The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage

Once upon a time there were three friends who happened to live together. A mouse, a bird, and a sausage. And if you think this tale is already starting to sound a tad too folksy, I should warn you that it was written by those ever jolly brothers, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.

In any case, as the rundown goes, this peculiar peaceful trio shared in the daily tasks to keep their household running: the bird would fly into the forest and collect the wood; the mouse would carry the water, build the fire and set the table; and the sausage would do the cooking.

But then one day, the bird bumped into a bird who called him a fool for working so hard while his roommates barely lifted themselves from their comfy chairs. The other bird pointed out that after bringing in the water and making the fire, the mouse was free until dinnertime. And the sausage had solely to watch the pot simmer and then in the final moment before they ate, jump into the stew to grease and salt it.

The fowl surely cried, foul, because the next day, he told his pals “he had been their servant long enough.” He insisted on switching around their responsibilities. Although the mouse and the sausage were a bit peeved, they agreed to the new arrangement: the sausage would get the wood, the bird would collect the water, and the mouse would cook.

The sausage went slogging through the trees, and after he had been gone much too long, the mouse and the bird started to get worried. And the bird went to find her. No sooner had he flown a short distance than he spotted the sausage in a dog’s mouth. He tried to convince the dog to hand over his friend. But the dog refused with some rather vague excuse that the sausage was getting what she deserved. Grieving, the bird fetched the wood once more and told the mouse what had happened. They decided to carry on. The bird then set the table and the mouse prepared the vegetables. And like her predecessor the mouse jumped into the pot, only to end up being scalded to death. Meanwhile the bird, who was waiting to eat, couldn’t find the mouse and became so distressed that he carelessly tossed the twigs. The wood caught on fire and set the house ablaze. He rushed to get some water and fell into the well and drowned.

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Source: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Von dem Mäuschen, Vögelchen und der Bratwurst, Kinder-und Hausmärchen (Grimms’ Fairy Tales), no. 23, 1812.


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