The Ant and the Mouse

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    There was once an ant who, while sweeping her house one day, found three quattrini, and began to say: “What shall I buy? What shall I buy? Shall I buy meat? No, because meat has bones, and I should choke. Shall I buy fish? No, for fish has bones, and I should be scratched.” After she had mentioned many other things, she concluded to buy a red ribbon. She put it on, and sat in the window. An ox passed by and said: “How pretty you are! do you want me for your husband?” She said: “Sing, so that I may hear your voice.” The ox with great pride raised his voice. After the ant had heard it, she said: “No, no, you frighten me.”

    A dog passed by, and the same happened to him as to the ox. After many animals had passed, a little mouse went by and said: “How pretty you are! do you want me for your husband?” She said: “Let me hear you sing.” The mouse sang, and went, pi, pi, pi! His voice pleased the ant, and she took him for her husband.

    Sunday came, and while the ant was with her friends, the mouse said: “My dear little ant, I am going to see whether the meat that you have put on the fire is done.” He went, and when he smelled the odor of the meat, he wanted to take a little; he put in one paw and burned it; he put in the other, and burned that too; he stuck in his nose, and the smoke drew him into the pot, and the poor little mouse was all burned. The ant waited for him to eat. She waited two, she waited three hours, the mouse did not come. When she could wait no longer, she put the dinner on the table. But when she took out the meat, out came the mouse dead. When she saw him the ant began to weep, and all her friends; and the ant remained a widow, because he who is a mouse must be a glutton. If you don’t believe it, go to her house and you will see her.

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