School Reading by Grades: Third Year
Once upon a time a Town Mouse went to visit his cousin in the country. The country cousin was a rough fellow, and his manners were not very fine. But he was glad to see his town friend, and did all that he could to make things pleasant. Beans and corn and dry roots were all that he could offer for dinner, but they were offered very freely. The Town Mouse rather turned up his nose at this country fare. He said, "Cousin, I wonder how you can put with with such food as this every day." The Country mouse said "I don't know of anybody that has any better." "Perhaps not," said his cousin; "but if you will go home with me, I will show you how to live. When you have been in town a week you will wonder how any one can bear to stay in the country." No sooner said than done. The two mice set off for town, and came to the house of the Town Mouse late at night. The Town Mouse was very polite. After they had rested a little while, he took his friend into the great dining room. He said, "We will have something to eat after our long walk." On the table they found what had been left of a fine supper. Soon they were busy eating cakes and all that was nice. "This is what I call living," said the Town Mouse. Just then a noise was heard at the door. "What is that?" said the Country Mouse. "Oh, it's only the dogs barking," said his cousin. "Do they keep dogs in this house?" "Yes and you must be careful to keep out of their way." The next minute the door flew open, and two big dogs came running in.The Mice jumped off the table and ran into a hole in the floor. But they were none too quick. "Oh, I am so frightened!" said the country mouse, and he trembeled like a leaf. "That is nothing," said his cousin. "The dogs cannot follow us." Then they went into the kitchen. But while they were looking around and tasting first of this thing and then of that, what did they see in a dark corner? They saw two bright eyes watching them, and they knew that the house cat was there. "Run for your life!" Cried the town mouse. In another moment the cat would have had them. The country mouse felt her claws touch his tail as he ran under the door. "That was a narrow escape!" said the Town Mouse. But the country mouse did not stop to talk. "Good-by, cousin," he said. "What, are you going so soon?" "Yes, I must go home. A grain of corn in safety is better than fine cake in fear."
American Book Company