What the Second Mouse Had to Tell

What the Second Mouse Had to TellWhat the Second Mouse Had to Tell

It was soon the second mouse’s turn to tell her tale with her tail. She talked of how she had grown up in the library. There, the mice sometimes lacked food, but did not lack for knowledge. They learned many things. When the mouse heard she might have a chance to become queen she asked a wise mouse in the library what to do. She was told to become a poet because poet’s would surely know how to make soup from a sausage skewer.

The mouse soon began on a journey of knowledge. She watched a hill of ants because they are very wise. The ants called their anthill the loftiest thing, but there was a tree nearby that was even loftier. One ant told the rest of the ants that it was not true that their ant hill was the highest thing and nobody believed her. Another ant, much more respected saw the tree and well and told the other ants. She was believed because she was more well-known. The mouse saw that the ant queen had the most knowledge so she gobbled her up.

The mouse then went to speak to the tree, which had a dryad inside of it. The tree told the mouse that a bird came to see it every so often and the mouse determined that it would pluck a feather from the bird and eat it up as well, which she did.

The mouse then returned to the library and ate two whole books and a portion of a third. By that point she considered herself a poet. She could make a string of poetry about anything. The mouse said she could make any poetry for the king about skewers and that was her soup.

It was time for the third mouse’s story.

Observations

There is something of a belief, in some cultures, that if you eat something up, you gain its power. This is true to an extent. If you eat a strawberry, you gain whatever antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrition that strawberry contained, but that’s where the truth ends. You can’t eat a cow and gain the cow’s knowledge of what type of grass tastes the best. The idea that this mouse gained the knowledge it had from an ant, a feather, and three books, is just silly. What this mouse probably got was indigestion.

You cannot eat a person or a creature and gain its knowledge, sorry all you cannibal tribes, that’s just not the way it works.

36c352bda108829db33f0c9032a8d467Themes

Clearly there is some dispute over how to make soup with a sausage skewer. Everyone keeps coming back with their own versions of what this means. This mouse sought out an interesting, but strange path, to understand how to make soup from a sausage skewer.

I am still having a hard time getting over the idea that this mouse thought it could gobble up things to gain knowledge. That’s just not how it works. The previous mouse went on a journey as well, but you didn’t see her eating things to gain their knowledge. This entire story is about differences between people and interpretations, but it’s also about differences in how people get to the same destination in different ways. Both the mice thus far have arrived at a similar determination, but they did so in completely different ways.

Mice are not human, but we’re human, and that’s how we work. You take the high road and I’ll take the low road, you know, all that jazz.

Overall

Oh, you know all the capitals of all the countries, interesting. *sharpens knife and fork*

That’s just gross.

Weigh In

So if you eat a burrito, what kind of knowledge do you gain?

Seriously, how much Alka seltzer did this mouse need?

 

The Queen Bee

The Queen BeeSummary

The Queen Bee is a tale that holes some of the similarities to the tale of The Golden Bird. Both tales speak of three brothers who seek a quest, but the youngest, considered the family idiot, is the one to complete the task.

Once upon a time there were three brothers. The older two were lost in the world. The youngest, called Simpleton, set out to find them. The brothers were not lost in a geographic sense, they were lost because of their riotous living. When Simpleton found the brothers, they mocked him because he was simple and would not be able to find his own way in the world.

The three brothers traveled away together. They came to an ant hill. The older two brothers wanted to smash the anthill to watch all of the ants scatter and carry their eggs out. Simpleton told them, “Leave the creatures in peace, I will not suffer you to kill them.” The brothers went on their way without killing the ants. They came to a pond with many ducks. The older two brothers wanted to catch a couple of the ducks and roast them. The youngest brother said the same thing and the ducks were not harmed. At length they came to a beehive full of honey. The older brothers wanted to build a fire to smoke the bees out in order to get all of the honey, but Simpleton gave the same advice. The bees were not harmed.

