从前，有一只老鼠、一只小鸟和一根香肠住在一个家里，它们和睦相处，生活充满了幸福和快乐。 他们分工合作，积累不断增加，变得十分富裕。 小鸟每天飞到森林里去衔柴回来；老鼠担水，生火，布置饭桌；香肠则负责做饭。
一个人生活太顺畅，就会开始变赖，会想着法子玩新花样。 有一天，小鸟遇到了另外一个朋友，它向朋友很自豪谈起自己生活的惬意现状。 那只鸟却嘲笑它是一个可怜的傻瓜，说它辛辛苦苦在外面干活，另两个伙伴待在家里干轻松的活：老鼠每天生火、担水之后就回到自己的房间里躺下休息，到了吃饭的时候才去摆好桌椅，铺上桌布。 香肠则坐在锅子旁，除了看食物烹煮的情况外，什么事都不做。 到了要吃饭的时候，只加一点油、盐就算了事，不到一分钟就干完了。 小鸟听了这些话，心里很不是滋味。 它飞回家，把柴担放在地上。 大家和平时一样一起坐在桌子边吃饭，进餐之后又都回房睡觉，一直睡到第二天早晨起来。
可是小鸟受了朋友的挑拨，第二天不想到森林里去了，还说自己一直在服待它们两个，做了很久的傻子，现在应该交换一下工作 ，家务事应该大家轮着来干。 尽管老鼠和香肠苦苦劝说，讲明它们这样分工最合理，这样才可能继续维持正常的生活。 但小鸟听不进去，坚持它的提议。 最后，它俩只好顺着它。 它们用抽签的方式决定了这样的分工：香肠去背柴，老鼠做饭，小鸟去担水。
香肠出发到森林里去了，小鸟生起火，老鼠架好锅子，只等香肠回家担来第二天用的柴枝。 但香肠去了很久都没有回来，它俩意识到它一定出事了。 小鸟马上飞出去沿着小路去找香肠，但它飞了不远就发现路上有一条狗，狗说它遇到了可怜的小香肠，把它当作可以捕食的猎物抓起来吃掉了。 小鸟指责狗公开抢劫，行凶杀人。 但一切话都已毫无用处，因为狗说它发现香肠从事的工作与它的身份不符合，断定它是伪装的间谍，这样才把它杀死的。 小鸟非常伤心地衔起柴枝回到家里，把自己所看到和听到的都告诉了老鼠。 他和老鼠都很悲痛，但它们两个商定，最好还是住在一起。
小鸟把桌子铺好了，老鼠把菜也做好了，但当老鼠去盛菜时，热气一冲，它一子就掉进了锅里 ，连淹带烫死去了。 小鸟来到厨房想把饭菜端到桌子上去，可它没有看到厨师。 它把柴枝翻来翻去扔得到处都是，这里叫，那里喊，每个地方都寻遍了，就是找不到厨师。 就在这时，灶里的火掉到柴枝上，柴枝马上燃了起来。 小鸟急忙去担水，但匆忙间又把木桶掉到井里去了，它也跟着一起掉了下去。 一个好端端的家庭就这样完了。
Once upon a time a mouse, a bird, and a sausage formed a partnership. They kept house together, and for a long time they lived in peace and prosperity, acquiring many possessions. The bird's task was to fly into the forest every day to fetch wood. The mouse carried water, made the fire, and set the table. The sausage did the cooking.
Whoever is too well off always wants to try something different! Thus one day the bird chanced to meet another bird, who boasted to him of his own situation. This bird criticized him for working so hard while the other two enjoyed themselves at home. For after the mouse had made the fire and carried the water, she could sit in the parlor and rest until it was time for her to set the table. The sausage had only to stay by the pot watching the food cook. When mealtime approached, she would slither through the porridge or the vegetables, and thus everything was greased and salted and ready to eat. The bird would bring his load of wood home. They would eat their meal, and then sleep soundly until the next morning. It was a great life.
The next day, because of his friend's advice, the bird refused to go to the forest, saying that he had been their servant long enough. He was no longer going to be a fool for them. Everyone should try a different task for a change. The mouse and the sausage argued against this, but the bird was the master, and he insisted that they give it a try. The sausage was to fetch wood, the mouse became the cook, and the bird was to carry water.
And what was the result? The sausage trudged off toward the forest; the bird made the fire; and the mouse put on the pot and waited for the sausage to return with wood for the next day. However, the sausage stayed out so long that the other two feared that something bad had happened. The bird flew off to see if he could find her. A short distance away he came upon a dog that had seized the sausage as free booty and was making off with her. The bird complained bitterly to the dog about this brazen abduction, but he claimed that he had discovered forged letters on the sausage, and that she would thus have to forfeit her life to him.
Filled with sorrow, the bird carried the wood home himself and told the mouse what he had seen and heard. They were very sad, but were determined to stay together and make the best of it. The bird set the table while the mouse prepared the food. She jumped into the pot, as the sausage had always done, in order to slither and weave in and about the vegetables and grease them, but before she reached the middle, her hair and skin were scalded off, and she perished.
When the bird wanted to eat, no cook was there. Beside himself, he threw the wood this way and that, called out, looked everywhere, but no cook was to be found. Because of his carelessness, the scattered wood caught fire, and the entire house was soon aflame. The bird rushed to fetch water, but the bucket fell into the well, carrying him with it, and he drowned.