Or “The Cat and Mouse Set Up House”*
The Gist: A cat befriends a mouse and asks her to live with him. Together they buy a jar of fat to store away for the winter but the cat sneaks off and eats the whole thing.
What an odd little tale this is! I enjoyed reading Pullman’s translation of this tale more than Zipes’. Both tell the exact same story, but Pullman’s gift for storytelling puts his version a step ahead. It was livelier and the characters were more animated.
I find the ending quite funny when the cat does what cats do best and eats the mouse. The cat wasn’t even being particularly tricky by coming up with this elaborate plan to eventually eat the mouse (although I did initially find his inviting the mouse to live with him a bit sinister); the cat was just being a cat. The narrator treats the incident with a shrug and says oh well, that’s just the way the world works. Quite a lesson, isn’t it?
For more information about this feature, check out the main page for “A Grimm Year”.
- The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, 3rd Edition translated by Jack Zipes (Bantam, 2003)
- Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman (Viking)