"Now that's some difference!" you might say; but there you are, that's how the miller was! The eldest son kept the mill, the second son took the donkey and set off in search of his fortune . . . while the third sat down on a stone and sighed, "A cat! What am I going to do with that?"
But the cat heard his words and said, "Don't worry, Master. What do you think? That I'm worth less than a half-ruined mill or a mangy donkey? Give me a cloak, a hat with a feather in it, a bag and a pair of boots, and you will see what I can do."
The young man, by no means surprised, for it was quite common for cats to talk in those days, gave the cat what he asked for, and as he strode away, confident and cheerful. the cat said. "Don't look so glum, Master. See you soon!"
Swift of foot as he was, the cat caught a fat wild rabbit, popped it into his bag, knocked at the castle gate, went before the King and, removing his hat, with a sweeping bow, he said: "Sire, the famous Marquis of Carabas sends you this fine plump rabbit as a gift."
"Oh," said the King, "thanks so much."
"Till tomorrow," replied the cat as he went out. And the next day, back he came with some partridges tucked away in his bag. "Another gift from the brave Marquis of Carabas," he announced.
The Queen remarked, "This Marquis of Carabas is indeed a very courteous gentleman."
In the days that followed, Puss in Boots regularly visited the castle, carrying rabbits, hares, partridges and skylarks, presenting them all to the King in the name of the Marquis of Carabas. Folk at the palace began to talk about this noble gentleman.
"He must be a great hunter," someone remarked.
"He must be very loyal to the King," said someone else.
And yet another, "But who is he? I've never heard of him."
At this someone who wanted to show people how much he knew, replied, "Oh, yes, I've heard his name before. In fact, I knew his father."
The Queen was very interested in this generous man who sent these gifts. "Is your master young and handsome?" she asked the cat.