The Cat That Feared the Mice

by Song Lian, Ming Dynasty

A long time ago, a man in the state of Wei did not take a fancy to anything in the world, except for keeping cats as pets. The man kept over a hundred cats which kept his house clear of mice. Even the rodents in his neighbourhood were not spared. Soon due to a shortage of their favourite food supply, the cats ran all over the place, disturbing the country folks. The owner had no choice but to feed them with meat, day in and day out. The cats were happy with the meat supplied by their master, so they behaved themselves.

From then onwards, one generation after another of the cats were ignorant about mice. Whenever they felt hungry, sumptuous meat was just a meow away. After their meals, they just whiled away the time.

A scholar's home in the Southern city was plagued by a pack of mice. The little creatures ran around nibbling at things and making noise all day long, much to the annoyance of the scholar. Once, a mouse fell into a vat. The scholar hurried to borrow a cat from the cat-loving man. Unfortunately,the cat he borrowed had never seen a mouse before.When the mouse in the vat pricked its ears up, stared with its protruding black eyes, flickered its crimson whiskers, and made those squeaking sounds, it looked like a monster to the cat. The cat wandered around the vat without any sign of wanting to catch the mouse. The scholar was so angry that he pushed the cat into the vat.The cat was very frightened and he could only shout at the mouse. After some time, the mouse took the daring step of biting the cat's leg which made the cat leap out of the vat.