English Listening – Audio Story – Puss in Boots

Here you can listen to an audio recording of the Puss in Boots, also known as The Master Cat. I’ve read the full story and linked up the text with my voice so you can read along while listening. This video is great for English listening practice.

This version of Puss in Boots is based on translations of the Charles Perrault but in modern English. The modern story of Puss in Boots, famous now in film, started as the “Master Cat, or The Booted Cat” (Italian: Il gatto con gli stivali; French: Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté). The original story was Italian but has since become a well-known European fairy tale. It is the story of an anthropomorphized cat clever trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master. The oldest telling is of this story is by Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola, who included it in his The Facetious Nights of Straparola (c. 1550–1553) Another version was published in 1634 by Giambattista Basile with the title Cagliuso, and a tale was written in French at the close of the seventeenth century by Charles Perrault. His is the most well-known version in the English speaking world and it is Perrault who created what are now known solely as Mother Goose Tales. Later fairy tale tellings by Perrault will be published in the Mother Goose playlist. (Source: Wikipedia)

Listening to stories and audiobooks in English is a great way to learn English or improve your English. The full story of Puss in Boots is printed below the video.

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Puss in Boots

There once was a miller who, when he died, had only three things to leave his sons, his mill, his ass, and his cat. Without scribe or attorney present, who would have stolen the poor estate for themselves, the sons quickly divided the meager allotment.

The mill went to the eldest son and the ass to the second. The youngest got nothing but the cat. He was quite unhappy to have received so little.

“My brothers can make a good living by working together,” he said,” but for my part, once I’ve eaten my cat and made a muff from his skin, I’ll die of hunger.”

The Cat, who heard all this but pretended he had not, said to him with a grave and serious air, “Do not concern yourself, my good master. All you have to do is to give me a bag and have a pair of boots made for me so that I can scamper through the dirt and brambles. Then you’ll see that being left with me is not so bad as you imagine.”

The Cat’s master did not take what he said very seriously. Still, he had often seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice such as hanging by his heels, hiding in the meal, or playing dead. So, he thought there was at least a chance the cat might be of some help in his miserable condition.

When the Cat had what he asked for he put on his boots, looking very gallant, and, putting his bag on his neck, he held its strings in his two forepaws and went into a warren where there were many rabbits.

He put some bran and sow-thistle into his bag, and stretching out on the ground as if he were dead, he waited for some young rabbits, not yet wise to the ways of the world, to come and rummage through his bag for what he had put into it.

Hardly a minute after he had laid down he had what he wanted. A rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and Monsieur Puss immediately closed the bag and killed him without pity.

Proud of his prey, he went with it to the palace and asked to speak with his majesty.

He was shown upstairs into the King’s apartment, and, making a low bow, said to him:

“I have brought you, sir, a rabbit of the warren, which my noble lord the Marquis of Carabas” (for that was the title which puss was pleased to give his master) “has commanded me to present to your majesty from him.”

“Tell your master,” said the king, “that I thank him and that he has caused me a great deal of pleasure.”

Another time he went and hid in some corn-rows, holding open his bag, so that when a brace of partridges ran into it he drew the strings and so caught them both.

Just as with the rabbit before, he went and made a present of these to the king.

The king, as before, received the partridges with great pleasure and ordered the cat to be given some money for drink.

The Cat continued in this manner for two or three months, carrying game, which he claimed to have been taken by his master, to the king.

One day in particular, when he knew for certain that the king was going to go for a ride along the river-side with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world, the cat said to his master,

“If you will follow my advice you will have your fortune. All you have to do is go and wash yourself in the river and leave the rest to me.”

The Marquis of Carabas did what the Cat advised him to, without having any idea why.

While he was washing the King passed by, and the Cat began to cry out:

“Help! help! My Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to drown.”

At this noise the King poked his head out of the coach window, and, finding it was the Cat who had so often brought him such good game, he commanded his guards to run immediately to help his Lordship the Marquis of Carabas.

