The Master Cat or Puss in Boots by Charles Perrault – is a European fairy tale about an anthropomorphic cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand in marriage of a princess for his penniless and low-born master.
The oldest written telling version is Costantino Fortunato (Italian for «Lucky Costantino») by Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola, included in The Facetious Nights of Straparola (c. 1550-1553), in which the cat is a fairy in disguise who helps his owner, a poor boy named Costantino, to gain his princess by duping a king, a lord and many commoners. There is a version written by Girolamo Morlini, from whom Straparola used various tales in The Facetious Nights; another version was published in 1634 by Giambattista Basile with the title Cagliuso. The most popular version of the tale was written in French at the close of the seventeenth century by Charles Perrault (1628-1703), a retired civil servant and member of the Académie française.
Puss in Boots appears in DreamWorks' Shrek franchise, appearing in all three sequels to the original film, as well as two spin-off films, Puss in Boots (2011) and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022), where he is voiced by Antonio Banderas. The character is signified in the logo of Japanese anime studio Toei Animation, and is also a popular pantomime in the UK.
In folkloristics, Puss in Boots is classified as Aarne-Thompson-Uther ATU 545B, «Puss in Boots», a subtype of ATU 545, «The Cat as Helper». Folklorists Joseph Jacobs and Stith Thompson point that the Perrault's tale is the possible source of the Cat Helper story in later European folkloric traditions. Similarly, Frisian professor Jurjen van der Kooi noted that variants from oral tradition were only starting to be recorded from the 19th century onwards, and tales from Central and Western Europe follow Perrault's and Grimm's redaction very closely.
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