Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Cat and Mouse in Partnership

  • A certain cat had made the acquaintance of a mouse, and had said so much to
  • her about the great love and friendship she felt for her, that at length the
  • mouse agreed that they should live and keep house together. "But we must make
  • a provision for winter, or else we shall suffer from hunger," said the cat,
  • "and you, little mouse, cannot venture everywhere, or you will be caught in a
  • trap some day." The good advice was followed, and a pot of fat was bought, but
  • they did not know where to put it. At length, after much consideration, the
  • cat said, "I know no place where it will be better stored up than in the
  • church, for no one dares take anything away from there. We will set it beneath
  • the altar, and not touch it until we are really in need of it." So the pot was
  • placed in safety, but it was not long before the cat had a great yearning for
  • it, and said to the mouse, "I want to tell you something, little mouse; my
  • cousin has brought a little son into the world, and has asked me to be
  • godmother; he is white with brown spots, and I am to hold him over the font at
  • the christening. Let me go out to-day, and you look after the house by
  • yourself." "Yes, yes," answered the mouse, "by all means go, and if you get
  • anything very good, think of me, I should like a drop of sweet red christening
  • wine too." All this, however, was untrue; the cat had no cousin, and had not
  • been asked to be godmother. She went straight to the church, stole to the pot
  • of fat, began to lick at it, and licked the top of the fat off. Then she took
  • a walk upon the roofs of the town, looked out for opportunities, and then
  • stretched herself in the sun, and licked her lips whenever she thought of the
  • pot of fat, and not until it was evening did she return home. "Well, here you
  • are again," said the mouse, "no doubt you have had a merry day." "All went off
  • well," answered the cat. "What name did they give the child?" "Top off!" said
  • the cat quite coolly. "Top off!" cried the mouse, "that is a very odd and
  • uncommon name, is it a usual one in your family?" "What does it signify," said
  • the cat, "it is no worse than Crumb-stealer, as your god-children are called."
  • Before long the cat was seized by another fit of longing. She said to the
  • mouse, "You must do me a favour, and once more manage the house for a day
  • alone. I am again asked to be godmother, and, as the child has a white ring
  • round its neck, I cannot refuse." The good mouse consented, but the cat crept
  • behind the town walls to the church, and devoured half the pot of fat.
  • "Nothing ever seems so good as what one keeps to oneself," said she, and was
  • quite satisfied with her day's work. When she went home the mouse inquired,
  • "And what was this child christened?" "Half-done," answered the cat. "Half-
  • done! What are you saying? I never heard the name in my life, I'll wager
  • anything it is not in the calendar!"
  • The cat's mouth soon began to water for some more licking. "All good things go
  • in threes," said she, "I am asked to stand godmother again. The child is quite
  • black, only it has white paws, but with that exception, it has not a single
  • white hair on its whole body; this only happens once every few years, you will
  • let me go, won't you?" "Top-off! Half-done!" answered the mouse, "they are
  • such odd names, they make me very thoughtful." "You sit at home," said the
  • cat, "in your dark-grey fur coat and long tail, and are filled with fancies,
  • that's because you do not go out in the daytime." During the cat's absence the
  • mouse cleaned the house, and put it in order but the greedy cat entirely
  • emptied the pot of fat. "When everything is eaten up one has some peace," said
  • she to herself, and well filled and fat she did not return home till night.
  • The mouse at once asked what name had been given to the third child. "It will
  • not please you more than the others," said the cat. "He is called All-gone."
  • "All-gone," cried the mouse, "that is the most suspicious name of all! I have
  • never seen it in print. All-gone; what can that mean?" and she shook her head,
  • curled herself up, and lay down to sleep.
  • From this time forth no one invited the cat to be god-mother, but when the
  • winter had come and there was no longer anything to be found outside, the
  • mouse thought of their provision, and said, "Come cat, we will go to our pot
  • of fat which we have stored up for ourselves—we shall enjoy that." "Yes,"
  • answered the cat, "you will enjoy it as much as you would enjoy sticking that
  • dainty tongue of yours out of the window." They set out on their way, but when
  • they arrived, the pot of fat certainly was still in its place, but it was
  • empty. "Alas!" said the mouse, "now I see what has happened, now it comes to
  • light! You are a true friend! You have devoured all when you were standing
  • godmother. First top off, then half done, then—." "Will you hold your tongue,"
  • cried the cat, "one word more and I will eat you too." "All gone" was already
  • on the poor mouse's lips; scarcely had she spoken it before the cat sprang on
  • her, seized her, and swallowed her down. Verily, that is the way of the world.