Catching the Cat by a Mouse

The mice had met in council;

They all looked haggard and worn,
For the state of afairs was too terrible

To be any longer borne
Not a family out of mourning —

There was crape on every hat.
They were desperate: something must be done,

And done at once, to the cat.

An elderly member rose and said,

“It might prove a possible thing
To set the trap which they set for us —

That one with the awful spring!”
The suggestion was applauded

Loudly, by one and all,
Till somebody squeaked,
”That trap would be about ninety-five times too small!”

Then a medical mouse suggested —

A little under his breath —
They should confiscate the very first mouse
That died a natural death;
And he’d undertake to poison the cat,

If they’d let him prepare that mouse.
“There’s not been a natural death,” they shrieked,
” Since the cat came into the house!”

The smallest mouse in the council
Arose with a solemn air,
And, by way of increasing his stature,

Rubbed up his whiskers and hair.
He waited until there was silence

All along the pantry-shelf,
And then he said with dignity,

“I will catch the cat myself!

When next I hear her coming,
Instead of running away,

I shall turn and face her boldly,
And pretend to be at play:

She will not see her danger,
Poor creature ! I suppose;

But as she stoops to catch me,
I shall catch her by the nose!”

The mice began to look hopeful.

Yes, even the old ones, when
A gray-haired sage said slowly,

” And what will you do with her then?”
The champion, disconcerted.

And replied with dignity, ” Well,
I think, if you’ll all excuse me,

‘T’would be wiser not to tell.

“We all have our inspirations — “

This produced a general smirk —
“But we are not all at liberty

To explain just how they’ll work.
I ask you, then, to trust me :

You need have no further fears —
Consider our enemy done for!”

The council gave three cheers.

“I do believe she’s coming!”

Said a small mouse, nervously.
“Run, if you like,” said the champion,

“But I shall wait and see!”
And sure enough she was coming;

The mice all scampered away
Except the noble champion

Who had made up his mind to stay.

The mice had faith — of course they had—

They were all of them noble souls,
But a sort of general feeling

Kept them safely in their holes
Until some time in the evening;

Then the boldest ventured out,
And saw, happily in the distance,

The cat prancing frantic about.
Rubbing its offended snout.

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