The Mice In Council

(The following poem is based on an AESOP’S FABLE by the same name.  I hope you enjoy it.  Tim)

The Mice In Council

Once upon a time, in a country far away,
There lived a group of mice who loved to romp and play;
And romp and play they did – for they were all alone,
Their enemy, the cat, was still to them unknown.

One day, however, things took a turn for the worse –
(It’s a good thing, too, or we wouldn’t have this verse…),
For the mice disappeared – one after the other,
Cousin Jody, Aunt Peg, and Sam’s older brother.

They had been eating and drinking and growing fat
Before the day they first saw that nasty old cat!
But when the cat arrived they had to change their ways –
Or they’d face the prospect of the end of their days!

So a council was called and all the mice were there,
They addressed the problem with the greatest of care.
One plan was put forth but it was soon voted down,
And plan after plan was rejected all around.

Then a young mouse stood and said, “I know what to do,
If you’ll listen to me I’ll be glad to tell you.”
To this they all replied that they gladly would hear
And with his paw he beckoned them all to draw near.

“The solution to the problem I’m here to tell,
We simply place upon his neck a tinkling bell.
With the bell on the cat, when he comes to draw near,
We’ll scamper to safety for the bell we will hear.”

Now this message the mice with one accord did cheer,
And they thought themselves shortly to be free from fear.
A wise old mouse stood up and he sought to be heard,
But the others wished to hear from him not one word.

After all he was old, and his prime was long past,
To the back of the room the wise old mouse was cast.
The mice were discussing the purchase of a bell,
They were proud of themselves, thinking they had done well.

The old mouse, all the while, tried to reason with them,
But they were too busy to be bothered with him!
They purchased a bell and then they purchased a chain,
But the wise old mouse knew that their plans were in vain.

They had a great feast their success to celebrate,
For a chance to speak the wise old mouse had to wait.
As the feast broke up the wise old mouse stood to speak,
Though wise, he was withered, his voice “trembly” and meek.

He said, “Now, friends, your plan may seem perfect to you,
But I fear that you haven’t thought it fully through.
While it’s true that we’d hear a cat wearing a bell,
And that part of the plan would work out very well,

From the fear of the cat we would surely be freed –
But tell me:  who is it that will perform this deed?
The planning is one thing, it’s important enough,
But “belling” a cat is gonna be mighty tough…”

The rashness of youth sometimes refuses to see
What the wisdom of years already knows to be…
So, make sure when you plan, and then propose to do,
That the task you have set is not too great for you.

H. L. Gradowith

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