Cat and mouse in partnership



A cat had made the acquaintance of a mouse, and had said so much to her about the great love and friendship that he felt for her, that at last the mouse agreed that they should live and keep house together. "But we must make preparations for winter, or else we shall suffer from hunger," said the cat, "and you, little mouse, cannot venture out everywhere, or in the end you will be caught in a trap." This good advice was followed, and they bought a pot of fat, but they did not know where to store it. Finally, after much consideration, the cat said, "I know of no place where it will be better stored up than in the church. No one dares take anything away from there. We will put it beneath the altar, and not touch it until we are need it." So the pot was stored safely away, but it was not long before the cat took a great longing for it, and said to the mouse, "I wanted to tell you, little mouse, that my cousin has brought a little son into the world, and she has asked me to be his godfather. He is white with brown spots, and I am to hold him over the baptismal font. Let me go out today, and you look after the house by yourself." - "Yes, yes," answered the mouse. "By all means go, and if you get anything good to eat, think of me. I would like to drink a drop of sweet red christening wine myself." All this, however, was untrue. The cat had no cousin, and had not been asked to be godfather. He went straight to the church, crept up to the pot of fat, began to lick at it, and licked off the top of the fat. Then he went for a stroll on the roofs of the town, looked out for opportunities, and then stretched out in the sun, licking his whiskers whenever he thought of the pot of fat. He did not return home until it was evening. "Well, here you are again," said the mouse. "You must have had a happy day." - "Everything went well," answered the cat. "What name did they give the child?" asked the mouse. "Top-Off," said the cat quite coolly. "Top-Off?" cried the mouse. "That is a very odd and uncommon name. Is it a usual one in your family?" - "What does that matter?" said the cat. "It is no worse than Crumb-Thief, as your godchildren are called."

Before long the cat was seized by another fit of longing. He said to the mouse, "You must do me a favor, and once more manage the house alone for a day. I have been asked again to be godfather, and since the child has a white ring around its neck, I cannot refuse." The good mouse consented. However, the cat crept behind the town wall to the church, and devoured half the pot of fat. "Nothing tastes as good as that which one eats by oneself," he said, and was quite satisfied with his day's work. When he arrived home the mouse asked, "What name was this child christened with?" - "Half-Gone," answered the cat. "Half-Gone? What are you saying? I have never heard that name in all my life. I'll wager it is not in the almanac."

The cat's mouth soon again began to water for the delicious goods. "All good things come in threes," he said to the mouse. "I have been asked to be godfather again. The child is totally black, only it has white paws. Otherwise it has not a single white hair on its whole body. This only happens once every few years. You will let me go, won't you?" - "Top-Off. Half-Gone," answered the mouse. "They are such odd names, that they make me stop and think." - "Here you sit at home," said the cat, "with your dark gray fur coat and long braid of hair capturing fantasies. That is because you do not go out in the daytime." During the cat's absence the mouse cleaned the house, and put it in order, but the greedy cat devoured all the rest of the fat. "One has peace only after everything is eaten up," he said to himself. Well filled and fat, he did not return home until nighttime. The mouse immediately asked what name had been given to the third child. "You will not like it either," said the cat. "His name is All-Gone." - "All-Gone!," cried the mouse. "That is the most worrisome name of all. I have never seen it in print. All-Gone! What can that mean?" Then she shook her head, curled herself up, and lay down to sleep.

From this time forth no one invited the cat to be godfather, but when winter had come and there was no longer anything to be found outside, the mouse thought of their stored food, and said, "Come cat, we will go to our pot of fat which we have stored up for ourselves. It will taste good now." - "Yes," answered the cat. "You will enjoy it as much as you would enjoy sticking that dainty tongue of yours out of the window." They set out on their way, but when they arrived, the pot of fat, to be sure, was still in its place, but it was empty. "Alas," said the mouse, "now I see what has happened. Now it comes to light. You are a true friend. You ate everything when you were serving as a godfather. First top off, then half done, then..." - "Be quiet!" cried the cat. "One more word, and I will eat you too."