After a while, the three  brothers came to a castle where there were stone horses in the stable. They went inside to all of the rooms. In one room they found a door with a glass pane in it. They could see inside the room and see a little old man. They called to him once, but he did not answer. They called to him a second time, but he did not answer. They called to him a third time, he did not say anything, but got up and let them in the room. He led them to a table that was  beautifully set. All the brothers ate their fill and were led to bedrooms for the night.

The next morning, the little man got the eldest brother. He brought him to a stone table on which were inscribed three challenges. If the challenges were completed the enchantment on the castle would be taken away.

The first task was to pick up a thousand pearls in the forest from the princess’s necklace. The eldest brother only found three. Because he failed, he was turned to stone. The next day, the second brother was tested, but he did not even find two hundred pearls. He was also turned to stone. The third day, it was Simpleton’s turn. Simpleton was soon overwhelmed with how difficult the task was. He sat down on a rock to cry. The king of the ants which he had saved from his brothers just happened to show up with five thousand ants. These ants gathered up all of the princess’s pearls and put them in a heap for Simpleton.

Simpleton had completed the first task. The second task was the fetch the key to the princess’s bedchamber. It was at the bottom of the lake. Because Simpleton had saved the ducks on the lake, the ducks dove down under the water and brought him the key. Simpleton had completed the second task. The third task was very difficult. There were three princesses and they all looked exactly alike. The only way to tell the difference between them, was by figuring out what they had eaten before they went to sleep. One daughter had eaten a bit of sugar, another had eaten syrup and the third had eaten honey. The daughter who had eaten honey was the youngest daughter to the king and was the daughter which must be sought out by Simpleton.

Because Simpleton had also saved a hive of bees, the queen of that hive came to his aid. She tasted the lips of all three of the daughters and stayed on the mouth of the daughter that had eaten the honey. Because Simpleton found the right princess, the enchantment was ended. Everyone who had been turned to stone was alive again. Simpleton married the youngest daughter and the older brothers married the two older sisters.

The End

The Queen BeeObservations

This story does remind me of The Golden Bird. Simpleton and the youngest son in that tale were both thought to be a few crayons short of a box, but they did accomplish great things despite their simplicity. The older brothers in each tale looked down on their youngest brother. I am kind of glad all the brothers in this tale lived. I was getting depressed with all these siblings dying because of their ill-deeds.

This story is really more theme heavy and is too like other tales to really have many observations.

I will say that any family who decides to call one of the children “Simpleton” isn’t very nice. There is probably some emotional abuse going on in that household.

The Queen BeeThemes

This tale is three-heavy. I think I’m going to make that a new word, well, at least a new word for me. Someday, maybe, I’ll write a dictionary according to me, not that many people would be interested in such a thing. We have three brothers. They try to kill three things. They have three chances. There are three tasks. There are three sisters. Three, three, three, and… oh yeah, three. We’ve already established three as this number of completeness. It’s a number of proving. When three things are performed, a result can happen.

We have this recurring theme that you should not be cruel to animal life. It’s here again and, this time, it’s even more extreme than some of the other tales in which we’ve encountered the theme. Usually, we’re talking about dogs or a donkey, or whatever, but this tale has us talking about ducks, ants, and bees. Some of us can understand the duck thing. We don’t go around killing ducks generally. If you saw a duck, your first thought would probably not be to kill it. You would more likely feed it bread by the pond. I do say that as a generality, of course, there are people who do hunt ducks and their first thought would be to actually kill it.

As far as the bees and ants, most of us aren’t very fond of bees an ants. They both bite/sting and it freaking hurts. If you see an ant nest in your yard, your first thought is to demolish it. For the past two years, it has been my pleasure to get my water hose and spray the little ant colonies ants try to create in my driveway. If I spray them enough times, they either are so demoralized or they have lost so many of their numbers that they simply give up trying to live there. I’m not exactly a champion of ants. I just poisoned some with boric acid a couple of weeks ago.

