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Horace Elisha Scudder

The County Mouse and the Town Mouse

A Country Mouse had a friend who lived in a house in town. Now the Town Mouse was invited by the Country Mouse to take dinner with him, and out he went and sat down to a meal of barley and wheat. "Do you know, my friend," said he, "that you live a mere antís life out here? Now I have abundance at home, come, and enjoy all the good things." So off the two set for town, and there the Town Mouse showed the other his beans and meal, his dates, too, his cheese, and fruit, and honey. And as the Country Mouse ate, drank, and was merry, he praised his friend and bewailed his own poor lot. But while they were urging each other to eat heartily, a man suddenly opened the door, and frightened by the noise they crept into the cracks. Then when they wanted to taste again of some dried figs, in came another person to get something that was in the room, and when they caught sight of him they ran and hid in a hole. At that, the Country Mouse forgot his hunger, and fetching a sigh, said to the other: "Please yourself, my good friend, eating all you want, and having your fill of good things with jollity—and danger and a constant panic; as for me, poor wretch, who have only barley and wheat, I will live on, without fear of any one overlooking me."

The fable teaches that it is better worth while to live plainly and undisturbed, than to have a surfeit and be always in terror.