|Country Mouse and Town Mouse|
|Once upon a time . . .
a town mouse, on a trip to the country, met a
country mouse. They spent the day together and became friends. The country
mouse took his new friend into the meadows and vegetable gardens, making him
sample all the good things of the land. Never having seen the beauties of the
countryside, the town mouse was thrilled, though the country mouse's plain
food wasn't nearly as fine as his own usual meals. To thank his friend for the
lovely outing, he invited the country mouse to visit him in the town. And when
the country mouse saw the pantry at his friend's house, full of hams, cheese,
oil, flour, honey, jam and stacks of other goodies, he stood speechless with
"I've never seen anything like it! Are all those wonderful things for
"Of course!" came the reply. "You're my guest, so tuck in!" They began to
feast, while the country mouse tried not to stuff himself. He wanted to taste
everything before finding his tummy full.
"You're the luckiest mouse I've ever met!" said the country mouse to his
town brother. The town mouse was listening with delight to his friend's
praise, when suddenly, the sound of heavy footsteps interrupted their feast.
"Run for it!" whispered the town mouse to his friend. They were just in
time: for within an inch of them stood the lady of the house's large foot.
Luckily, the lady went away and the two mice returned to enjoy their meal, so
"It's all right! Come on!" said the town mouse."Don't worry. She's gone.
Now for the honey! It's delicious! Have you ever tasted it?"
"Yes, once, a long time ago,"the country mouse lied, trying to sound
casual. But when he tasted it, he exclaimed: "Scrumptious! By the King of
Mice! I've never eaten anything so lovely in all my life!"
Suddenly there came the sound of footsteps, this time thumping heavily. The
two mice fled. The man of the house had come to fetch some bottles, and when he saw the spilt honey, he groaned: "Those ghastly mice again! I thought I've got
rid of them. I'll send the cat!" And trembling with terror, the mice hid away.
This time it was not only the sudden visit that had given them a fright, it
was the man's awful words. The mice were so scared, they held their breath,
making no sound. Then, since all remained quiet, they began to feel braver,
and picked up enough courage to leave their hidey-hole.
"We can come out now! There's nobody here!" the town mouse whispered.
Suddenly, the pantry door creaked, and the two luckless mice froze in fear.
Out of the dim light glowed a pair of horrid yellow eyes. A large cat was
staring round the room in search of its prey. The country mouse and the town
mouse tiptoed silently back to their hidey-hole. They wished their pounding
hearts would stop beating, for fear of the cat hearing the noise they made.
But, as luck would have it, the cat discovered a juicy sausage. Forgetting why
his master had sent him into the pantry, he stopped to eat it. No longer
hungry, after that, the cat decided that he might as well leave mouse-hunting
for another day. Off he padded, to have forty winks elsewhere. Now, as soon as
the country mouse realized that all danger was past, he did not lose a second.
He hastily shook hands with his friend, saying: "Thanks so much for everything!
But I must rush off now! I can't stand all these shocks! I'd far rather sit
down to a meal of a few acorns in peace, in the country, than face a great
spread of delicious food, surrounded by dangers on all sides and with my heart
in my mouth!"