Aesop's Tales (Greece 6 B.C.)

The Cat and Venus

A Cat fell in love with a handsome young man, and entreated Venus to give her human form. Venus granted the Cat’s request and transformed her into a beautiful woman. The youth immediately fell in love with her, and took her home as his bride. While the two were reclining in their chamber, Venus, wishing to discover if the Cat in her new shape had also changed her habits, let a mouse loose in the room. The Cat, quite forgetting her present condition, leapt from the couch and started chasing the mouse. Venus was quite disappointed and changed the Cat back into a cat.

The Lion & the Mouse

A Mouse accidentally ran across the paw of a sleeping Lion. Awaking, the Lion caught her and was about to kill her when the Mouse piteously begged for her life, saying that one day she would return the favor. The Lion laughed and let her go. Sometime later the Lion was caught in a trap and could not free himself. The Mouse hearing his desperate roar ran to his side, gnawed through the net and set him free, exclaiming:

“You laughed at the very idea that I might one day return your favor, and yet you see, it is possible for a Mouse to be of use to a Lion.”

The Lion, the Mouse & the Fox

In the heat of a summer afternoon, a Lion was sleeping in his den. A Mouse ran over his mane and woke him from his slumber. Much disturbed, the Lion looked for the Mouse in every corner of the cave. A Fox seeing him exclaimed: "A fine Lion you are, frightened by a Mouse!"

"I do not fear the Mouse," roared the Lion. "I resent his familiarity and ill-breeding."

The Mouse, the Frog & the Hawk

A Mouse fell in love with a Frog. One day the Frog in a particularly playful mood tied one foot of the Mouse tightly to his own. Thus joined, the two skipped through the meadow and neared the  pond where the Frog lived. As they got to the edge of the water the Frog suddenly jumped in dragging the Mouse with him. But while the Frog splashed about happily, the poor Mouse, unable to swim, soon drowned. Her body, floating on the surface of the pond, was observed by a Hawk. The Hawk swooped down and grabbing the dead Mouse in its talons soared into the air. Still tied to the Mouse the Frog was now airborne and later became second course of the Hawk’s dinner.

The Town Mouse & the Country Mouse

A Country Mouse invited a Town Mouse to dinner. In the field, while eating wheat-stocks and roots pulled up from the hedgerow, the Town Mouse said to her friend: “This is nice, of course, but where I live I am surrounded by such luxury that if you come with me, and I wish you would, I will treat you to a meal the likes of which you have never even imagined.”

The Country Mouse was easily persuaded and accompanied her friend back to town. Upon their arrival in the kitchen, the Town Mouse produced bread, barley, beans, dried figs, honey, raisins, and a pungent piece of cheese from a basket. The Country Mouse was impressed and delighted and a little sad thinking of her own humble means.  But just as the two began their repast, someone opened the door and they had to run as fast as they could into a hole barely big enough for both of them. Scarcely had they crawled out and once more began to eat, when someone else entered to take something out of the cupboard. Again the Mice ran and hid. This was repeated several more times until at last the Country Mouse, almost famished, said to her friend: “You have prepared for me a fabulous feast, but I unfortunately must leave you to enjoy it by yourself, as my nerves are completely shattered. And I have to admit that I prefer my humble field to your plentiful kitchen. Its offerings might be meager, but at least fear is not one of them.”

The Mouse & the Bull

A Bull was bitten by a Mouse and, angered, tried to catch him. The Mouse, however, was able to safely reach the mouse-hole. The Bull tried to tear down the wall where the Mouse was hiding, but failing lay down in front of the mouse-hole and went to sleep. The Mouse came out, snuck up his flank and biting him again retreated. The Bull was now awake and sadly perplexed.

And the Mouse said: "The great do not always prevail. At mischief, the small are often much more successful.”

The Council of the Mice

The Mice summoned a council to decide how they might best devise an early warning system for the approach of their great enemythe Cat. Among the many plans suggested, the most promising was the proposal to tie a bell around the Cat’s neck. Unfortunately, when it came to deciding who among them would actually do the tying, there were no volunteers.

The Mice & the Weasels

The Weasels and the Mice waged perpetual war with each other, in which much blood had been spilled. The Weasels were always victorious. The Mice decided that the cause of their defeats was lack of strong leadership. They therefore chose as leaders Mice that were most renowned for their family descent, strength and counsel, as well as those most noted for their courage in battle. The rest of the Mice were formed into troops, regiments and battalions. When all this was done and the army disciplined, the Mice once more challenged the Weasels. The newly chosen generals bound their heads with straw in order to be more noticeable to their troops. Scarcely had the battle begun, when the Weasels again overwhelmed the Mice, who ran off as fast as they could into their holes. The generals, because of the straw ornaments around their heads, were unable to get in. They were captured and eaten by the Weasels.

 

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