How the Mice Belled the Cat Part 1 of 3
Long, long ago when heroes and heroines roamed the earth, there was a great King called Akbar who lived in a beautiful palace with his Queen Mariam. The palace was full of ministers and soldiers, maid-servants and cooks, guards and entertainers.
People rushed here and there on important business, down corridors, up staircases, and through lovely gardens with splashing fountains. All were busy, hurrying to satisfy the least desire of their beloved King and Queen.
This story is not about brave King Akbar, or intelligent Queen Mariam, or any of their ministers or soldiers or servants.
No, because living in that palace along with all these people, was a wonderful assortment of creatures: song birds in golden cages, peacocks strutting proudly beside pools of cool water, elephants in their pens, and horses stamping their feet ready to ride off to battle.
This story is not about any of these impressive creatures.
No, because also living in that palace, in the hollows and in the cracks and crevices of the walls of that magnificent dwelling, lived a band of mice. And this story is about those little mice, and how they saved themselves from great danger.
Come with me, Children! Let us find out what these tiny creatures were up to.
From their cosy holes and tunnels, the mice of the Palace of King Akbar and good Queen Mariam, ran to and fro finding scraps of food, crumbs of bread, and the tasty leftovers. They carried them back to their nest for their daily feast. They lived happily and ate well, for even the crumbs of a King and Queen are worth eating!
This went on day after day, and year after year, until the King and Queen could stand it no longer. Finally Queen Mariam spoke to the Grand Vizier: “Get rid of these mice!” she cried.
The Grand Vizier spoke to the Chief Cook: “These mice have to go!” he ordered.
The Chief Cook told the Captain of the Guard: “Those mice are not nice, out they must go!” she roared.
And so on, and so on, and so on, until finally the palace blacksmith found a young stable boy and told him gruffly: “You, Boy! Get rid of all the palace mice, or it will be the worse for you.”
And the stable boy, who had no one left to order about, thought and thought, and finally he went to the market square. He searched high, and he searched low. He searched for hours, when all at once he found exactly what he was looking for.
There, under a fishmonger’s stall, he spied a sleek tabby cat with a crafty gleam in his eye.