"Master Cat, or The Booted Cat" (Italian: Il gatto con gli stivali; French: Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté), commonly known in English as "Puss in Boots", is a European literary fairy tale about a cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master. The oldest telling is by Italian author Giovanni Francesco Straparola, who included it in his The Facetious Nights of Straparola (c. 1550–53) in XIV–XV. Another version was published in 1634 by Giambattista Basile with the title Cagliuso, and a 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. The tale appeared in a handwritten and illustrated manuscript two years before its 1697 publication by Barbin in a collection of eight fairy tales by Perrault called Histoires ou contes du temps passé. The book was an instant success and remains popular. Perrault's Histoires has had considerable impact on world culture. The original Italian title of the first edition was Costantino Fortunato, but was later known as Il gatto con gli stivali (lit. The cat with the boots); the French title was "Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités" with the subtitle "Les Contes de ma mère l'Oye" ("Stories or Fairy Tales from Past Times with Morals", subtitled "Mother Goose Tales"). The frontispiece to the earliest English editions depicts an old woman telling tales to a group of children beneath a placard inscribed "MOTHER GOOSE'S TALES" and is credited with launching the Mother Goose legend in the English-speaking world. "Puss in Boots" has provided inspiration for composers, choreographers, and other artists over the centuries.
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