Tom Puss receiving the King .. the Princess & his Master at the Castle (6.1 cm high by 9.7 cm wide, framed, facing page 22) — the ninth illustration for both the single-volume edition of 1854 and for the final tale in the 1865 anthology, George Cruikshank's Fairy Library. Tom Puss's outwitting the evil but somewhat gullible Ogre has occurred in the nick of time: no sooner has he disposed of the carcass of the Ogre-mouse in the moat than the royal entourage arrives. The movement from right to left is momentarily halted on the steps as the King regards Puss, who gestures his welcome and three recently-liberated pages look on cheerfully (left).

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL.]

The illustrations appearing here are from the collection of the commentator.

Passage Illustrated: The Castle Liberated

An end had no sooner been put to the art and the life of the Ogre sorcerer, than a great change seemed to take place all over the castle ; from its being a dark dingy place when Tom entered, it now seemed to be light and cheerful; and instead of the old ugly-looking cripples of servants who were creeping about the hall, and half-starved looking hounds and cats, and bats and ravens, there were beautiful birds singing sweetly, the animals all well-fed, and the servants of all ages healthy, cheerful, and happy; and there was a delicious savoury odour as if some very nice food was being prepared for a lunch or dinner. Tom hastened to the entrance, calling out as he went along, "Look sharp, my friends, the king and the Princess and the Marquis are at the gate," and as Tom Puss took his stand at the entrance of the hall, his Majesty approached, to whom Tom, making a profound bow, said, "Welcome, your majesty, to the Castle of Carabas." The king entered, followed by the marquis and the princess, who both now seemed to be upon the most friendly terms. The king was attended and waited upon by a number of the men-servants of the castle, and the Princess by maids in waiting; and Tom, taking his master aside, said, "No doubt, master, you are surprised at all this, and therefore, just to make your mind easy for the present, I will tell you that you are now in the castle of your ancestors, and that you are the rightful owner of this estate ; for, according to the laws of this kingdom, you, being the youngest son, inherit the title and estate. I will give you the full particulars at another time." Tom Puss then showed him into the grand dining-hall, where a dinner-table was laid out for three, and he told his master to ask the king and the princess to stop to dinner. — "Puss in Boots," pp. 16-17.

The Context in Perrault

His majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of my Lord Marquis of Carabas, as was his daughter, who had fallen violently in love with him, and, seeing the vast estate he possessed, said to him, after having drunk five or six glasses, "It will be your own fault, my Lord Marquis, if you do not become my son-in-law."

The marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honor which his majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith, that very same day, married the princess.

The cat became a great lord, and never again ran after mice, except for entertainment.


There is great advantage in receiving a large inheritance, but diligence and ingenuity are worth more than wealth acquired from others.

Another moral:

If a miller's son can win the heart of a princess in so short a time, causing her to gaze at him with lovelorn eyes, it must be due to his clothes, his appearance, and his youth. These things do play a role in matters of the heart. — Charles Perrault, "The Master Cat or, Puss in Boots."


Cruikshank was still perhaps nursing a grievance when he appended a short essay on fairy tales to his Puss in Boots: pp. 28-30. Here, invoking his own childhood and that of William Shakespeare, he sets out his credentials as a lover of fairy tales and of fantasy, which answers some of Dickens' charges, and assures his readers that fairies, giants and ogres do not exist in real life. In insisting on this, he can be seen as answering the charge laid by John Locke as long ago as 1693 in Some Thoughts Concerning Education. '[B]e sure to preserve his tender mind from all impressions and notions of sprites and goblins, or any fearful apprehensions in the dark', wrote Locke, for otherwise 'are stamped upon their minds ideas that follow them with terror and affrightment' (138). However, that Cruikshank had been chastened by his run-in with Dickens is perhaps evident in the lack of anti-alcohol polemic anywhere in Puss in Boots. (For more on the Dickens-Cruikshank controversy, see Stone 1973-74 and Kotzin 1972). — The Hockliffe Project.