Even though I’m quite the ant murderer, I do get what this story is saying. These are still living creatures. You’re not supposed to kill them for the heck of it. You’re not supposed to hold magnifying glasses over them on a sunny day and watch them burn.

The bees are something I am kinder towards. I haven’t been stung in years, so that’s probably why I’ve been kinder to them. Bees pollinate flowers including the flowers that make your food. They also make honey, which tastes great, so I tend to let bees do their own thing. There are people who freaking hate bees though and will kill any type of bee-looking thing. Is it a yellow jacket? Is it a hornet? Is it a honey bee? They don’t care. It’s dead. There are people who will kill bees for the heck of it, even though they totally shouldn’t because we’re having a bit of a bee shortage these days. These people are jerks. Bees aren’t cuddly. You’re not going to have pet bees. You’re not going to get a bee hive for your kids. Bees are not really an animal that you would consider a cause to champion for, yes, bees are technically in the kingdom of animalia, they are animals, insects are under the umbrella of animalia. One a side note, spiders are not insects, they’re arachnids, still animals, but not insects.

Most of us don’t look at insects in the same way that we look at kittens, which is totally fine with me. As a result, we don’t feel the same kind of pity for insects, which isn’t that big of a deal in our every day lives, but if you’re a nature-loving person, it might be something that gets to you. It might irritate you a little that life, even a small life, isn’t respected. This story just goes to show us  that life if life. Death is death and torture is torture.

Good deeds are good to do. If you do a good deed, the person who receives that deed might pay you back, or they might pass the deed on. It happens. Good things can happen when people do good things. This youngest brother, Simpleton, saves these animals from his brothers’ wrath and cruelty, and is paid back. These animals come to help him when he needed it most. That’s just a great story right there.

Overall

This story isn’t heavy on culture, history, or politics, but it is heavy on morals. We should respect all forms of life. We should do good deeds to people. We also should not assume that just because a person is simple that they cannot do great things. I like this story. It’s cute and clever in ways that many stories aren’t.


The White Snake

The White SnakeSummary

The White Snake is yet again another fairy tale we aren’t quite so familiar with. I don’t recall ever hearing this tale before I read it. I do have to wonder if this tale is where the band White Snake got their name. That would definitely bring some interesting questions into the idea of crappy eighties music.

Once upon a time there was a king who seemed to know all the gossip in his kingdom. Every evening he would eat a dish alone in the dining room. No one ever saw what was underneath the dish. One  day a servant became curious and took the dish away to peek underneath. What he found was a white snake. He decided to try a bite. After eating a bit of this white snake, the servant found that he could talk to animals.

The queen’s ring was missing and the blame was going to be pinned on this servant because he was allowed everywhere in the castle. He was to be sentenced to death if he couldn’t turn up the ring. Well, using his new-found animal talking powers, he overheard a conversation between some birds. One bird was talking about how she had accidentally eaten a ring. The servant grabbed this bird up and took it to the cook, who sliced it open and found the ring. The king was so pleased he asked the young man what he wanted in return and he asked for a horse.

The young man went out traveling. He heard some fish in a barrel complaining about being caught. The man let them go and they promised to remember him. A little while later, the man heard some ants complaining about how they were always stepped on. The young man chose to use the other side of the path instead of walking over the ants. The ants said they would remember him. Later, he came to some ravens that had kicked their babies out of the nest before they were ready. The man killed his horse so the ravens would have something to eat. I think that’s a bit extreme. The ravens said they would remember them.

He walked on, because he doesn’t have a horse anymore, and found a kingdom where the princess was looking for a husband. Any suitor had to pass a challenge in order to marry her, but if he failed he would be put to death. This young man becomes all enamored with the princess and decides to go for it. The challenge is to find a ring the king has thrown into the sea. The young man is disconcerted about this, but before he can even really work up a good worry, the three fish he saved find him on the beach and bring him a shell. Inside the shell is the golden ring.

