The Louse and the Flea

The Louse and the FleaSummary

The Louse and the Flea is one of those “there-was-an-old-woman-who-swallowed-a-fly” deals. It has much of the same formula and none of it really makes sense.

Once upon a time a louse and a flea lived together. That’s not that illogical. I do have to wonder why this is the second story in a row mentioning lice. Anyway, they lived together and they were brewing beer in an eggshell. First of all, when did lice and fleas start to consume beer? Second of all, you would think both the louse and the flea are male, but the story specifically says that the louse is female. Please don’t have children you two, lice and fleas are bad enough, we don’t need “flice.”

So they were brewing this beer and the louse fell in and burnt herself. So the flea starting to scream. The door asked why the flea was screaming and the flea said why and the door started to creak. A broom asked the door why it was creaking and it said why and the broom started to sweep. A little cart asked the broom why it was sweeping and the broom said why and the cart started to run. An ash-heap asked the cart why it was running and it told the ash-heap why so the ash-heap started to burn. A tree asked the ash-heap why it was burning and the ask-heap told the tree why it was burning, so the tree started to shake. A little girl asked the tree why it was shaking and the tree told the little girl why. The little girl decided to break her water pitcher. Then a stream asked the little girl what all this non-sense was about and the little girl told the stream.

We end up with this:

The little louse has burnt herself,

The little flea is weeping,

The little door is creaking,

The little broom is sweeping,

The little cart is running,

The little ash-heap is burning,

The little tree is shaking itself.

As a result, the stream decides to join in on this big mess and flow. The stream flows so much that it floods and everybody dies.

The End

No, I’m not making that up, everybody dies.

The Louse and the FleaObservations

At least in the tale of the Old Woman who Swallows a Fly, only the old woman dies. In this story everybody dies. If you were hearing this story for the first time, you might think the person telling it was joking. They’re not joking.

A louse and a flea living together isn’t far-fetched. You can probably get fleas and lice at the same time. I don’t know, it’s never happened to me personally, so I cannot attest to the validity of that statement. Why are they making beer? Why are a flea and a louse making beer? Why are they making so much. Fleas and lice are little, bitty, tiny things. Enough beer to fill an eggshell would be a lot of beer for a single flea and a single louse. Maybe they’re trying to create their own micro-brewery? You know, like Drew Carey had in his backyard in The Drew Carey Show? You remember that, don’t try to deny it.

This is silly. This tale is silly, except for the part where everyone dies, that’s just pitiful. It reminds me of Doug the dog’s joke in Up.

It has the appearance of being funny, but it’s really not. With these tales you can get a good rhythm going while telling them, but the whole situation is absurd.

The Louse and the FleaThemes

Sometimes, we do things just because someone else is doing something. All these players in this tale do something just because someone else is doing something. There isn’t even an indication that any of these entities, not people because they’re not people, even know the louse who burnt herself. It’s like all the people who slow down their cars to look at a car wreck because everyone else is.

I almost want to say it’s a mob mentality. It sort of is and it sort of isn’t. Sometimes when we get together we do things we wouldn’t normally do because we’re around other people. Trust me, not many people actually like to do Karaoke. It’s just because you’re around a group of your friends, and you’re probably drunk, that karaoke sounds like a good idea. Who is to say that the louse and flea in this tale aren’t drunk. They are brewing beer after all. They might totally be drunk. It is a known fact that people under the influence of a substance can over-react to things. Over-reaction is what everyone is this tale is doing.

If you’re the little girl in this story, you’re probably the only one with any sense, why in the heck would you break your water pitcher? Shouldn’t she know better? As we know, girls can be guilty of a large amount of crowd-following. It’s just a girl thing, at times, sometimes other girls do things and you have to go along because you’re also a girl. Yes, girls will go to the bathroom together. Do they have to? No, but they do. Get over it.

The stream is the reckless person in this story, well, not person, entity. Everything is alright, until the stream freaks out. Is the stream drunk as well? I don’t know. This just goes to illustrate that a certain amount of freaking out can be tolerated. A few people can generally freak out and things are fine, but it just takes the one person to freak out that is a little off-balance to ruin it for everyone. You can joke about robbing a bank with your group of friends all you want, it is not until you involve the over-the-edge friend that someone actually attempts to rob a bank with a loaded gun. There is always that one person people really don’t think to limit with the craziness.

The Louse and the FleaIt’s always Bobby is a member of our group. Bobby is fun until someone gives him a sharp object. This reminds me of the guy in Grandma’s Boy who called the cops on himself because there was a lion in his house that he bought while he was high. Everyone hangs out with this guy and they think his shenanigans don’t hurt anybody, until they actually hurt somebody. You can’t have a freaking lion living in your house. Someone will get killed.


Oh my goodness! What in the heck is this story about? Maybe the people who made up this story were drunk. That’s a pretty good explanation. I am sure they didn’t get through all the stanzas of crazy though while being drunk. They probably had their designated driver make those up.

About The Author


There's way too much to write in this tiny space, but let's be short about this. Ashe is the creator, maintainer, and writer of One-Elevenbooks and has been since 2011. She likes to make artwork and write novels. She also likes the outside, in general. Ashe has a BA in Fine Arts and a BS in Information Technology.

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