The Mouse

The Mouse

Tomas Barela, Taos, New Mexico

Once upon a time, there was a house mouse. He was very fat. One day, it occurred to him that he had not gone out to the country in a long time, so he ventured into the mountains. Once he arrived, he met a very skinny country mouse. House Mouse greeted Mountain Mouse: “How’s it going man?” and looking him up and down, asked, “Why are you so skinny? Don’t you have good food to eat here in the mountains?”

–Looking downcast, Mountain Mouse responded, “No I eat entrails and cacti and sometimes mosquitoes that I find.”

–“Oh man, you don’t know what you are missing. Come with me. Where I live I have a lot of food to eat. I have a lot of meat, peas, horse beans, corn and wheat. I have as much food as I desire and as I can find where I live.”

Wide-eyed and with visions of all that food stirring in his head, Mountain Mouse, didn’t hesitate one moment and said, “Well, what are we waiting for, let’s go.”

The two journeyed back to the house and, by the time they arrived, dusk had begun to fall, but Mountain Mouse was more famished than he was tired and upon seeing the delicacies before him, he dove into the piles of food, eating as much as he could. 

House Mouse looked on as his friend gorged on the food and he warned, “There’s one thing—we have to watch out for the cat called ‘Walk Softly.’  While we can eat everything that we want during the day, going out at night can be dangerous. 

But Mountain Mouse arrived so hungry that he was eating without getting full. 

Before they knew it, night had fallen and the cat, ‘Walk Softly’ was placed in the pantry. 

Noticing that the cat had been placed inside, House Mouse said, “Now we can’t go out until morning. I can tell that ‘Walk Softly’ is out and about.”

Every now and then, Mountain Mouse decided he needed to go out into the pantry to find more food, but each time, House Mouse pulled him back. 

This back and forth went on for a while. At one point, however, House Mouse grew weary and when he wasn’t paying attention, his friend peeked out into the pantry.  

In an instant, ‘Walk Softly’ caught him. Thinking quickly, House Mouse lassoed him with a small piece of leather and began to pull him back. In the end, the cat wasn’t able to leverage the pull and did not carry him away. 

House Mouse spent the rest of the night cleaning the inflicted wounds and healing his friend.

Once morning had come and the cat was placed outside of the pantry, House Mouse explained to Mountain Mouse: 

–“You can eat all you want. ‘Walk Softly’ has been put out.”  

–Mountain Mouse, still feeling the wounds, responded, “No, I’m going back. It’s better among spines and thistles than living this close to death.”

And, as soon as he could, Mountain Mouse left his friend and returned to the safety of his mountain retreat.  

El  Ratón

Pues éste era un ratón de casa. Estaba muy gordo. Luego jué al monte y incontró allá un ratón del campo muy flaco. Ya le dijo:

—¿Cómo te va, hombre? ¿Por qué estás flaco? ¿Qué no tienes qué comer buenas comidas aquí en la sierra?

—No, yo como entrañas y tunas, algunas veces mosquitos que jallo.

—Pues, vámonos conmigo, hombre. Allá onde vivo yo, tengo mucha comida, muncho qué comer. Tengo muncha carne, muncho alverjón, habas, maíz, trigo, de cuanta comida quieras tú tengo yo allá onde vivo.

—Bueno, pues iremos.

Se jué el ratón de campo con el ratón de casa. Y llegaron allá a la casa ya pardiando. Luego que llegaron, empezó aquél a comer de todo lo que había allí. Estaba muy hambriao. Ya le dijo el ratón de casa:

—Hay una cosa, tenemos que cuidarnos del Andaos-queditos. En la nochi no tenemos que salir. En el día podemos comer todo lo que quiéramos. Tenemos mucho qué comer.

Pero el ratón del monte, como llegó hambriao. estuvo comiendo pero no llenó. Tenía mucho hambre. No más se escureció bien y metieron al Andaos-queditos pa allá pa la dispensa.

—Hora sí — le dijo —, ya no tenemos que salir por la nochi. Ya hasta por la mañana no salemos. Ya está al el Andaos-queditos.

Pero el ratón del campo cada rato quería salir pa ajuera a comer más, pero aquél lo jalaba pa atrás. Así estuvo batallando por un ratohasta que se descuidó el ratón de casa y se asomó el ratón de campo pa ajuera y péscalo el Andaos-queditos y le tumbó el cuero pa losojos, pero el ratón de casa lo jaló y no se ]o llevó al fin el gato. Pues al estuvo ya curándolo el ratón de casa, limpiándole la sangre. Luego que ya aclaró, que sacaron el gato allá de la dispensa:

—Hora si— le dijo— hora sí puedes comer todo lo que te dé gana. Hora sí sejué el Andaos-queditos.

—No, ya yo me voy. Vale más entre espinas y abrojos que no con capillaje en los ojos.

Se jué ya y ya no quiso estar con el ratónde la casa.

Listen to the audio here