” he said. The young man withdrew in horror. “You seem to have run into some troubles, haven’t you? Well, of course you have. I’ve been watching you with a keen eye. You’re in luck, fine chap! I shall help you become the richest man in all the land, and I, your favorite cat,” he purred. The young man leaned in closer.
“What do you want me to do?” he asked.
“Ah, you leave the do-ing to me! But… give me those fine boots you’re wearing,” the cat demanded.
The young man did just as the cat asked; the cat put on the boots.
“My, you’re a puss ‘n boots!” the young man exclaimed.
“Why, indeed I am,” Puss replied, and off he went on his merry way to make the poor young man rich.
He stole an empty sack from the family shed. Then, he crept into the home’s pantry and stole a loaf of bread, crumbling it into the sack. Finally, he went to the garden behind the house and stole two carrots, one large, one small, from the ground; those too went in the sack.
Puss then went into the reeds behind a nearby river and dropped the breadcrumbs one-by-one, making a trail that led to the open sack. Then, he hid behind a bush.
Minutes later, two large partridges flew by and noticed the crumbs. They picked and plucked the crumbs off the ground one-by-one and, greedily, followed the trail to the sack. Delighted to find more crumbs inside the sack, they stepped inside and began to eat. Just as they did, Puss revealed himself from behind the trees, slit the birds’ throats, and stuffed them back in the sack. Then, he proceeded on his merry way.
Next, Puss went to the gardens outside the infamous ogre, Grimalkan’s, castle. He played dead beside the vegetables, with the large carrot tucked under his tail, and awaited his next victim.
Lo and behold, a large rabbit hopped by, wary of the cat. Noticing that the cat was dead, however, the rabbit proceeded to the sack and found the dead partridges and a carrot. He took the carrot and began to nibble. Puss then awoke suddenly, bonked the rabbit on the head with the large carrot, slit his throat, and stuffed him in the sack.
“What lovely presents for the king!” Puss said, nibbling the large carrot. He was, surprisingly, a vegetarian.
He then headed west, entered the king’s palace, bowed elegantly, and presented the sack to His Majesty.
“Hmm. What fine partridges… And two, at that! Oh, my! What a large rabbit – so hard to catch! Who must I send my gratitude to for these fine gifts?” the king asked.
“Why, the Marquis of Carabas, Your Highness! He sends his very best,” Puss replied.
“I will surely visit him on my upcoming travels of the kingdom. Where does he live, you say?” the king asked.
“Why, in the large castle to the east, of course. The one with the extravagant gardens in front,” Puss replied.
He again bowed elegantly, clicked his boots, and headed on his merry way.
Puss passed Grimalkan’s gardens and walked up to the main castle gates. Without knocking, he crept inside. He entered the castle and deliberately walked loudly around with his boots.
“WHO GOES THERE?” Grimalkan screeched.
“Why, it’s Puss, of course! I have searched far and wide for the Great Grimalkan, transformer of our age. I have come to see his talents. Do you know where I could find him?” Puss asked, slyly.
“I AM GRIMALKAN,” the ogre shouted. He stepped out into the great hall, where Puss now stood. Puss bowed and flicked his tail.
“So, Grimalkan the Great! Show me these wonderful transforming talents,” Puss said.
“YOU MUST FIRST TELL ME WHAT TO TURN INTO,” the ogre loudly replied.
“Ah, yes, yes. Let’s see here. OH! I know. How about my distant relative… The lion!” Puss exclaimed, delighted.
With his request, the ogre turned into a mighty lion. He roared loudly. Puss’s fur stood up on end. He clapped his hands.
“My, my! How impressive. Yes, impressive indeed! But something smaller would be impossible, no? I’ve only ever heard of Grimalkan the Great turning into something… well, great!” Puss said.
The lion roared, angrily, feeling offended. He turned back into the ogre and shouted:
“I CAN TURN INTO ANYTHING YOU REQUEST. THAT IS WHY I AM THE GREAT GRIMALKAN!”
“Yes, yes. Of course! Well how about a squirrel… No! A mouse! How about a mouse, Great Grimalkan?” Puss asked.
And with that, Grimalkan transformed into a mouse. Puss revealed his true intelligence, then, and attacked the mouse, eating him up. He choked a bit and said to himself:
“That’s the first meat I’ve eaten in 9 years! Not too shabby, either! Grimalkan tasted… Great!”
Puss clicked his boots and went on his merry way to find the young man once more.
He brought the man to the now vacant castle and informed him of his new identity, as the Marquis of Carabas.
“This is your castle, I am your advisor, and we are rich. It is as simple as that. Now, when the king comes to visit – which he will – you will do as I say” he said.
The now rich young man stared at Puss with wide eyes, as the creature instructed him with his plan. He was gladder than ever that he had not killed the cat.
When the king visited the castle, the “Marquis of Carabas” acted as elegant as ever. He made the king laugh, he impressed the king, and he won the king over so much that the king returned the very next day with his dear daughter.
The young man was married the following week, having fallen deeply in love with the princess. The two lived happily ever after. The young man was now the richest in all the land thanks to his favorite cat, Puss 'N Boots.
About the Author:
My name is Tasha Guenther. I currently live in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada while I finish my PhD in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory with concentrations in digital cultures and Afrofuturism at McMaster University. I enjoy writing short stories and non-fiction pieces for grade school children. Learn more about me here or connect with me on my Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.