8. The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse



ale: a strong drink containing alcohol, similar to beer.

country: an area outside of the city; a rural area.

fare: food; refreshments

grand: large

heartily: cheerfully; happily; nicely

journey: a long trip

mice: the plural form for the word "mouse."

scamper: run quickly

town: city

turn up one’s nose: to refuse the offer of something; to impolitely say "no."


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 with me and I will show you how to live. When you have been in town a week you will wonder how you ever could 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 and 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 bacon and beans in peace than cake and ale in fear.

(*Note: the word "music" in this story is used as a metaphor for the frightening sounds made by the two dogs. The country mouse does not really hear music.)


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