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Once upon a time, there was a miller who had three sons.

The miller was old and sick, and before he died, he divided his belongings among them. He gave his mill to the eldest, his donkey to his middle son, and his cat to the youngest son. He did it without the help of a lawyer so there would be something left to give. Then he said, "Goodnight, sons. Goodnight, moon.", and he died.
The youngest son, Gus, who lived in a shack at the edge of the mill land, was not thrilled.

"With the mill and the donkey, my brothers can make a living," he said, "but what have I got? One cat! Cats do nothing. Well, I could always eat the cat - at least I'll get a hot meal."
The cat hat been curled at the young man's feet. When it heard that last bit, it jumped up and stood on its hind legs, and began to speak.

"Don't worry master, I will earn you a living better alive than dead. I can catch more than just rats, you know."

The young man's eyes bugged. A talking cat! "If only Reality TV were invented", he thought, I could make a fortune! Too bad it's the middle ages."
The cat said, "Put your eyes back in your head, master. Please just get me a sack and a pair of boots, and I shall provide for thee."

The cat's master did as the cat said - what choice did he have? The cat talked better than he did! Phrases like "provide for thee" are pretty fancy for a feline. Also, the cat had proven it was pretty tricky catching the rats in the mill.
He sewed some leather boots for the cat, and made a cape and a bag from the curtains of his father's room. The cat pulled on the boots and slung the bag over his shoulders. It saluted the man, then jumped out the window and landed on its feet.

As it strolled away down the path, the man shouted after it, "Hey, Puss! Don't forget to bring a rat back - I still haven't eaten dinner!"
Puss in boots made his way down to the farm next door. He put parsley and a carrot in the bag. Then he went out into the fields, which were full of rabbit holes.

He lay down very still and put the bag in his mouth. Soon a stupid, fat young rabbit leapt out of a hole and into the bag. Puss's mouth closed tight, killing it. Puss leapt to his feet, pulling the string tight.
But Puss did not go back home and give the rabbit to his master. Instead he headed for the king's palace!

He bowed low to the guards, who assumed he must be a foreign ruler and let him in (the guards were not too bright, and were definitely not "cat-people").
Upon entering the throne room, Puss bowed low and addressed the king,

"Your majesty, I present an offering from the fields of your loyal subject... (here Puss needed to make up a grand title for his master. He looked at the king on his throne)... The Baron of Buttbigula!"
He opened the bag and slid the juicy rabbit across the floor.

The king drooled a little, and said, "Tell your lord the Baron of Buttbigula that I accept his gift with great hunger - I mean great pleasure."

The cat skipped home with joy, pausing only to catch another rabbit, which he and his master ate with relish. Relish was all that was left in the cupboard.
The next day the cat went to the farm on the other side and picked an ear of corn for his bag. Then he went into the woods with the bag. Soon he came out of the woods with two fat, dead partridges in the bag.

He carried them to the palace, where he was immediately let in to the throne room. He was greeted like an old friend by the king, who was already holding a fork.
Things continued like this for some time. The cat would go out and impress the king with the great gifts of his master, the Baron of Buttbigula. Then he would catch dinner and cook it for his master, who was taking an apprenticeship in flower arranging. They would eat and drink and play cards with the rats. Good times, good times.
One day, the cat heard from the palace guard that the king was going for a picnic by the river with his daughter, Princess Keelin. She was the most beautiful princess in three countries, and had her own line of designer crowns.
Puss ran back and woke up his master by sitting on his head. He shouted in his ear, "Come quickly, master! There's a bag of money stored in the bottom of the river!"

Gus followed the cat down to the river. Puss paused at the river and pretended to be a scaredy-cat.

"I'm afraid of water! Master, please take off your clothes and dive in for me- the money is out in the middle." Gus stripped down to his skivvies, and splashed into the river, thinking of the money down at the bottom.
Puss stayed on the bank and kept watch for the king. The carriage was coming down the road! Pussinboots ran to the river's edge, gathered his master's ragged clothes, and hid them in a pelican, which flew away.

His master was still splashing about, trying to dive down and coughing up water. Pussinboots cried out,

"Help! Help! The Baron of Buttbigula is drowning! Oh please, heeeeellppp!"
When the king saw his small furry meal ticket crying for help, he ordered his driver to pull over and leapt out. His daughter the princess leaned out of the window to tan.

Puss ran up to the carriage and called to the king, "Some robbers attacked us and stole my master's clothes! They threw him in the river to drown!" Then he ran down to the river.

The king turned to his driver and said, "How awful! This will not do - driver, give the man your clothes."
Gus was getting tired. As he swam to the edge, he complained to Pussinboots, "There's no money stored at the bottom of the river." Puss smiled and said, "My mistake, master. It must have just been the river bank. Bank! Get it?"

The king's footman appeared, holding forth an outfit richer than anything Gus had ever worn, courtesy of the king. Gus was excited to put it on. As Gus walked out of the river and dried himself off, he was watched by the princess. She immediately in love, for she had always dreamed she would marry an underwear model.
The King invited Gus to ride with them in the carriage. Gus squeezed in next to the King and across from the princess, who began sketching him for a new crown design. He was beginning to feel a bit like a Baron, especially when the king thanked him for all his generous gifts.

