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Let’s get back to Martin Luther today.

The Frog and the Mouse
by Martin Luther

A mouse would have liked to cross the water, alas she could not do it. So she asked the frog for help. The frog was a jokester and the mouse’s enemy and so he said to the mouse: “Tie your foot to my foot and I will swim across the water pulling you with me.”

But as they were in the water, the frog took a dive and wanted to drown the mouse. And while the mouse is struggling and fighting, a harrier comes a-flying, snatches the mouse with the frog still tied to her leg and eats them both.

This fable shows that the world is filled by evil and betrayal. But in the end, betrayal beats her master.

Copyright for the fable’s translation: TaleTellerin

*****

The jump from past tense to present tense is actually in the original text and it’s very interesting. Obviously, we know this from novels and stuff as a technique to quicken the pace so the reader is pulled in and left breathless. It’s interesting to see it in such a short text. Not sure it’s quite working.

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illustration showing Luther as Devil's Bagpipe

The tradition of fables used for didactic purposes did not start with Lessing and Co. Martin Luther knew all about it as well.

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. (more…)

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