The Town Mouse and the Field Mouse
(by Martin Luther)
A town mouse was taking a walk when it met a field mouse. The latter was enjoying acorns, grains and nuts and whatever else she could find. But the town mouse said: “Why would you want to live in poverty like this! Come with me and I will secure enough delicious foods for both of us.”
The field mouse moved with her into a wonderfully pretty house in which the town mouse lived. And they went into pantries which were bursting with meat, bacon, sausages, bread, cheese and so much more. The town mouse said: “Now eat and enjoy! Such foods I have every day in abundance.”
But then the waiter came and rumbled with the key at the door. The mice started and ran off. The town mouse soon found her hole but the field mouse did not know where to go, she ran along the walls and believed her life over.
But as the waiter was gone again, the town mouse said: “Now the danger is over. Let’s enjoy ourselves.”
The field mouse replied: “That’s easy for you to say. You knew where to find your hole while I almost died of fright. I will tell you my opinion: You stay a town mouse and eat sausages and bacon but I will stay a poor, little field mouse and eat my acorns. You are not ever safe from the waiter, from the cat, from the oh so many mouse-traps and the whole house is your enemy. I am free of all that and safe in my poor field hole.”
Who has got wealth, has many worries.
Copyright for translation: TaleTellerin
Copyright for image: 16th century caricature showing Luther as the devil’s bagpipe
What’s interesting is how different Luther’s fables are. While this one is pretty strong in its morale, other ones are more cryptic and light.
More fascinating that this fable, though, is this caricature that I stumbled upon on wikicommons. Seriously. Luther as the devil’s bagpipe? That surely hints strongly at his perception by his contemporaries, or at least part of his contemporaries. And while the message in that time was horrible, I can’t help but admire the artist’s creativity. Wow.