Versified by Mrs. Clara Doty Bates.
A miller had three sons,
And, on his dying day,
He willed that all he owned should be
Shared by them in this way:
The mill to this, and the donkey to that,
And to the youngest only the cat.
This last, poor fellow, of course
Thought it a bitter fate;
With a cat to feed, he should die, indeed,
Of hunger, sooner or late.
And he stormed, with many a bitter word,
Which Puss, who lay in the cupboard, heard.
She stretched, and began to purr,
Then came to her master's knee,
And, looking slyly up, began:
"Pray be content with me!
Get me a pair of boots ere night,
And a bag, and it will be all right!"
The youth sighed heavy sighs,
And laughed a scornful laugh:
"Of all the silly things I know,
You're the silliest, by half!"
Still, after a space of doubt and thought,
The pair of boots and the bag were bought.
And Puss, at the peep of dawn,
Was out upon the street,
With shreds of parsley in her bag,
And the boots upon her feet.
She was on her way to the woods, for game,
And soon to the rabbit-warren came.
And the simple rabbits cried,
"The parsley smells like spring!"
And into the bag their noses slipped,
And Pussy pulled the string.
Only a kick, and a gasp for breath,
And, one by one, they were choked to death.
So Sly Boots bagged her game,
And gave it an easy swing
Over her shoulder; and, starting off
For the palace of the king,
She found him upon his throne, in state,
While near him his lovely daughter sate.
Puss made a graceful bow
No courtier could surpass,
And said, "I come to your Highness from
The Marquis of Carabas.
His loyal love he sends to you,
With a tender rabbit for a stew."
And the pretty princess smiled,
And the king said, "Many thanks."
And Puss strode off to her master's home,
Purring, and full of pranks.
And cried, "I've a splendid plan for you!
Say nothing, but do as I tell you to!
"To-morrow, at noon, the king
And his beautiful daughter ride;
And you must go, as they draw near,
And bathe at the river side."
The youth said "Pooh!" but still, next day,
Bathed, when the king went by that way.
Puss hid his dingy clothes
In the marshy river-grass.
And screamed, when the king came into sight,
"The Marquis of Carabas--
My master--is drowning close by!
Help! help! good king, or he will die!"
Then servants galloped fast,
And dragged him from the water.
"'Tis the knight who sent the rabbit stew,"
The king said, to his daughter.
And a suit of clothes was brought with speed,
And he rode in their midst, on a royal steed.
Meanwhile Puss, in advance,
To the Ogre's palace fled,
Where he sat, with a great club in his hand,
And a monstrous ugly head.
She mewed politely as she went in,
But he only grinned, with a dreadful grin.
"I have heard it said," she purred,
"That, with the greatest ease,
You change, in the twinkling of an eye,
Into any shape you please!"
"Of course I can!" the Ogre cried,
And a roaring lion stood at her side.
Puss shook like a leaf, in her boots,
But said, "It is very droll!
Now, please, if you can, change into a mouse!"
He did. And she swallowed him whole!
Then, as the king and his suite appeared,
She stood on the palace porch and cheered.
'Twas a grand old palace indeed,
Builded of stone and brass.
"Welcome, most noble ladies and lords,
To the Castle of Carabas!"
Puss said, with a sweeping courtesy;
And they entered, and feasted royally.
And the Marquis lost his heart
At the beautiful princess' smile;
And the very next day the two were wed,
In wonderful state and style.
And Puss in Boots was their favorite page,
And lived with them to a good old age.