On to tale #2 of my Fairy Tale Tuesdays feature. I’m sticking with the Brothers Grimm, with Cat and Mouse in Partnership. This is a new tale to me, and seems more of a fable than fairy tale I guess the talking Cat and Mouse make it enough of a fairy tale. Here is my summary:
Once upon a time, there was a Cat and a Mouse. The Cat professed great love and friendship felt for the Mouse and convinced her that they should keep house together. The Cat suggested they prepare for the winter, and so they buy a pot of fat. The Cat then convinces the Mouse that it would be best to store this pot of fat at the church for safekeeping.
A little while later, the Cat comes to the Mouse and begs leave to go to the christening of her cousin’s new son. Mouse agrees that Cat should attend, and off the latter goes. It was all a ruse, and the Cat goes to the church and licks the top of the fat off then spends the day lounging around in the sun. When she returns, the Mouse asks what they named the new son.
“Top off,” the Cat replies. The Mouse thinks this is very odd, but the Cat brushes it off. Soon, the Cat is once again seized by longing, and tells the Mouse that she must go to the church, as she has been named the godmother of another new relation. Off the Cat goes, only to consume half of the fat. When she returns, the Mouse inquires again what they named this child.
“Half-done,” the Cat answers. The mouse is surprised and thinks this a very odd and unusual name, a bit suspicious. Not long passes before the Cat once again excuses herself to another christening. While gone, the Cat devours the rest of the fat and comes home satisfied.
“All-gone” the Cat proclaims, as the name of the final child. The mouse shakes her head over these strange and suspicious names. Nothing more comes of it, and winter approaches. Once there was nothing to be found outside, the Mouse suggests they collect their pot of fat.
The two hurry to the church, where the mouse discovers the empty pot of fat. The mouse finally sees the deception, and in the middle of the rant the Cat proclaims that if Mouse says another word, she would eat her too. Poor mouse already has the words on her lips, and the Cat gobbles her up whole.
“And that is the way of the world.”
Thinking of the audience to the Grimm tales, I take from this tale: Peasant, you will be misled, used, and abused. Resistance is futile and life is bleak. Either that, or Trust No One.
It’s kind of a depressing tale, actually, since the Cat gets no come-uppance and the mouse is dead as a doornail.