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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.