Belling the Cat from Aesop’s Fables

Letter B ( A to Z Challenge April 2019)

Through the years, the story of Belling the Cat like many of Aesop’s fables has been re-written and adapted to different cultures and social norms of the moment.  It is a simple story of a community of mice coming together to solve a common problem, a CAT!

The mice held a meeting and complained that it was impossible for them to go about their day peacefully with the threat of the big cat springing on them unexpectedly.  As I am not an expert on mice culture and certainly not one to sit and observe mice,  I suppose a family of mice would pursue happiness by being involved in activities such as building nests and gathering food.

In any event, the mice mulled over the fact that each time as they went about their business, the cat, being a hunter by nature, would do what cats do.  He would bring his long sleek body close to the ground and with padded feet, quietly sneak up on them; He would pounce on one unlucky victim and capture it within his sharp claws.  The other mice would scatter and run as fast as their little feet could carry them, knowing that they would never see their friend again.

The deliberations went on for hours.  There was much arguing about what to do with this cat that was disrupting their lives and threatening their very existence. Ideas came and went, and finally, a very young mouse said: “it’s very simple really, hang a bell around its neck so that we can hear him coming and run for shelter before he grabs someone.”

“What a great idea! An amazing plan.” An elderly mouse who had not spoken before said, “I’m glad we all agree. Now my friends, who will have the courage to step forward to do it?” There was silence, and soon there was the shuffling of hundreds of little feet.  It seemed that when looking for volunteers, they all took one step backward and the deliberation continued.

“Brave words are easier than brave deeds.” Aesop’s Fables by Jerry Pinkey

Have you ever been to a planning meeting at work, school or church and found yourself in a similar situation?  Most times the issue is not anything dangerous, just time-consuming or merely new.  There have been group meetings where we’ve pondered options that seem good in theory, but no one was willing to put into action.

It always amazes me that Aesop’s stories are still relevant today.  We have come a long way and have developed many great projects and ideas, but over the centuries our nature remains the same.

If Aesop were telling this story today, he would probably say: “ All talk and no action leaves us in the same predicament.”  Don’t you agree? `Belling the Cat by Jerry Pinkney

#AtoZChallenge #April 2019