Who will bell the cat | Belling the cat | Aesops fables retold
'Who will bell the cat?,' is a famous question giving rise to the common idiom 'to bell the cat' based on a popular fable 'belling the cat' often attributed to Aesop, and regarded as part of the collection of Aesop's fables but not recorded until afterwards and hence possibly outside the Aesops collections. The idiom means to attempt to perform or agree to perform some very difficult or impossible endeavor.
Here is the story of 'Belling the cat' retold with a (whole) lot of liberties.
Belling the cat
Mino Mouse was crying. "What is it, Mino?" enquired Mesi Mouse.
"It is Mito Mouse, my best friend. She was here just some time back, now she is no more. I am sure it was that great big bully, that Cruli Cat!"
"Oh dear," said Mesi. "Just the day before yesterday I lost my best friend too. This is getting too much. But whatever can we do about it, Mino?"
"I don't know," sobbed Mino. "But something must be done. Soon there will be none of us at all left here."
"Let us call a council of the mice," decided Mesi Mouse.
And so a council was called.
The mice in council
All the mice attended a big meeting. Moto Mouse the king of the mice called the meeting to order. "Mesi Mouse will speak first," he commanded.
"Friends, Romans and countrymen," began Mesi, who had a historical bent of mind and quite fancied herself as a scholar. But she was rudely interrupted by Mini Mouse, the smallest of them all, who was still in school and learning much, but who hadn't yet learnt not to interrupt her elders and betters.
"We ain't Romans," cried Mini.
"Don't make these foolish interruptions," scolded Mesi. "That is just a matter of detail. Let me get to the broad point."
"The point is that we are under attack, under seige. Our number is decreasing every day, there isn't a mouse here that has not had its best friend dined upon by Cruli Cat. That cat is a menace. We must put a stop to it. The question is how? Let us have some suggestions please"
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The mice in council - suggestions pour in
"Cruli is indeed strong. But there are so many of us. Let about twenty or thirty of us suddenly jump upon her and finish her off," suggested Mighty Mouse a big hulking mouse.
"No, that won't work," felt Moto Mouse. "She will only have a great feast. No, we can't really fight with Cruli face to face, however many of us."
"Don't be hasty, don't be hasty," cried Merci Mouse. "Let us appeal to her finer feelings and ask her to leave us alone."
"Ha ha," laughed Mesi. "Finer feelings indeed! That cat wouldn't know a finer feeling if she had one for dinner!"
"All this won't work," squealed Meano Mouse. "Let us drop something heavy on her. I am sure she will not come near us after that."
"Talk sense Meano, How can we lift up anything so heavy," reasoned Mesi Mouse.
Moto Mouse has an idea
Then Minister Mouse spoke up. He was the Chief Minister of the community and was paid to analyze issues and solve problems
"All this is getting us nowhere," he exclaimed. "Do be sensible friends. We all know that cat is much much stronger than us. There is no way we can do anything to her. Let us get to the root of the problem. The problem is that cat is so stealthy. She creeps up to us and is over us before we even guess a thing. if there is some way that we can be alerted a little early that she is coming, I am sure we will be quick enough to escape."
All the mice turned to Moto Mouse. He was after all the king. And he did not disappoint.
"I have it," he cried. "I really have it. Let us tie a bell to the neck of that cat. That way we will know whenever she comes our way, well before she reaches us. Our lives and families will all be saved! Lucky fellows, lucky fellows - you guys to have me as king. Oh My! What an idea, what an idea!" Moto was quite overwhelmed with his genius.
The mice were overjoyed. The problem seemed to have been solved. "Let the party begin," shouted Mesi - for there was no meeting without refreshments.
Who will bell the cat
Suddenly a little voice was heard. It was Mini Mouse again.
"But who will bell the cat?" cried Mini Mouse pouring cold water on the party mood.
All the mice looked at Moto Mouse.
"Details, details," shouted an irritated Moto. After all at his level he was responsible only for policy. But it was a weak cry and all the mice knew it.
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