THE COCK, THE CAT, AND THE MOUSE
Once upon a time . . . a little mouse decided to go and see the world.
Packing some food for the journey, he carefully locked his door and set off for the unknown. And what a wonderful world he saw! Tall trees, rolling countryside, flowers and butterflies he had never set eyes on before. On he hiked till, tired out, he came to a peasant's cottage. After eating some of his packed lunch, he thought he would inspect what, to him, was a peculiar sort of building. He entered the farmyard and his eyes grew round as saucers: there in front of him were two strange animals he had never seen before. One was large and handsome, with four legs, covered all over with soft fur, and sporting splendid white whiskers that gave it a solemn respectable air. It was dozing against the wall. The other, a two-legged creature, had red, yellow and green feathers and a fierce, bad-tempered look. A pair of cruel eyes in a red-crested head glared at the little mouse.
"How do you do, sir! How do you do..." began the mouse's greeting, as he
felt foollsh at not knowing the stranger's name. But the feathered creature simply puffed out its chest, screeched a loud "Cocka-doodle-doo!" and strutted towards the mouse, now paralyzed with fear. The little mouse saw the big yellow beak hovering over him. "I must run!" he squeaked, turning tail and fleeing as fast as his legs would carry him. He spied a hole in the wall and dived into it. Inside, three faces stared at him in amazement.
"Where did you appear from?" they asked. "I've come . . ." gasped the little mouse breathlessly, ". . . from far
away! Where am I now?"
"This is our home. We're field mice. What happened?" And the little mouse
told them about the animals he had met in the farmyard: one handsome and harmless, the other brightly coloured and ferocious. The three field mice laughed. "Calm down," they said. "Have a cup of coffee. Don't you realize the danger you were in? The creature that frightened you is only a cock, but the nice harmless one is our deadliest enemy, the cat! If he'd seen you, you wouldn't be here to tell the tale. As you see, you can't always judge by appearances!"