The Conference of the Mice
Once upon a time . . . there was a large tabby cat which, from the minute
she arrived at the farm, spread terror among the mice that lived in the
cellar. Nobody dared go outside for fear of falling into the clutches of
The fast-shrinking mouse colony decided to hold a conference to seek a way
of stopping themselves from becoming extinct. Taking advantage of the cat's
absence one day, mice of all ages streamed into the conference room. And
certain that they could solve the matter, each one put forward a suggestion,
but none of the ideas were really practical.
"Let's build an outsize trap," one mouse suggested. When this
turned down, another said: "What about poisoning her?" But nobody
knew of a
poison that would kill cats. One young widow, whose husband had fallen prey
the ferocious cat, angrily proposed: "Let's cut her claws and teeth,
can do no more harm." But the conference did not approve of the widow's
At last, one of the mice, wiser than the rest, scrambled to the top of the
lantern that shone over the meeting. Waving a bell, he called for silence:
"We'll tie this bell to the cat's tail, so we'll always know where
We'll have time to escape, and the slow and weaker mice will hear her coming
and be able to hide!"
A round of hearty applause met the wise mouse's words, and everyone
congratulated him on his original idea.
"...We'll tie it so tightly that it will never come off!"
". . . She'll never be able to sneak quietly up on us again! Why, the
day, she suddenly loomed up right in front of me! Just imagine..."
However, the wise mouse rang the bell again for silence "We must decide
is going to tie the bell on the cat's tail," he said. There was not
a sound in
the room except for a faint murmur: "I can't, because . . "
"Not me!" "I'd do it willingly,but . . ." "Neither
can I . . ." "Not me!"
Nobody was brave enough to come forward to put the plan into action, and
conference of the mice ended without any decision being made. It's often
easy to have bright ideas, but putting them into practice is a more difficult