Monday, June 2, 2014

Between the Lines: Puss in Boots

As someone who shares his house with four cats, I can tell you from personal experience that they can be quite lazy. The majority of their time is spent lazing around trying to get as much sleep as possible. I can also tell you that they can be quite devoted to their human family. They share the beds at night with my son and daughter. This is especially true if either Christian or Abby are sick.

This week, I have the pleasure of speaking to a cat that showed his love and devotion to his "master" in unprecedented fashion. Here is an interview with Puss in Boots.

Greg:  Hello there Puss, or should I call you Boots?

Boots:  Well, there's a question I haven't been asked before. Do you know, I rather like Boots. Yes, you may call me Boots.

Greg:  Sounds like a plan. So Boots, tell us a little about how you met your master, the Marquis of Carabas.

Boots:  To be perfectly candid, he's not really a marquis--at least not until he met me. Actually he was just the third son of an ordinary miller.

Greg:  But if that's true, then how did he rise to his present station--a marquis engaged to the king's daughter?

Boots:  Ah yes, I do understand your confusion. You see, when the miller died he left various portions of his estate (such as it was) to his three sons. His first born received the mill, his second son received some mules. The youngest was gifted with--me.

Greg:  You? That's it, only a cat?

Boots:  Only a cat? You sound just like the third son. That was his reaction precisely. He, like you and just about everyone else did not realize the value of his inheritance. 

Greg:  I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be rude. But after all, what good is a cat compared to a mill, or even donkeys.

Boots:  Well for one thing, I can talk and if that is not remarkable in and of itself, then I don't know what is. Beyond that, though, I have a certain degree of cunning and brilliance if I dare say. I had a plan to help raise my master's standing in the world and, by association, my own.

Greg:  Hmmm, and what was that?

Boots:  I took a sack, trapped a rabbit and brought it to the king as a gift from my master who I called the Marquis of Carabas. He was most appreciative as you can imagine. I told him my master would supply him with game regularly. This got out paw in the door, figuratively speaking of course.

Greg:  Of course. So, you supplied game for the king's table regularly after that, eh? I can see how that would make your master very popular with the king. What was the marquis doing all that time.

Boots:  Who?

Greg:  Your master.

Boots:  Oh, him. Playing with bits of string or something I expect. I've nothing against him, mind you. He's a nice lad and all, but terribly ambitious you see. If I had left it to him to improve our lot, I'd be waiting still.

Greg:  I understand. You were just trying to take the bull by the horns and run with it.

Boots:  In a manner of speaking. Anyway, it worked. The king was so pleased with the gifts of food that he decided his daughter should wed my master. That was good new. However, when he said he wanted to pay a call on the marquis I thought all was lost. I mean, where could we entertain the king and his daughter--our hut?

Greg:  I could see that it might be a bit awkward.

Boots:  You see correctly. I had to devised a plan quickly. It was a warm day, so I suggested to my master that he might want to go swimming. There was a pond near the highway that the king's carriage was sure to pass by. 

While my master was swimming, I hid his raggedy clothes and flagged down the carriage as it approached. I told the king that my master had been robbed while he was swimming and had no clothes. The king provided some of his own royal raiment and asked him to ride in the carriage with himself and his daughter.

In the meantime, I went ahead and told all the farmers along the route to tell the king if he should ask that their land belonged to the Marquis of Carabas.

Greg:  How did you get them to agree to that?

Boots:  What else? I threatened them. The farmers did not worry me. I was more concerned that my master would inadvertently say something to give the game away. I needn't have worried. My master and the princess were so besotted with each other that they did nothing but gaze into each other's eyes. It was love at first sight.

My second problem was much more real. For several months I had had my eye on a certain castle that was the home of a fearsome ogre. I now decided it would make the perfect estate for the Marquis of Carabas. The problem was what to do about the ogre.

Greg:  Yes, that would be a problem, wouldn't it?

Boots:  Well, cats are nothing if not resourceful. This ogre had a certain amount of magic about himself. He could turn himself into any animal he wanted. To top it off, he was a bit of a show-off. I asked him if he could turn himself into a cat. He took it upon himself to turn into a lion--nearly frightened me out of my skin.

I admitted that it was impressive to be able to turn oneself into something so large, but that I doubted he could turn into something so small as a mouse. Well, the old fool was determined to prove he could do it. Without thinking, he turned himself into a rather foul tasting rodent. I held my breath, gobbled him up, and my master had a wonderful castle.

Greg:  And I suppose everyone lived happily ever after.

Boots:  Oh my  yes. My master and the princess are due to wed this weekend and I have anything I could possibly want to eat. I have to admit it's not all peaches and cream though. Ever since eating the ogre, I simply cannot abide mice. Pity.

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