THE LITTLE MICE
Once upon a time a prairie mouse busied herself all fall storing
away a cache of beans. Every morning she was out early with her
empty cast-off snake skin, which she filled with ground beans and
dragged home with her teeth.
The little mouse had a cousin who was fond of dancing and talk, but
who did not like to work. She was not careful to get her cache of
beans and the season was already well gone before she thought to
bestir herself. When she came to realize her need,
she found she had no packing bag. So she went to her hardworking
cousin and said:
"Cousin, I have no beans stored for winter and the season is nearly
gone. But I have no snake skin to gather the beans in. Will you
lend me one?"
"But why have you no packing bag? Where were you in the moon when
the snakes cast off their skins?"
"I was here."
"What were you doing?"
"I was busy talking and dancing."
"And now you are punished," said the other. "It is always so with
lazy, careless people. But I will let you have the snake skin.
And now go, and by hard work and industry, try to recover your