Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
118. THE CAT, THE MOUSE AND THE OATH
Perry 615 (Odo 56)
Against people who do not keep their promises.
There was once a mouse who had fallen into the foam of some fermenting
wine or ale. A cat was passing by and heard the mouse squeaking because
he couldn't get out. The cat said, 'Why are you making such a ruckus?'
The mouse answered, 'Because I cannot get out of here.' The cat said,
'What will you give me if I get you out of there?' The mouse said, 'Whatever
you want!' The cat said, 'If I set you free this time, will you come when
I call you?' The mouse replied, 'You have my solemn promise.' The cat
said, 'Swear an oath!' So the mouse swore an oath. The cat then rescued
the mouse and let him go. Then one day the cat was hungry. He went to
the mouse's hole and told him to come out. The mouse said, 'I refuse.'
The cat said, 'Didn't you swear to me that you would come when I called
you?' The mouse said, 'Brother, I was drunk when I swore that oath!'
Note: Like many of Odo's fables, this story has a monastic setting,
and the mouse addresses the cat as 'brother,' as if they were both monks;
for another one of Odo's monastic stories, see Fable
Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura
Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.