Monday, April 18, 2011

A-Z: Ogre

Monsieur Puss came at last to a stately castle, the master of which was an Ogre, the richest ever known; for all the lands which the King had then passed through belonged to this castle. The Cat, who had taken care to inform himself who this Ogre was and what he could do, asked to speak with him, saying he could not pass so near his castle without having the honor of paying his respects to him.

The Ogre received him as civilly as an Ogre could do, and made him sit down.

"I have been assured," said the Cat, "that you have the gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of creatures you have a mind to; that you can, for example, transform yourself into a lion, or elephant, and the like."

"That is true," answered the Ogre, roughly; "and to convince you, you shall see me now become a lion."

Puss was so terrified at the sight of a lion so near him that he immediately climbed into the gutter, not without much trouble and danger, because of his boots, which were of no use at all to him for walking upon the tiles. A little while after, when Puss saw that the Ogre had resumed his natural form, he came down, and owned he had been very much frightened.

"I have, moreover, been informed," said the Cat, "but I know not how to believe it, that you have also the power to take on you the shape of the smallest animals; for example, to change yourself into a rat or a mouse, but I must own to you I take this to be impossible."

"Impossible!" cried the Ogre; "you shall see." And at the same time he changed himself into a mouse, and began to run about the floor. Puss no sooner perceived this than he fell upon him and ate him up.

–– Charles Perrault, "Puss in Boots" (translated by Charles Welsh)

The complete text can be found at Wikisource


  1. Always loved Puss in Boots but the Ogre was a vain idiot.

  2. Wow, you're very well read.

    I want to give you the Stylish Blogger Award because I really dig your blog. It's a type of "with strings" award, and I know not everyone is into those. So, if you want it with no strings....well, that's great, too. LoL..I won't tell if you won't.

  3. What's interesting is that the Puss in Boots plays the role of a Kobold in that tale (but isn't one, of course). Lots of cool mythology in these old poems and stories you are posting. :)

  4. Lurker: Yep, I was thinking of statting up the ogre in this story, but I don't know of a game that allows negative INT scores...

    Varmit: Thanks so much for the award – that's too kind (I think you're the first person to ever find me stylish). As for being well read, maybe a little. In the interest of full disclosure, though I am a lit prof, and I have read many of the works I've quoted, I haven't read all of them in their entirety (often just fragments and odd excerpts here and there). My talent (if I have one) lies not so much in knowing things as in knowing how to find things. :)

    Retro: Thanks – your point is one of the things I find interesting too, the way so many old tales, legends, and myths end up overlapping.

  5. The chinese ogre, a denizen of hell, nearly always has an eye in the center of their forehead. Sometimes, this is their only eye.

  6. Doc: Didn't one of the old AD&D rulebooks have a picture of an ogre like that? I always wondered about that -- now I know, thanks! Of course the "sometimes this is their only eye" bit is a tad unnerving!