The Giant and the Mouse

Once a mouse made up his mind to make the acquaintance of a giant.

“Are you crazy?” the other mice said. “Giants are gigantic and very dangerous. A giant won’t even eat you, he’ll just breath you in like a gnat.”

“Oh”, said the mouse, “but I so badly want to make the acquaintance of a giant. Maybe I can be of service to him and he will learn not to look down on little animals. Do you remember the story of the lion and the mouse? The lion had been caught in a net and the tiny little mouse gnawed a whole in the net and freed the great big lion!”

“These are old stories”, said the other mice. You just take care!”

But the mouse would not listen and started off on his journey.

He kept looking for a long time, but finally he found the house of a giant. The mouse climbed up the table, sat down beside the giant’s teacup and said in his small squeaky voice: “Hello giant, it’s me! What can I do for you?”

“What?” said the giant.

“It’s me, the little mouse. How can I help you?”

“Hey?” said the giant.

“I mean: how can I be of service to you, Sir? Can I do you a favour?”

“Oh yes”, roared the giant. “You can do me a favour. Stay away from my cheese, my bread, my corn and all my foodstuffs. The greatest favour would be if you left my house altogether, and that NOW!”

“No need to be so arrogant”, said the mouse. “Even small animals can do big deeds!”

“Like what?” roared the giant.

“If, for instance, someone would catch you, let’s say, in a big net – I could bite through the net and free you!”

This made the giant laugh out loud. “Hey, you might have to wait a very long time till someone catches me in a net. Who would that be, tell me? Who could do such a thing? Heck, I’m a giant! So, hush, little mouse, run away quick before I swallow you by mistake. I wouldn’t even notice it, believe me!”

But the mouse hid in the cellar, dug himself a cosy little mouse hole and started waiting for an opportunity to save the giant’s life. Meanwhile he nibbled away at the giant’s cheese and bread and corn, for he had to live, hadn’t he?

The giant cursed terribly when he found that the mouse had been at his foodstuffs, but what could he do? His hands were to big and clumsy to reach into the mouse hole. He cursed and shouted and threatened the mouse, but the mouse just sat in his hole and thought: “Just you wait. There will come a day when you need me to save your life! And then we will be friends, if you like it or not!”

When summer came, the giant got his giant hammock out of the closet, tied it to two giant oak trees and lay down for a little nap.

The mouse had slept long on this hot day and got up rather late in the morning. When he saw the giant in his hammock, he thought: “Now it has happened! Now he has been caught in the net. Now I can free him and make him my friend!”

At once he climbed up one of the oak trees and began to gnaw the rope that held the hammock. When he had bitten half through it, the rope broke, the giant fell to the ground and got himself a terrible bump on the head. So this time the giant didn’t become the mouse’s friend and he never learned to respect small animals.

The first moral of this story is: If you want to do a good deed, get your facts right and check the details. And the second moral: Life sometimes works like it does in fables – and sometimes it doesn’t.

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