Aesop's Fables (Joseph Jacobs)
Jacobs 7. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (Perry
Now you must know that a Town Mouse once upon a time went on a visit
to his cousin in the country. He was rough and ready, this cousin, but
he loved his town friend and made him heartily welcome. Beans and bacon,
cheese and bread, were all he had to offer, but he offered them freely.
The Town Mouse rather turned up his long nose at this country fare, and
said: "I cannot understand, Cousin, how you can put up with such
poor food as this, but of course you cannot expect anything better in
the country; come you with me and I will show you how to live. When you
have been in town a week you will wonder how you could ever have stood
a country life." No sooner said than done: the two mice set off for
the town and arrived at the Town Mouse's residence late at night. "You
will want some refreshment after our long journey," said the polite
Town Mouse, and took his friend into the grand dining-room. There they
found the remains of a fine feast, and soon the two mice were eating up
jellies and cakes and all that was nice. Suddenly they heard growling
and barking. "What is that?" said the Country Mouse. "It
is only the dogs of the house," answered the other. "Only!"
said the Country Mouse. "I do not like that music at my dinner."
Just at that moment the door flew open, in came two huge mastiffs, and
the two mice had to scamper down and run off. "Good-bye, Cousin,"
said the Country Mouse, "What! going so soon?" said the other.
"Yes," he replied;
"Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear."
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.