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

wasted time."