The king is happy about this, but the princess is not. She thinks the young man is below her. She insists upon another challenge. Ten large bags of millet, a grain, are thrown on the ground and all the grains are supposed to be picked up by morning. To the young man’s surprise the ants he helped out came and picked up every single piece of grain in the night. The princess was impressed, but she was still a little proud, so she insisted upon one more challenge.

The last challenge is difficult. The princess insists upon an apple from the tree of life. Nobody knows where this is and the young man is willing to go and look, but he doesn’t have to. The ravens he helped out have already flown to the tree of life and brought him back an apple. The young man gives it to the princess. They actually share the apple. They get married and are pretty happy.

The End

The White SnakeObservations

Here’s that number three again.

I don’t really know what the white snake had to do with this tale. It’s never explained why this snake grants its eater the power to converse with animals. I have to wonder if this is one of those tales that has lost some of its pieces over the years. There is no mythology about the white snake in this tale other than if you eat it, you can talk to animals. A white snake would be pretty rare. Snakes are generally darker and earthy tones to blend in with their environments. Every once in a while, an albino snake does come along. I’ve never seen a completely white one, they’re usually like white and yellow or white and purple. It might be that the creators of this tale had actually seen an albino snake and considered it to be a magical creature rather than a genetic mutation. People used to use all kinds of strange stories to explain away genetic deformities and expression.

Again we have parallels to the story of Joseph from the Bible. This young man is a trusted servant. He is given privileges others aren’t, but is almost betrayed by the boss’s wife, just like the biblical version.

The White SnakeThemes

Talking to animals is this desire that has existed on the fringe of society for a long time. Generally, the idea shows up in children’s stories like The Wild Thornberries, which is a good show by the way. Kids more often would like the desire to speak to animals, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t adults who like to have this ability. Society has brought us tales of people who mesh with various animals so well that they’re called whisperers. Generally, we hear this term in relation to horses. Oh that person is a horse whisperer. There’s a dog whisperer. There is also a guy who is like a cat whisperer that comes on television. These are people who have studied these animals to such an extent it seems they can communicate with these animals. They are actually communicating with these animals, but it’s in gestures and body language rather than speech of the human kind or animal kind.

I would like to think that even back in the day of the Grimms there were people who cared about what animals felt. This tale is a testament to the fact that those people existed. There have always been people who would care for the welfare of creatures who cannot speak on their own. That’s a good thing. Like I mentioned in a previous post, death is still death and torture is still torture, it doesn’t matter what life form you are. It kind of plucks a little heart string to find out that there were people who cared for small creatures even back in a day when torture was a normal thing. Kudos anonymous people who made up this tale.

The White SnakeThis man  doles out kindness and kindness is returned to him. It’s a universal law. I don’t car what religion or lack thereof you claim to profess, whatever it may be, there is always this idea of reciprocation of deeds. If you do bad things, you’re going to get some bad things back. If you do good things, you’re going to get some good things back. It’s this whole idea of passing it on. A small thing you do for someone can lead that person in turn to do something for someone else. Then that person can do something for someone else, then another person can do something, and so on, and so on, and so on. The good and bad things you do create a ripple effect in life.

We all kind of live in this web. Think of a spider’s web. All the strands are connected somehow, right? A spider can feel the tiniest vibration of a single strand of the web all the way on the other side of the web because everything is connected. Think of life like that. You may not think anything of holding the door open for a little old lady, but imagine what the ripple effect might eventually become. We don’t see the ripple effects we cause most of the time, good or bad. Just remember that you create ripples even if you think you do not.

The three challenges in this story are more or less filler. The young man already proved himself when he rescued the various animals. The challenges were simply to illustrate that good things returned to him for his good deeds.

Overall

This is a sweet story. It’s pleasant. No one in the story is a terrible person. There have been quite a few of these Grimm’s tales with horrible people. It’s refreshing to find a tale where people aren’t jerks.