The whole inset story of Tom Puss's once having been gamekeeper to the present Marquis's grandfather seems to be entirely of Cruikshank's invention. And the note on which the two versions end is quite different, for whereas Perrault points a conventional moral about the merits of being industrious, and the power of superficial appearance, Cruikshank indulges in constructing a rationale for Tom Puss in order to explain his loyalty to Caraba, and point out the folly of not being satisfied with one's lot in life.

Although this larger illustration shares the page with the next panel, The Wedding Feast, and Tom Puss making a Speech! (also facing p. 22), the scene shifts not once but twice in these connected illustrations; first, we enter the Ogre's castle, now in possession of the Marquis of Carabas and transformed from the abode of gloom to an edifice filled with light and cheerfulness; next, we are inside the royal palace, some days later, attending the wedding feast. The King is a pillar of society, to which Cruikshank offers the visual analogue of the columns in the background which support the walls and grand entranceway to the castle. While the Princess is attending to her father and the courtyard, Caraba looks earnestly at her. Now that the malignant influence of the oppressive Ogre is gone, the bush between the King and Caraba is flowering, with the suggestion that romance, too, is in bloom, preparing the reader visually for the next panel, in which the wedding feast (also presided over by Tom Puss) is in progress.

The second scene involving the Wedding Feast at the Royal Palace

Above: George Cruikshank's realisation of the conclusion of the romantic plot, The Wedding Feast, and Tom Puss making a Speech! (also facing page 22). [Click on image to enlarge it.]

Related Materials


Bentley, Nicolas; Michael Slater and Nina Burgis. The Dickens Index. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1990.

British Library. "George Cruikshank's Fairy Library." Romantics and Victorians.

Carpenter, Humphrey, and Mari Pritchard. The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature​. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1984.

Cohen, Jane Rabb. Part One, "Dickens and His Early Illustrators: 1. George Cruikshank. Charles Dickens and His Original Illustrators. Columbus: Ohio University Press, 1980. Pp. 15-38.

Cruikshank, George. Puss in Boots. Illustrated by George Cruikshank. The fourth volume in George Cruikshank's Fairy Library. London: Routledge, Warne & Routledge, 1864. (Price one shilling) 11 etchings on 6 tipped-in pages, including frontispiece.

Cruikshank, George. George Cruikshank's Fairy Library: "Hop-O'-My-Thumb," "Jack and the Bean-Stalk," "Cinderella," "Puss in Boots". London: George Bell, 1865.

Daniels, Morna. "The Tale of Charles Perrault and Puss in Boots." Electronic British Library Journal. 2002. pp. 1-14.

Guildhall Library blog. "A Gem from Guildhall Library's Shelves: George Cruikshank's Fairy Library by George Cruikshank published by Routledge in London (c. 1870)." 8 August 2014.

Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, Tulane University. "George Cruikshank."

Hubert, Judd D. "George Cruikshank's Graphic and Textual Reactions to Mother Goose." Marvels & Tales, Volume 25, Number 2, 2011 (pp. 286-297). Project Muse.

Kitton, Frederic G. "George Cruikshank." Dickens and His Illustrators. London: Chapman & Hall, 1899. Pp. 1-28.

Kotzin, Michael C. Dickens and the Fairy Tale. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1972.

McLean, Ruari. George Cruikshank: His Life and Work as a Book Illustrator. English Masters of Black-and-White. London: Art and Technics, 1948.

Perrault, Charles. "The Master Cat or, Puss in Boots." Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts, University of Pittsburgh, 2002. From Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book (London: Longmans, Green, and Co., ca. 1889), pp. 141-147. Edited by D. L. Ashliman.

Schlicke, Paul. "Oxford Reader's Companion to Dickens. Oxford: Oxford U. P., 1999. Pp. 231-232.

Stone, Harry. Dickens and the Invisible World: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Novel-Making. Bloomington, IN: Indiana U. P., 1979.

Vogler, Richard, The Graphic Works of George Cruikshank. New York: Dover, 1979.

Last modified 8 July 2017