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Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Thursday, April 27, 2017

the tale of the mouse that became many others

Supposedly this tale comes from the 14th-c Tales of Count Lucanor.
In a forest of the South once lived a very holy Muni (a holy man - curator), who by extraordinary austerities had gained almost unlimited powers over nature. He was also a kind-hearted man. One day he saw a crow carrying off a little mouse. He bade the crow give it up, and reared it with grains of rice till it had grown up to full mousehood. One day, as the mouse was playing near him, it saw a cat, and in terror ran up the Muni's leg to take shelter in his bosom. 'Poor mouse,' said the Muni, 'be thou a cat.' And so it was. Puss now inspired terror, but felt none; until one day a big dog came up. Puss put up her back in horror. 'Poor pussy,' said the Muni, 'be thou a dog.' And so it was. 'Who is afraid now?' thought the dog. But one day, having seen a tiger prowling about, he came to the Muni with his tail between his legs. 'Poor dog,' said the Muni, 'be thou a tiger.' And so it was. The tiger stayed with the Muni, who thought of him only as of a pet mouse. Seeing them together, people said, 'Ah! there is the saint and the tiger that was once a little mouse.' Upon this the tiger began to reflect within himself: 'As long as this Muni lives everybody will know from what a low condition I sprang. Therefore I must get rid of him.' But the Muni, seeing the tiger ready to spring, said, 'Wicked tiger, be thou a mouse.' And so it was. And the mouse was presently picked up by a bird, and never came down again.
--Porter, C. (1891). Variants of Browning's "Pietro of Albano.". Poet Lore, 3, 579.

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