Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)
Jacobs 67. Belling the Cat (Perry
Long ago, the mice had a general council to consider what measures they
could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat. Some said this, and
some said that; but at last a young mouse got up and said he had a proposal
to make, which he thought would meet the case. "You will all agree,"
said he, "that our chief danger consists in the sly and treacherous
manner in which the enemy approaches us. Now, if we could receive some
signal of her approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore,
to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon round
the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know when she was
about, and could easily retire while she was in the neighbourhood."
This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse got up and
said: "That is all very well, but who is to bell the Cat?" The
mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the old mouse said:
"It is easy to propose impossible remedies."
Fables of Aesop, by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by
Richard Heighway (1894). The page images come from Google
Books. The digitized text comes from Project
Gutenberg. You can purchase this inexpensive Dover edition, The
Fables of Aesop by Joseph Jacobs from amazon.com.