"All gone," was already on the poor mouse's lips. She had scarcely spoken it before the cat sprang on her, seized her, and swallowed her down. You see, that is the way of the world.
有一只猫认识了一只老鼠,便对它大谈特谈自己是多么喜欢老鼠,原意和它交朋友,弄得老鼠终于同意和猫住在一起,共同生活。 "我们得准备过冬的东西了,不然我们到冬天会挨饿的,"猫说,"至于你嘛,我的小老鼠,哪里也不要去,我真怕你会被什么老鼠夹子夹住。"老鼠接受了猫的好建议,于是它们买来了一罐猪油,然而两个人都不知道该把猪油放在什么地方。 它们左思考右思考,最后猫说:"我觉得这猪油放在教堂里是再合适不过的了,因为谁也不敢偷教堂里的东西。我们把猪油藏在祭坛下,不到万不得已的时候决不动它。"猪油罐就这样被放到了安全的地方。 可是没过多久,猫开始想吃猪油了,便对老鼠说:"小老鼠,我想跟你说点事。我的表姐刚刚生了一个小宝宝,还请我当小宝贝的教母。那小宝贝全身雪白,带着一些褐色的斑点。我要抱着它去接受洗礼,所以今天要出去一下,你一个人在家看家,好吗?""好的,好的,"老鼠说,"你尽管去吧。要是有什么好吃的东西,千万要记着我。我很想尝一点洗礼时用的红葡萄酒。"这一切当然都不是真的,因为猫并没有表姐,也没有被请去当教母。 它直接去了教堂,偷偷爬到猪油罐那里,开始舔呀舔,把顶上一层猪油舔得精光。 然后,它在城里的屋顶上散了散步,想碰碰别的运气;接着便躺下来晒太阳。 每当想起那罐猪油,它都情不自禁地舔舔自己的嘴唇。 它一直等到天黑才回家。 "啊,你终于回来了,"老鼠说,"这一天肯定过得很开心吧?""一切顺利。"猫答道。 "你们给那孩子起了什么名字?""没了顶层!"猫冷淡地说。 "没了顶层!"老鼠叫了起来,"这个古怪的名字可不多见。你们家常取这样的名字吗?""那有什么?"猫说,"不比你的那些教子叫什么'偷面包屑的'更糟吧?"
没过多久,猫又想吃猪油了。 它对老鼠说:"你得帮我一个忙,再一个人看一次家。又有人请我当教母了,而且这个孩子的脖子上有一道白圈,我实在无法推辞。"好心的老鼠同意了。 猫从城墙后面溜进教堂,一口气吃掉了半罐猪油。 "什么东西也没有比吃到自己的嘴里更好,"它说,心里对这一天的收获感到很满意。 等它到家时,老鼠问道:"这个孩子起的什么名字呀?""吃了一半,"猫回答。 "吃了一半!你在说什么呀?我长这么大了还从来没有听说过这样的名字。我敢打赌,就是年历上也不会有这样的名字!"
"好事成三嘛,"它说,"又有人请我去当教母了。这个孩子除了爪子是白色的,浑身黑黝黝的,连一根白毛都没有。这是好几年才会碰上的事情 ,你当然会同意我去的,是吗? ""没了顶层! 吃了一半! "老鼠回答,"这些名字真怪! 我实在弄不明白。 ""你白天又不出门,"猫说,"整天穿着深灰色的皮袄,拖着长长的尾巴,坐在家里胡思乱想,当然弄不明白啦! "趁着猫不在家,老鼠把屋子打扫了一下,把东西放得整整齐齐。可是那只馋猫把剩下的猪油吃得干干净净。"人只有把东西吃得干干净净才能放心,"它自言自语地说。它吃得饱饱的,直到天黑了才挺着圆圆的肚子回家。老鼠看到它回来,立刻问它这第三个孩子起的什么名字。"你也不会喜欢这个名字,"猫说,"它叫'吃得精光'。 ""吃得精光! "老鼠叫了起来,"这个名字太令人费解了! 我从来没有在书上见过。 吃得精光! 这是什么意思呢? "它摇摇头,蜷缩起身子,躺下睡着了。
从此,猫再也没有被邀请去当教母。 可是冬天来到了,外面再也找不到任何吃的东西。 老鼠想到了它们准备的过冬的东西,便说:"走吧,猫!我们去取储存的猪油吧。我们可以美美吃上一顿。""是的,"猫回答,"那准会把你美得就像把你那尖尖的舌头伸到窗外去喝西北风一样。"它们动身去教堂,可它们到达那里后,看到猪油罐倒是还在那里,里面却是空的。 "天哪!"老鼠说,"我现在终于明白是怎么回事了!你可真是个好朋友!你在去当什么教母的时候,把这猪油全吃光了!先是吃了顶上一层,然后吃了一半,最后……""你给我住嘴!"猫嚷道,"你要是再罗嗦,我连你也吃了!""……吃得精光,"可怜的老鼠脱口而出。 它刚把话说完,猫就扑到了它的身上,抓住它,把它吞进了肚子。 这世界就是这样!

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