While they were pulling the poor Marquis out of the river, the Cat came up to the coach and told the King that, while his master was washing, some rogues had come by and made off with his clothes, though he had cried out “Thieves! thieves!” several times, as loud as he could.

The clothes, of course, had not been stolen. The cunning Cat had hidden them under a great stone.

The King immediately commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the Lord Marquis of Carabas.

The King treated him in an extraordinarily kind way, and, as the fine clothes really suited him (for he was a well-built and very handsome man), the King’s daughter took a secret liking to him.

And, when the Marquis of Carabas cast two or three respectful and somewhat tender glances at her, well, she fell head over heels in love with him.

The King insisted he come into the coach and take part in the coach ride and enjoy the fresh air.

The Cat, quite overjoyed to see his project was beginning to succeed, marched on ahead and came upon some countrymen who were mowing a meadow. He said to them,

“Good people, if you do not tell the King that the meadow you mow belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot.”

The King did not fail to ask the mowers who owned the meadow they were mowing.

“It belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” they answered in unison, for the Cat’s threats had made them terribly afraid.

“You see, sir,” said the Marquis, “this is a meadow which never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year.”

The Master Cat, who continued on ahead, met with some reapers, and said to them: “Good people, if you do not tell the King that all this grain belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot.”

The King, who passed by a moment after, wanted to know who owned all that grain.

“It belongs to my Lord Marquis of Carabas,” replied the reapers and the King was very well pleased with the grain, as well as the Marquis, whom he then congratulated.

The Master Cat, who, as always, went on ahead, said the same words to everyone he met, and the King was astonished at the vast estates of the Lord Marquis of Carabas.

Monsieur Puss at last came to a stately castle, the master of which was an ogre. This ogre was the richest that had ever been known, for all the lands which the King had just passed through belonged to this castle.

The Cat, who had made a point to find out who this ogre was and what he could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not pass so near his castle without having the honor of paying his respects to him.

The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do, and asked him to sit down.

“I have been assured,” said the Cat, “that you have the gift of being able to change yourself into any creature you desire. You can, for example, transform yourself into a lion, or elephant, and the like.”

“That is true,” answered the ogre very briskly, “and to convince you, you shall now see me become a lion.”

Puss was so terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he immediately got up into the gutter, but not without great trouble and danger because of his boots, which were of no use at all to him in walking on the tiles.

A little while after, when Puss saw that the ogre had resumed his natural form, he came down and admitted that he had been extremely frightened.

“I have also been informed,” said the Cat, “but I can hardly believe it, that you also have the power to take on the shape of even the smallest of animals.

For example, you can change yourself into a rat or a mouse. I must admit that I find this to be impossible.”

“Impossible!” cried the ogre; “you’ll see!.”

And at that, he changed himself into a mouse and began to run around on the floor.

Puss no sooner saw this but he pounced on him and ate him up.

Meanwhile, the King, who saw, as he passed, this fine castle of the ogre’s, was of a mind to go into it.

Puss, who heard the noise of his Majesty’s coach running over the draw-bridge, ran out, and said to the King, “Your Majesty is welcome to the castle of my Lord Marquis of Carabas.”

“What! my Lord Marquis,” cried the King, “does this castle also belong to you? There can be nothing finer than this court and all the stately buildings surrounding it. Let’s go in, if you please.”

The Marquis gave his hand to the Princess and followed the King, who went first.

They passed into a spacious hall, where they found a magnificent meal, which the ogre had prepared for his friends, who were that very day going to visit him, but dared not enter, knowing the King was there.

His Majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen violently in love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to him, after having drunk five or six glasses:

“It will be owing to yourself only, my Lord Marquis, if you are not my son-in-law.”

The Marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honor which his Majesty conferred upon him, and without delay, that very same day, married the Princess.

Puss in Boots became a great lord, and after that no longer ran after mice, except for his own enjoyment, of course.

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