Most of the fairy tales we know and enjoy have been kicking around for up to centuries. I was wondering about Puss in Boots this morning (do you not love what they did with the Puss in Shrek?). Turns out our suave kitty hero has also been around for lo these many: in 1553 an Italian tale called "Piacevole notti" has a clever cat as agent of a poor family's bettering fortunes.
The definitive early version is that written by Charles Perrault in 1697. You can read it all, and a bunch of other interesting versions and historical tidbits, at this excellent page.