Original language: French

Original title: The Master Cat or Puss in Boots

Year of publication: 1697

Translation: Íñigo Jáuregui

Illustrations: Javier Zabala

Valuation: It can be read (it is good for children)

It is curious to look at the children’s literature of yesteryear. Unlike the recent one (with some exceptions), its tone is much darker, and its characters are not complete, nor are its morals as crystal clear as the currently prevailing political correctness would like.

An example of what I say would be The cat with boots, a story from oral tradition compiled by Charles Perrault in 1697. Nórdica publishes it unscathed, without softening passages or whitewashing its protagonist. The text is accompanied by exquisite materials (hardcover, 150 gram paper…) and illustrations by Javier Zabala.

The well-known feline who stars in this story is less heroic than many will remember. From the first pages we know that he is capable of the most “subtle tricks”, and throughout the story he will use his ingenuity to get his master, an attractive young man but of humble origins, to marry a woman. princess.

Personally, I haven’t enjoyed it too much. The cat with boots. The narrative seemed extremely schematic to me; the motivations of the protagonists, excessively linear. Its scenes are haphazardly concatenated and none of the ideas introduced (the brothers of the miller’s little son, the cat’s boots, the ogre…) are even minimally developed.

Add to all this the fact that there are a multitude of plot inconsistencies, which could have been convincingly explained by adding just one or two paragraphs. Namely: why hadn’t the cat helped the miller’s family before, if he is so smart? Why doesn’t he abandon an owner who has threatened to eat him? Why doesn’t he inform his master of his plans? Why not encourage the journey of the float himself, instead of adapting to a predetermined route? How do you intend to sustain the deception of the Marquis of Carabás over time?

Likewise, I am not completely convinced by the message that this work conveys. Let me explain: you can read The cat with boots in an inspirational key. Ultimately, the protagonist manages to overcome his social class and his environment. Certainly, the methods he uses to prosper (lying, threatening, murdering and usurping) are not very ethical; There are even times when he could have proceeded differently, but he takes the easy way out (for example, extorting money from some poor peasants, instead of trying to persuade them or offer them something in exchange for their complicity).

Let’s see, what The cat with boots Whether it is unedifying is indifferent to me; I am not one of those who believes that children should be taught a Manichean vision of the world. What bothers me is that his message seems misleading, since it implies that one will get ahead thanks to intelligence, but in reality it shows how one prospers thanks to the efforts of a third party. Because let’s not fool ourselves: the cat’s owner is the real beneficiary of the goings-on of his pet, and not the cat itself.

In conclusion: The cat with boots It is a fairly dispensable classic, overshadowed by multiple adaptations and much more successful later versions. Even so, I don’t strongly advise against reading it either: you can understand it in one fell swoop, the actions of its protagonist give rise to a moral debate and the Nórdica edition is beautiful.

Source: https://unlibroaldia.blogspot.com/2024/06/charles-perrault-el-gato-con-botas.html

Leave a Reply