15 March 2007

The tiger and the mice

There was a tiger (with a noisy stomach) who ate mice.

Oh, it was very easy to eat the mice, because they lived in a box, and the tiger just plucked out a mouse whenever it suited him, and ate. He always had, and that was the way of things.

One day, one of the mice got away and was not eaten. Not only that, but the mouse lived to have babies.

The mice in the box looked at the mouse living on the outside, not eaten.

The mice in the box listened to the sounds of the tiger's stomach, and said it was music he played for them. How nice of him! they said. Its stirring notes put the mice in the box into all kinds of moods, and led many of them to a state of righteous anger at the unheard-of audacity of the mouse who got away. How dare she? She'd been born to listen to the tiger. She'd been born to be tiger food — and her babies, to be food of his babies. That is the way it always was.

And some mice watched the mouse on the outside, who thought more of the stomachs of her babies than the stomach of the tiger — and were quiet.

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