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Aesop's Tales/The Town Mouse and The Shire Mouse

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The Town Mouse and The Shire Mouse Edit

A long time ago a Shire Mouse who had a friend in town welcomed him, for old time sake, to call upon him in "The Shires" to share in his folkly life. The welcome being willingly taken up, the Shire Mouse, though earthy, awkward, and spareful, opened up his heart and his foodkeep, as a token of his guestliness, to his old friend. There was not a carefully hoarded foodbit that he did not bring out of his cupboard: bree, barley, beans, and slivers of cheese, hoping that a fullness in food would make up for what he feared was unfit to make fair guest blissy.

The Town Mouse stooped to take up a mouthful here and there, while the guestman sat gnawing on a haulm. After a while the well-to-do one uttered aloud; " Let me ask you, my old mate, how can you love the dullness of your rough and boring life? You are needier than a church mouse. Would you rather live here amongst the ants on this bleak outcrop or beside a brightly lit way filled with folk, and great houses with food for the taking? Take my word for it, here your life is ebbing away most wretchedly. One does not live forever. Life is short, but it is a time to blossom. So come with me and I swear that you will live off the fat of the Land."

Overwhelmed by his fair words and such smooth uptown ways, the Shire Mouse, in the end, says wholeheartedly that his friend is right; and they set off together on the long afaring to town. It was late in the evening when they slinked into town, and midnight before they reached the great house, where the Town Mouse lived. Here were soft-backed long seats of a deep red hue, carvings in ivory; and, shall we say, everything that betokened wealth, the best and the dearest. On the eating board were the leftovers of fulfilling dishes, which to get great care had been taken the day before in buying the best kind of food and the sweetest drinks from the topmost shops in town. It was now the turn of the Town Mouse to play the guestman; he seats his thorpy friend on godwebb, runs to and fro, with the areadiness of a thane looking after an atheling, to meet all the needs and wants of his out-of-town friend, and keenly puts before him dishes of oats, figs, honey, dates and thick bits of cheese, and eats a bit from every dish before he dares to put it before him.

The Shire Mouse, for his share, sets out to make himself at home and blesses the good-timing that had wrought such a shift in his life; when, in the midst of his great gladiness, as he is thinking slightfully of the bland food he has given up, without warning the door flies open, and a manifold of merrymakers, coming back from play, stream into the room. The startled friends leap from the table in unholy dread and hurry to hide themselves in any nook they can find. No sooner do they dare to creep out again barking dogs drive them back in still greater fear than before.

In time, when things seemed mellow, the Shire Mouse stole out from his hiding spot, and bidding his well-to-do friend goodbye, whispered in his ear, "Oh, dear friend, this smooth way of living may do for those who like it; but give me my field home where I can gladly eat my dull meal of husks and haulms, and live free from harry and harm.

~~ A sleepy, mellow, and bare life free from fear is better than one full of worldly riches lived in fear.

~~ A hard and dry end of bread eaten in Template:Frith:peace frith is better than a great meal eaten in fear.

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