Puss in Boots

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Gustave_Dore_le_chat_botte.jpg
Gustave Dor's 19th century engraving of le chat bott

Puss in Boots is a European folktale collected by Charles Perrault in his Contes de ma mre l'Oye (Mother Goose Tales), and earlier in 1634, by Giambattista Basile as Gagliuso.

In Charles Perrault's version of the story, the division of property after a simple miller's death leaves his youngest son with nothing but the granary cat. The cat, however, turns out to be intelligent and resourceful, and (in return for a new pair of boots), catches a rabbit which he presents to the king:

"I bring you, Sire," said he, "a rabbit from the warren of the Marquis de Carabas" for so Puss had named the miller's youngest son. With the gift of a brace of partridges and other small game, always from the Marquis de Carabas, Puss-in-Boots was soon in a position to know when the king and his beautiful daughter would be travelling by the river road.

"If you will do as I tell you," said Puss to his master, "your fortune is made. You have only to go and bathe in the river at the spot which I shall point out to you. Leave the rest to me."

Thus ensued the famous moment, the turn in the fable, when Puss cries out "Help! help! the Marquis de Carabas is drowning!" Thus the miller's son, stark naked, is wrapped in royal robes and sets off in the king's own coach, and the fable unfolds with Perrault's characteristic aplomb and droll wit.

There is a well-known scene in the story in which the cat destroyed an ogre (in order to obtain the ogre's castle as a home for the newly-made Marquis) by convincing the ogre to transform himself into a mouse, which the cat then ate. In the end the marquis got the princess, and "Puss became a personage of great importance, and gave up hunting mice, except for amusement."

Gustave Doré's illustrations caught the gently satirical tone.

An animated direct-to-video movie called Puss in Boots was created in 1999 by Plaza Entertainment.

Puss in Boots appeared as a character in the movie Shrek 2 (with the voice of Antonio Banderas). In the furry comic book, Xanadu, the main male hero, Tabbe Le Fauve, is a cat modeled after Puss in Boots with a strong influence of Errol Flynn's typical swashbuckler character.

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