Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)
455. THE MICE AND THE WEASELS
Perry 165 (Syntipas
War had broken out between the mice and the weasels. The mice were inferior
in strength and when they realized that their utter weakness and cowardice
put them at a disadvantage, they elected satraps and generals who could
be their leaders in war. The satraps wanted to be more remarkable and
conspicuous than the other mice, so they put horns on the tops of their
heads. Then the weasels attacked the mice once again and routed them completely.
The other mice were able to scamper quickly and easily into the mouse
holes which had been prepared for their concealment. The commanders, however,
despite being the first to reach the holes in the retreat, were unable
to get inside because of the horns on their heads. The weasels were thus
able to seize the mouse generals and consign them to death.
This fable shows that generals who offer encouragement to their soldiers
without seeking divine assistance for the coming battle can provoke a
Note: This must have been a popular fable, as the version in Phaedrus
4.6 remarks that the story was often 'painted in pubs.' For a similar
story about the hare who wanted stag's horns, 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.