The Country Mouse and the City Mouse

Once upon a time there was a city mouse that, having tired of the hustle and bustle of his neighborhood, took a trip to the country. Once there, he met a country mouse.

They spent the day together and became friends. The country mouse took his new friend into the lush meadows and vegetable gardens. The city mouse sampled all of the vegetables and found them to be very good. Never having seen the beauties of the country, the city mouse was thrilled. But the country mouse's plain food wasn't nearly as fine as his own usual meals of fine cheeses and hams found in the home where he lived.

To thank his friend for the lovely outing, he invited the country mouse to visit him in 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 delicious goodies — he stood speechless.

After he got over his surprise, he said, “I've never seen anything like it! Are all those wonderful things for eating?”

“Of course!” came the reply. “You're my guest. Dig in!”

So, the pair began to feast. The country mouse tried not to stuff himself, taking small samples of everything, as he wanted to taste each item before finding his tummy full.

“You're the luckiest mouse I've ever met!” said the country mouse. The city 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 was the ungainly foot of the lady of the house. Luckily, the lady went away, and the two mice returned to enjoy their feast.

“It's all right! Come on!” reassured the town mouse. “Don't worry, she's gone. Now let's have some 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 couldn't contain his enthusiasm: “Wow! It's scrumptious! By the king of mice, I've never eaten anything so remarkable in 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 get some bottles; and when he saw the spilt honey, he groaned, “Those rotten mice again! I thought I'd gotten rid of them. I'll send the cat!”

And trembling with fear, the mice hid. This time it was not only the sudden visit that had given them a fright; it was the man's terrifying words. The mice were so scared that they held their breath, making absolutely no sound. Then, since all remained quiet, they began to feel braver and gathered enough courage to venture out. “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, ghostly yellow eyes. But this was no ghost. It was a large cat. The country mouse and the town mouse tiptoed silently back to their hiding place. They wished their pounding hearts would stop beating, for fear the cat would hear 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 a nap. 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 crumbs in peace, than face a fancy feast, surrounded by danger.”

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