The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
by Laure Claire Foucher
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 told of 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 dinnertime, 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.
The bird tells the others it is time to make a change.
Influenced by these 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 the
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
had found false credentials on the Sausage, and that was the reason his
life had been forfeited.
The Bird 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