Re: McKinley: princess tales/dark crystal/puss n' boots

From: Eli Grantaire <>
Date: Thu Jul 08 1999 - 21:40:43 PDT

>does anyone know if gail carson levine's "the princess tales" are any good?
>(i think she has three books out so far - _ella enchanted_, _the fairy's
>mistake_, and _the princess test_)

I read Ella Enchanted and while it was very sweet, I can't say that I really
thought much of it. I believe it won a children's book award or two, but
I'm not sure which. (Gee, I'm being helpful today.) Haven't read either of
the others though.

While I'm on the topic, there's a really good book by Eleanor Farjeon (I
don't remember if I spelled her first name correctly) that's a retelling of
Cinderella called The Glass Slipper. At least I think that's what it was
called. The prose tends to rhyme withitself, which I personally like, but
some find it slightly singsongy. All the same, I recommend it!

If you've not read Beagle's The Last Unicorn, on which the movie was based,
it's also really awesome! : ) Actually, I love all of his books . . . but
the Last Unicorn is truly special. I haven't seen LadyHawke, but there's a
novelization of it by Joan D. Vinge, whose work I also rather enjoy.

>lastly, can someone please give me a brief synopsis of "puss n' boots"? as
>cat lover i feel that i should know the story, but i'm too lazy to actually
>go get the book from the library...

I'm fairly sure you've heard the story before. It starts out like most
stories, a father on his deathbed bequeaths to his eldest son his farm and
lands, to his second son some money, but to his youngest son only a cat,
Puss. Naturally the young man is somewhat discontent. The cat tells him
not to fear, but to buy him a pair of boots and a nice suit and all will be
well. The young man does so (well, wouldn't you follow the instructions of
a talking cat?) and the cat goes off to court with a brace of pheasants.
Puss presents his gift to the king as a present from the Marquis de Carribal
(er, I think that's his name) and the king is suitably impressed and
expressed his desire to meet this Marquis. Puss promises the king he shall,
all in good time.

Next Puss instructs his master to go bathing in a lake nearby where the king
passes in his carriage each day. Meanwhile, Puss takes his master's clothes
and hides them. When the king rides by in his carriage, Puss leaps out
crying, "Thief! Thief!" It turns out the Marquis de Carribal's fine clothes
have vanished while he bathed and the king is only too happy to provide the
Marquis with a suit of his own. Now suitably dressed, the Marquis is free
to make a good impression on the king and his lovely daughter, also
conviently out for a ride. Puss invites the king to ride through is
master's lands while he runs on ahead to prepare the Master's house to
recieve guests. While the Marquis charms the King and Princess, Puss runs
ahead to talk to the farmers working in the fields ahead.

"Who owns this land?" he asks.

"Why, the Giant beyond the hill," the farmer replys.

"From henceforth you shall call him the Marquis de Carribal," replies Puss
and the farmer is wise enough not to argue with a talking cat. So it is
with every farmer ahead until Puss reaches the giant's mansion. He
introduces himself as the messenger of the Marquis de Carribal who, hearing
of the giant's great wealth and magical powers, is curious to meet this
giant. The giant is suitably impressed and is none too humble of his magic.

"I can turn myself into any creature," he says proudly and shows off his
talent by transforming himself into a great lion. Puss looks skeptical.

Eager to impress Puss, the giant displays his talent further by becoming a
great bear, an eagle, and a tiger. Puss is still not impressed. "Oh," says
he, nonchalantly, "it is easy enough for one to become larger. The true
test is if you can become smaller than yourself. It is no great matter to
transform into a lion, but could you fit yourself into, say, the skin of a
mouse?" The giant is only too quick to please and with a pounce and a gulp,
Puss has found himself dinner.

As the king rides through the rich farmlands, he stops to ask each farmer to
whom the land belongs. And each is quick enough to answer with the name of
the Marquis de Carribal. The king becomes fonder of the young Marquis with
each passing mile. The princess becomes fonder of the young Marquis as
well, though her affections have very little to do with the farmland they
are passing. Soon enough, they reach a great mansion, Puss standing on the

"Welcome," says he, "to the home of the Marquis de Carribal." The king
grows fonder of the Marquis with each richly furnished room and it is not
very long before the Princess finds herself betrothed to the Marquis. The
king is happy, the Princess is pleased, the Marquis is content, and Puss is
more than a little smug. : )

I do believe that's the long version. The story changes a little from
teller to teller . . . but that's the general gist of it. : )


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Received on Thu Jul 8 21:43:34 1999

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