Aesop's Fables

Belling the Cat
Illustrated by Suzanne Palmer

Once upon a time, all the mice met, together in council, to discuss the best means of securing themselves against the attacks of the cat.

After several suggestions had been debated, a Mouse of some standing and experience got up and said, "I think I have hit upon a plan which will ensure our safety in the future, provided you approve and carry it out. It is that we should fasten a bell around the neck of our enemy the cat, which will, by its tinkling, warn us of her approach."

This proposal was warmly applauded, and it had been decided to adopt it, when an old Mouse got upon his feet and said, "I agree with you all that the plan before us is an admirable one: but may I ask who is going to bell the cat?"

It is easy to propose impossible remedies.

University of Massachusetts Amherst