Tea and Pumpkins

Heathenry Herbs Homeschooling

One evening, just as the great farm house was dark and all the people had gone to bed, four little mice scurried into the kitchen. The leader, a sleek brown mouse, explained to his brothers and sister that he had been stealing crumbs from the kitchen all week.

“Its so easy to slip inside without a care,” he said with pride. “I even scared the farmer’s wife last night as I ran past her feet when she came down for a glass of water.”

Two of the other mice shared a good laugh about that with their leader but the fourth, the smallest brother mouse, did not laugh. He was a timid fellow and always careful about where he went and what he did. His brothers and sister teased him as they peeked out from under the stove and scurried across the room.

“Come on, little one,” the leader called back to his youngest brother. “Too scared to grab a snack? You’ll miss out on all the best nibbles.”

Indeed his other brother and his sister were already feasting on crumbs from the evening’s apple pie and sourdough bread. There was even a scrap of honeyed ham found right there in the center of the kitchen floor!

Still the smallest mouse only peeked in, looking left and right and left. Just as he was deciding whether it was safe to join his siblings, a louse squeak rang out.

There, in the dark, the farmer’s wife had been waiting for the mouse that had scared her the night before. With her trusty carving knife, the very one that had sliced the honeyed ham and left a scrap in the floor, she attacked the mice.

Horrified but knowing there was nothing he could do to save his siblings, the smallest mouse retreated back under the stove and out of the great farm house. He had lost his brothers and sister who were blinded by their self-assurance but had saved his own tail from the carving knife because he had been wary.

Gáttir allar áðr gangi fram
um skoðask skyli,
um skyggnast skyli,
því at óvíst er at vita hvar óvinir
sitja á fleti fyrir.
Havamal 1

All door-ways,
before going forward,
should be looked to;
for difficult it is to know
where foes may sit
within a dwelling.
(Thorpe translation)

Three Blinde Mice,
Three Blinde Mice,
Dame Iulian,
Dame Iulian,
the Miller and his merry olde Wife,
she scrapte her tripe licke thou the knife.
~Thomas Ravenscroft, Deuteromelia or The Seconde part of Musicks melodie (1609)

Three blind mice.
Three blind mice.
See how they run.
See how they run.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a sight in your life,
As three blind mice?
~Modern nursery rhyme

Heathen Fables Three Blind Mice

Inspiration and Further Reading

Inspiration from this fable came partly from Aesop’s Fables, partly from the Three Blind Mice nursery rhyme, and partly from the Fables in Heathen Families.

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