Perrault and Robinson Versions of Puss in Boots

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Perrault and Robinson Versions of Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots, like many folk and fairy tales is found in varying versions of the same story. Two of the many versions of this tale which are still told today are the classic version by Charles Perrault and one retold by Harry Robinson, an Okanagan Native Storyteller. Robinson's version was recorded and then transcribed and may be found in 'Write It On Your Heart - The Epic World of an Okanagan Storyteller.' This paper will examine and compare the content of both these tales with regards to plot and attempt to explain why the differences and similarities occur with regards to characters and places.

Though both versions share a common goal of assuring a good life for the son who inherits the cat, the reasons vary considerably from version to version. In Perrault's tale, the son is destitute and the cat sets out to ensure his master's survival and comfort. Robinson's version, on the other hand, portraits a cat that seeks to right a wrong and return to his master that which was stolen from his family. A significant difference between the two tales is the number of events that take place.

The openings to these two tales are very different from one another. In Perrault's tale, the father is already dead and the children are about to split their meagre inheritance: a mill, an ass and one cat. Robinson launches instead into an extended preamble identifying the story to be told along with some pertinent facts concerning its source. He identifies its source as being non- Native. "This is white people stories." (Robinson, 282) Unlike Perrault's poor miller, Robinson's father figure is identified as a well-to-do rancher with lots of cattle, several horses and many acres of cultivated fields. In fact, the farming operation is so large that there are many farmhands to tend to the various tasks (Robinson, 283). The father is very much alive and continues to be an integral part of the story for one third of the tale.

Perrault's sequence of events is compact and straightforward. Once the sons have divided the assets, the two oldest siblings are removed from the tale. The cat requests some boots and a bag and sets off to provide for his master. Upon snagging each day's catch, he presents it to the king as a gift from his master whom he dubs the Marquis of Carabas.

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