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Aesop's Fables: The Mice in Council

Updated on April 2, 2013

The Fable

Once upon a time all the mice met together in council and discussed the best means of securing themselves against the attacks of the cat. After several suggestions had been debated, a mouse of some standing and experience got up and said, "I think I have hit upon a plan which will ensure our safety in the future, provided you approve and carry it out. It is that we should fasten a bell round the neck of our enemy the cat, which will by its tinkling warn us of her approach." This proposal was warmly applauded, and it had been already decided to adopt it when an old mouse got upon his feet and said, "I agree with you all that the plan before us is an admirable one. But may I ask who is going to bell the cat?"

The Analysis

It's certainly one matter to propose something, but it is another matter entirely to desire to carry it out yourself. All of the mice were quite willing to agree to the idea of belling the cat, but, presumably, few would risk the dangers of going about and actually putting the plan into action.

Another Example

A certain man, for publicity purposes, decides that he is going to cross Niagara falls on tightrope with only a wheelbarrow. Hundreds of people show up to witness this amazing feat of daring do. As he is preparing to cross, he sees that various members of the crowd are betting on his success or failure. Perceiving this, he decides to interact with them in the following manner: He said to the crowd, "Who believes I can cross?" A great many people spoke up and said "Yeah, you can make it!". "Are you sure?", the man replied. "Yeah, You'll make it across!", the crowd shouted back. One man in the crowd was particularly enthusiastic. The tightrope walker said to the enthusiastic crowd member, "Are you quite sure that I'll make it across?. "Sure," said the crowd member, "I'll bet my life on it". "Really?" Said the tightrope walker, "Prove it... get in the wheelbarrow."

The Discussion

f you have any other ideas to point out, please, please make mention of them in the comments section below. If there is something important that I've missed, I will add it to the article and cite your comment with thanks for providing the information (with your permission).

If there is another interpretation, please share it, I'm quite interested to hear it and, again, may use it to improve my article and cite your comment (with your permission).

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