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The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage

  • Once upon a time, a mouse, a bird, and a sausage, entered into partnership and
  • set up house together. For a long time all went well; they lived in great
  • comfort, and prospered so far as to be able to add considerably to their
  • stores. The bird's duty was to fly daily into the wood and bring in fuel; the
  • mouse fetched the water, and the sausage saw to the cooking.
  • When people are too well off they always begin to long for something new. And
  • so it came to pass, that the bird, while out one day, met a fellow bird, to
  • whom he boastfully expatiated on the excellence of his household arrangements.
  • But the other bird sneered at him for being a poor simpleton, who did all the
  • hard work, while the other two stayed at home and had a good time of it. For,
  • when the mouse had made the fire and fetched in the water, she could retire
  • into her little room and rest until it was time to set the table. The sausage
  • had only to watch the pot to see that the food was properly cooked, and when
  • it was near dinner-time, he just threw himself into the broth, or rolled in
  • and out among the vegetables three or four times, and there they were,
  • buttered, and salted, and ready to be served. Then, when the bird came home
  • and had laid aside his burden, they sat down to table, and when they had
  • finished their meal, they could sleep their fill till the following morning:
  • and that was really a very delightful life.
  • Influenced by those remarks, the bird next morning refused to bring in the
  • wood, telling the others that he had been their servant long enough, and had
  • been a fool into the bargain, and that it was now time to make a change, and
  • to try some other way of arranging the work. Beg and pray as the mouse and the
  • sausage might, it was of no use; the bird remained master of the situation,
  • and the venture had to be made. They therefore drew lots, and it fell to the
  • sausage to bring in the wood, to the mouse to cook, and to the bird to fetch
  • the water.
  • And now what happened? The sausage started in search of wood, the bird made
  • the fire, and the mouse put on the pot, and then these two waited till the
  • sausage returned with the fuel for the following day. But the sausage remained
  • so long away, that they became uneasy, and the bird flew out to meet him. He
  • had not flown far, however, when he came across a dog who, having met the
  • sausage, had regarded him as his legitimate booty, and so seized and swallowed
  • him. The bird complained to the dog of this bare-faced robbery, but nothing he
  • said was of any avail, for the dog answered that he found false credentials on
  • the sausage, and that was the reason his life had been forfeited.
  • He picked up the wood, and flew sadly home, and told the mouse all he had seen
  • and heard. They were both very unhappy, but agreed to make the best of things
  • and to remain with one another.
  • So now the bird set the table, and the mouse looked after the food and,
  • wishing to prepare it in the same way as the sausage, by rolling in and out
  • among the vegetables to salt and butter them, she jumped into the pot; but she
  • stopped short long before she reached the bottom, having already parted not
  • only with her skin and hair, but also with life.
  • Presently the bird came in and wanted to serve up the dinner, but he could
  • nowhere see the cook. In his alarm and flurry, he threw the wood here and
  • there about the floor, called and searched, but no cook was to be found. Then
  • some of the wood that had been carelessly thrown down, caught fire and began
  • to blaze. The bird hastened to fetch some water, but his pail fell into the
  • well, and he after it, and as he was unable to recover himself, he was
  • drowned.