The driver drove the carriage in his skivvies, as Gus was wearing his clothes.

Pussinboots ran ahead of them until he came to a meadow where peasants were reaping the grain harvest.
Pussinboots leapt on a stump and called to the workers,
"Good peasants! If you do not tell the king that this field is the property of my lord Baron of Buttbigula, I shall slice you into pieces! Like this!" - and he raked his claws across a parsnip, shredding it. As the king's carriage passed through the amber waves of grain, he had the driver ask whose land this was. Feeling Puss's claws in the small of their backs, the shaking peasants cried

"Buttbigula! Buttbigula!"
The king smiled at Gus. "Wonderful fields. Wonderful wheat," he said, smacking his lips at the thought of a rabbit-on-rye sandwich.

Pussinboots ran ahead to a field of corn. He called to the farmers, "Good peasants! If you do not tell the king that this field is the property of my lord Baron of Buttbigula, I shall personally remove your niblets!" - and he ran his claws down an ear of corn.
The king again asked whose land they were on, and shaking peasants cried,

"Buttbigula! Buttbigula!"
Pussinboots ran ahead in his leather boots, until he came to the nicest fields he had yet seen. Rich gardens of green vegetables and orchards overflowing with golden fruits rustled in the breeze. It was strange because the peasants here already looked afraid. Pussinboots asked one whose land this was.
"Oh cat," the peasant replied, "we work for a terrible Ogre made of stone, Lord Rocky de Bal-boa-Constrictor. He is a magical shape-shifter. Each week he invites the other ogres to dine, and the slowest peasant worker is served as the main course!"
Pussinboots listened and promised the peasants to get rid the of the ogre if they would but say to the king that the land was the property of the Baron of Buttbigula. "I would like to meet your master," he said. He marched up to the gates and was greeted by an imp maid. He was let into the great hall, and bowed low before the ogre.
Lord Rocky's face was fearsome, with stones and scales and gnarled horns above his yellow eyes. Pussinboots bowed low and complimented the ogre on his beautiful skin.
"Thank ye," growled Lord Rocky, "I try to exfoliate it every year, and I use an under-eye cream made from slug juice."
Puss shivered, but bravely continued.
"I hear that you are a magical shape-shifter. Is it true that you can transform yourself?" In a flash there was not a stone ogre before Pussinboots, but a huge lion with dripping fangs. The lion leapt about and roared, then stopped.
"Hey - where did you go?" said the lion in the voice of the ogre.

"I'm up here", said Pussinboots. He was hanging by his claws from the ceiling, his leather boots scrabbling against the tiles.
Pussinboots dropped down from the ceiling, landing on his feet. He tried to look dignified.

The lion disappeared and there was Lord Rocky de Balboa-Constrictor again.

Pussinboots bowed again "Well done! I guess I'm down rto eight lives now, he ha. But a lion is large and you are large. I don't think you could turn into a small animal at all."
The ogre was angry. "Whaaaaat?!," he cried, "I'll show ye!"

In a flash of light the ogre had disappeared again and a tiny mouse was scampering across the floor of the castle.
Puss leapt upon the mouse and ate it up.

The imp maid saw her master had been eaten and shed a few tears of pebbles, and let the peasant out of the stew pot.

"This is your castle now", she said. She bowed low, her pointed nose brushing the floor.
Just then a carriage appeared being driven by a driver in his skivvies. Out of the carriage came the king, the princess, and Gus. The driver asked the peasants whose land this was, and they bowed and said,
"Buttbigula! Buttbigula!"

Pussinboots came out of the castle, calling, "Oh master, you're back! Just in time for the banquet!"
Princess Keelin took Gus's hand and they entered the castle. It was magnificent., with room after room of treasure. Pussinboots had the feast that was meant for the ogres served to the king and his guests. When the other ogres showed up for their regular dinner, Pussinboots made them perform a song for the king. They were so amazed that the king was in the house that they sang three choruses of "I Believe I Can Fly", and then they flew away.
The king was charmed by the dinner, the castle, and the entertainment - but mostly the dinner. After dinner, he burped and said to his daughter, "So my dear, how do you like this Baron of Buttbigula?"
Princess Keelin jumped up. "Like him? I LOVE him!" She and Gus were married the next month. He told her the truth about his past, but she did not mind. They were in love, and together they opened a line of designer crown shops around the country. Pussinboots lived with them in the castle. Today, his boots are made of silk, and he no longer chases mice - except for fun.

You get a head start and life seems sunny
When your parents are always giving you money.
Some riches pass down through the family,
But for normal folk like you and me,
To work hard and be smart is a skill to learn.
Richer than gifts are the skills you earn.

If a poor miller's son without any money
Can win the hand of his Princess honey,
Then the moral might be: when you want to get cooking,
If you can't be rich, at least be good looking!
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