<< Home Page | Oxford (Gibbs) Index

Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs (2002)

Perry 613 (Odo 54a)

There were once some mice who held a meeting about how to defend themselves from the cat. A certain wise mouse said, 'A bell should be tied around the neck of the cat so that we would be able to hear him wherever he goes and have advance warning of his attacks.' They all agreed with this proposal. A mouse then asked, 'Who will tie the bell around the cat's neck?' One mouse answered, 'Not me, that's for sure!' Another answered: 'Not me either! I wouldn't so much as go near that cat for anything in the world!'

Note: Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus (1449-1514) was nicknamed 'Bell-the-Cat' for an incident in 1482: the story goes that the nobles of Scotland had formed a conspiracy against Robert Cochrane, a favourite of James III and when the question was posed, 'Who will bell the cat?', Archibald Douglas shouted 'That will I!' He disposed of Cochrane and later participated in the rebellion that deposed James III in 1488.

Source: Aesop's Fables. A new translation by Laura Gibbs. Oxford University Press (World's Classics): Oxford, 2002.
NOTE: New cover, with new ISBN, published in 2008; contents of book unchanged.