Translation:Puss in Boots/Act 2/Scene 3

Translation:Puss in Boots by Ludwig Tieck, translated from German by wikisource and  Wikisource
Act 2, Scene 3



Scene Three

A hall in the palace.


A large audience. The King, The Princess, Prince Nathaniel, The Cook in full dress.


seated on his throne

Over here, Cook; now is the time for speeches and answers; I intend to look into this matter myself.


falling on one knee

May it please your majesty: your highness's most faithful servant is yours to command.


One cannot expend too much effort, my friends, ensuring that the king – on whose shoulders lies the well-being of an entire country and its countless subjects – is always in good spirits. For if he falls into a bad mood, he can very easily become a tyrant, an ogre. Good humor encourages cheerfulness, and cheerfulness, as all philosophers have observed, encourages good behaviour; whereas melancholy, on the other hand, is to be considered a vice because it encourages all the vices. I ask you then, in whose hands does the power lie to foster the good humor of the monarch if not in the hands of his cook? Are not rabbits innocent creatures? Anyone who thinks otherwise must surely, I fear, have lost the purest jewel of his soul: his innocence. I could never grow tired of making my country happy by means of these gentle creatures and yet you expect me to go without rabbit! Suckling pig, every day nothing but suckling pig. Well, I'm finally fed up with suckling pig, you scoundrel!


Do not condemn me, your highness, without a hearing. Heaven is my witness that no stone has been left unturned in search of those cute little white creatures; I was even prepared to buy one no matter what the cost, but there are absolutely none to be had. If only we could get hold of just one of these rabbits, you would no longer have reason to doubt the love of your subjects?


Enough of these mischievous words! Off with you to the kitchen and prove by your actions that you love your king.

Exit cook.


Now I turn to you, my prince and to you, my daughter. I have been informed, worthy prince, that my daughter does not love you, that she cannot love you; she is a thoughtless and silly little girl; but I still give her credit for so much common sense that I feel sure she must have her reasons. She causes me so much worry and grief, so much sorrow and soul-searching, and my old eyes are flooded with tears when I think of how she will get along after my death. You will be left an old maid! I have told her a thousand times; seize your chance before it is too late! but she will not listen; well, she has made her bed and she will just have to lie in it.




weeping and sobbing

Go, you ungrateful and disobedient girl by your refusal you are, alas, digging an all too early grave for my grey head!

He leans on the throne, covers his face with his cloak and weeps bitterly.


Why, this king does not remain true to his character from one moment to the next.

The Groom of the Chambers enters.


Your majesty, a foreign gentleman is outside who craves an audience with your majesty.



Who is it?


Forgive me, my lord, but I cannot answer this question. Judging by his long white beard, one should say he is an old man; and the fact that his face is completely covered with hair should almost confirm one in this supposition; but then again he has such lively young eyes and such an obliging and supple back that one cannot make head or tail of him. He appears to be a wealthy man, for he is wearing a fine pair of boots; and as far as I can gather from his exterior appearance, I'm inclined to consider him a hunter.


Show him in; I am curious to see him.

The groom goes out and returns in a moment with Hinze.


With your majesty's most gracious permission, the Count of Carabas makes bold to present you with a rabbit.



A rabbit? Did you hear that, my good people? Ah, fate has decided to patch things up with me again! A rabbit?


taking it out of his knapsack

Here, O mighty sovereign!


handing his sceptre to Prince Nathaniel

Here hold my sceptre a moment, Sir.

He feels the rabbit.


Fat! Nice and fat! From the Count of




Indeed, he must be an excellent man. I must become better acquainted with him. Who is this man? Which of you knows him? Why does he hold himself aloof from society? Imagine the loss to the nation if such fellows are allowed to remain idle! I could almost cry out for joy: Send me a rabbit! Groom, give it to the cook immediately.

The groom takes it and leaves.


Your majesty, I beg most humbly to take my leave.


Oh, yes! I had almost forgotten about you in all the excitement! Farewell, Sir. Yes, you must make room for other suitors; I'm afraid it can't be helped. Adieu, then! May the road rise with you, and so forth.

Nathanael kisses his hand and leaves.


calls out

People! Let the royal historian approach!

The Historian appears.


Come, my good friend, approach; here's some material for our history of the world. You have your book with you, of course?


Yes, my lord.


Enter the following: that on such and such a day (whatever today's date happens to be) the Count of Carabas presented me with a most delicious rabbit.

The historian sits down and writes.


Don't forget, anno currentis.[1] I must think of everything, otherwise it's always sure to be done wrong.

A trumpet flourish is heard.


Ah, dinner is ready come, my dear, do not cry; if it isn't one prince, it will be another. Huntsman, we thank you for your trouble. Won't you accompany us to the dining-room?

They leave. Hinze follows them.


I can't take much more of this! What has happened to the father who was so fond of his daughter and made such an impression on us all in his opening scene?


The only thing that annoys me is that no one in the play is surprised at the cat; the king and everyone else act as though it's perfectly normal.


My head is spinning with all this crazy stuff.


  1. anno currentis: (Latin) in the year of the current era.