CAT AND MOUSE IN PARTNERSHIP
A certain cat had made the acquaintance of a mouse, and had said so
much to her about the great love and friendship she felt for her, that
at length the mouse agreed that they should live and keep house
together. 'But we must make a provision for winter, or else we shall
suffer from hunger,' said the cat; 'and you, little mouse, cannot
venture everywhere, or you will be caught in a trap some day.' The
good advice was followed, and a pot of fat was bought, but they did
not know where to put it. At length, after much consideration, the cat
said: 'I know no place where it will be better stored up than in the
church, for no one dares take anything away from there. We will set it
beneath the altar, and not touch it until we are really in need of
it.' So the pot was placed in safety, but it was not long before the
cat had a great yearning for it, and said to the mouse: 'I want to
tell you something, little mouse; my cousin has brought a little son
into the world, and has asked me to be godmother; he is white with
brown spots, and I am to hold him over the font at the christening.
Let me go out today, and you look after the house by yourself.' 'Yes,
yes,' answered the mouse, 'by all means go, and if you get anything
very good to eat, think of me. I should like a drop of sweet red
christening wine myself.' All this, however, was untrue; the cat had
no cousin, and had not been asked to be godmother. She went straight
to the church, stole to the pot of fat, began to lick at it, and
licked the top of the fat off. Then she took a walk upon the roofs of
the town, looked out for opportunities, and then stretched herself in
the sun, and licked her lips whenever she thought of the pot of fat,
and not until it was evening did she return home. 'Well, here you are
again,' said the mouse, 'no doubt you have had a merry day.' 'All went
off well,' answered the cat. 'What name did they give the child?' 'Top
off!' said the cat quite coolly. 'Top off!' cried the mouse, 'that is
a very odd and uncommon name, is it a usual one in your family?' 'What
does that matter,' said the cat, 'it is no worse than Crumb-stealer,
as your godchildren are called.'
Before long the cat was seized by another fit of yearning. She said to
the mouse: 'You must do me a favour, and once more manage the house
for a day alone. I am again asked to be godmother, and, as the child
has a white ring round its neck, I cannot refuse.' The good mouse
consented, but the cat crept behind the town walls to the church, and
devoured half the pot of fat. 'Nothing ever seems so good as what one
keeps to oneself,' said she, and was quite satisfied with her day's
work. When she went home the mouse inquired: 'And what was the child
christened?' 'Half-done,' answered the cat. 'Half-done! What are you
saying? I never heard the name in my life, I'll wager anything it is
not in the calendar!'
The cat's mouth soon began to water for some more licking. 'All good
things go in threes,' said she, 'I am asked to stand godmother again.
The child is quite black, only it has white paws, but with that
exception, it has not a single white hair on its whole body; this only
happens once every few years, you will let me go, won't you?' 'Top-
off! Half-done!' answered the mouse, 'they are such odd names, they
make me very thoughtful.' 'You sit at home,' said the cat, 'in your
dark-grey fur coat and long tail, and are filled with fancies, that's
because you do not go out in the daytime.' During the cat's absence
the mouse cleaned the house, and put it in order, but the greedy cat
entirely emptied the pot of fat. 'When everything is eaten up one has
some peace,' said she to herself, and well filled and fat she did not
return home till night. The mouse at once asked what name had been
given to the third child. 'It will not please you more than the
others,' said the cat. 'He is called All-gone.' 'All-gone,' cried the
mouse 'that is the most suspicious name of all! I have never seen it
in print. All-gone; what can that mean?' and she shook her head,
curled herself up, and lay down to sleep.
From this time forth no one invited the cat to be godmother, but when
the winter had come and there was no longer anything to be found
outside, the mouse thought of their provision, and said: 'Come, cat,
we will go to our pot of fat which we have stored up for ourselves--we
shall enjoy that.' 'Yes,' answered the cat, 'you will enjoy it as much
as you would enjoy sticking that dainty tongue of yours out of the
window.' They set out on their way, but when they arrived, the pot of
fat certainly was still in its place, but it was empty. 'Alas!' said
the mouse, 'now I see what has happened, now it comes to light! You a
true friend! You have devoured all when you were standing godmother.
First top off, then half-done, then--' 'Will you hold your tongue,'
cried the cat, 'one word more, and I will eat you too.' 'All-gone' was
already on the poor mouse's lips; scarcely had she spoken it before
the cat sprang on her, seized her, and swallowed her down. Verily,
that is the way of the world.
From "Fairy Tales" by Jakob Grimm (1785 -1863) and Wilhelm
Grimm (1786-1859) -- translated from "Kinder und Hausmarchen"
by Edgar Taylor and Marian Edwardes.