A MILLER lay dying – he made his last will ;
He left his three sons his cat, ass and mill :
To the eldest the mill, to the second the ass ;
The third had the cat, and he cried out : « Alas !
I must starve now, unless I take Pussy to eat ! »
« No, Master, » said Puss, « give me boots to my feet –
A pair of top-boots – and please leave me alive,
And you shall just see how you'll flourish and thrive. »
So the Puss put on boots, and he started abroad,
And caught a fine rabbit just near the high-road,
Which he took to the palace, and gave to the King :
« This I from the Marquis of Carabas bring. »
Again Puss went hunting, and carried the prey
To the King, with the Marquis's duty, each day.
One morn, said the Cat to his Master, « I pray
You to go and to bathe in the river to-day ;
The Marquis of Carabas, too, you must be,
And leave all the rest of the business to me. »
Now, while the King down by the river passed by,
He heard dismal cries of – « Help ! Help ! Or he'll die !
The Marquis of Carabas drowns ! – O my master ! »
The King sent his guards to avert the disaster.
The Miller's son finds himself pulled out, and drest
In all that his Majesty had of the best ;
And being well dried and well rid of the water,
Was then introduced by the King to his daughter,
And invited to drive in the King's coach-and-four ;
And Puss who had managed all, hurried before
And seing men reaping some very fine corn,
Said to them : « You will wish that you'd never been born,
If you don't tell the King, who is now near at hand,
That the Marquis of Carabas owns all this land. »
And all whom he met he commanded the same,
To magnify further the Marquis's name.
At last he arrived at a castle so grand,
Which belonged to an Ogre, as well as the land ;
Puss conversed with the Ogre, who said that he could
Assume any shape that he chose – bad or good,
Great or small – as he'd show ; and the Ogre, so fussy,
Turned into a mouse, and was swallowed by Pussy.
At this moment his Majesty's carriage was heard ;
Puss hurried down stairs, and he shortly appeared
At the door, flung wide open befor they could ring :
« The Marquis of Carabas welcomes the King ! »
The Miller's son thus became lord of the place,
And he feasted the King with much grandeur and grace.
After dinner, his Majesty, smiling and bland,
Said, « Marquis of Carabas, give us your hand ;
And if there is aught that seems goodly of ours –
Yes, even our daughter – dear Marquis, 'tis yours. »
So the Miller's son married the Princess next day,
And Puss was a groomsman in top-boots so gay ;
For the Marquis of Carabas owed him his life –
His lands and his corn-fields – his castle and wife.