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The Country Mouse and The Town Mouse
by
Aesop

Once upon a time... a town mouse, on a trip to the country, met a country mouse. They spent the day together and became friends. The country mouse took his new friend into the meadows and vegetable gardens, making him sample all
the good things of the land.

Never having seen the beauties of the countryside, the town mouse was thrilled, though the country mouse's plain food wasn't
nearly as fine as his own usual meals. To thank his friend for the lovely outing,
he invited the country mouse to visit him in the town. And when the country mouse saw the pantry at his friend's house, full of hams, cheese, oil, flour, honey, jam and stacks of other goodies, he stood speechless with surprise.

"I've never seen anything like it! Are all those wonderful things for eating?"
"Of course!" came the reply. "You're my guest, so tuck in!"
They began to feast, while the country mouse tried not to stuff himself. He wanted to taste everything before finding his tummy full.

"You're the luckiest mouse I've ever met!" said the country mouse to his town brother. The town mouse was listening with delight to his friend's praise, when suddenly, the sound of heavy footsteps interrupted their feast.

"Run for it!" whispered the town mouse to his friend.

They were just in time: for within an inch of them stood the lady of the house's large foot. Luckily, the lady went away and the two mice returned to enjoy their meal, so rudely interrupted.

"It's all right! Come on!" said the town mouse."Don't worry. She's gone. Now for the honey! It's delicious! Have you ever tasted it?"
"Yes, once, a long time ago," the country mouse lied, trying to sound casual. But when he tasted it, he exclaimed: "Scrumptious! By the King of Mice! I've never eaten anything so lovely in all my life!"

Suddenly there came the sound of footsteps, this time thumping heavily. The two mice fled. The man of the house had come to fetch
some bottles, and when he saw the spilt honey, he groaned: "Those ghastly mice again! I thought I've got rid of them. I'll send the
cat!" And trembling with terror, the mice hid away.

This time it was not only the sudden visit that had given them a fright, it was the man's awful words. The mice were so scared, they
held their breath, making no sound. Then, since all remained quiet, they began to feel braver, and picked up enough courage to leave
their hidey-hole.

"We can come out now! There's nobody here!" the town mouse whispered.

Suddenly, the pantry door creaked, and the two luckless mice froze in fear. Out of the dim light glowed a pair of horrid yellow eyes.
A large cat was staring round the room in search of its prey. The country mouse and the town mouse tiptoed silently back to their
hidey-hole. They wished their pounding hearts would stop beating, for fear of the cat hearing the noise they made. But, as luck
would have it, the cat discovered a juicy sausage.

Forgetting why his master had sent him into the pantry, he stopped to eat it. No
longer hungry, after that, the cat decided that he might as well leave mouse-hunting for another day. Off he padded, to have forty
winks elsewhere.

Now, as soon as the country mouse realized that all danger was past, he did not lose a second. He hastily shook hands with his
friend, saying: "Thanks so much for everything! But I must rush off now! I can't stand all these shocks! I'd far rather sit down to a
meal of a few acorns in peace, in the country, than face a great spread of delicious food, surrounded by dangers on all sides and
with my heart in my mouth!"

THE END

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