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What the Second Mouse Had to TellWhat the Second Mouse Had to Tell

It was soon the second mouse’s turn to tell her tale with her tail. She talked of how she had grown up in the library. There, the mice sometimes lacked food, but did not lack for knowledge. They learned many things. When the mouse heard she might have a chance to become queen she asked a wise mouse in the library what to do. She was told to become a poet because poet’s would surely know how to make soup from a sausage skewer.

The mouse soon began on a journey of knowledge. She watched a hill of ants because they are very wise. The ants called their anthill the loftiest thing, but there was a tree nearby that was even loftier. One ant told the rest of the ants that it was not true that their ant hill was the highest thing and nobody believed her. Another ant, much more respected saw the tree and well and told the other ants. She was believed because she was more well-known. The mouse saw that the ant queen had the most knowledge so she gobbled her up.

The mouse then went to speak to the tree, which had a dryad inside of it. The tree told the mouse that a bird came to see it every so often and the mouse determined that it would pluck a feather from the bird and eat it up as well, which she did.

The mouse then returned to the library and ate two whole books and a portion of a third. By that point she considered herself a poet. She could make a string of poetry about anything. The mouse said she could make any poetry for the king about skewers and that was her soup.

It was time for the third mouse’s story.

Observations

There is something of a belief, in some cultures, that if you eat something up, you gain its power. This is true to an extent. If you eat a strawberry, you gain whatever antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrition that strawberry contained, but that’s where the truth ends. You can’t eat a cow and gain the cow’s knowledge of what type of grass tastes the best. The idea that this mouse gained the knowledge it had from an ant, a feather, and three books, is just silly. What this mouse probably got was indigestion.

You cannot eat a person or a creature and gain its knowledge, sorry all you cannibal tribes, that’s just not the way it works.

36c352bda108829db33f0c9032a8d467Themes

Clearly there is some dispute over how to make soup with a sausage skewer. Everyone keeps coming back with their own versions of what this means. This mouse sought out an interesting, but strange path, to understand how to make soup from a sausage skewer.

I am still having a hard time getting over the idea that this mouse thought it could gobble up things to gain knowledge. That’s just not how it works. The previous mouse went on a journey as well, but you didn’t see her eating things to gain their knowledge. This entire story is about differences between people and interpretations, but it’s also about differences in how people get to the same destination in different ways. Both the mice thus far have arrived at a similar determination, but they did so in completely different ways.

Mice are not human, but we’re human, and that’s how we work. You take the high road and I’ll take the low road, you know, all that jazz.

Overall

Oh, you know all the capitals of all the countries, interesting. *sharpens knife and fork*

That’s just gross.

Weigh In

So if you eat a burrito, what kind of knowledge do you gain?

Seriously, how much Alka seltzer did this mouse need?

 

What the First Little Mouse Saw and Heard on Her TravelsWhat the First Little Mouse Saw and Heard on Her Travels

The first mouse set out with her sausage skewer. She traveled as a stow away on a ship, where she thoroughly enjoyed herself. She then went deep into the forest where everything smelled fragrant. People were dancing with a maypole, but what does a mouse have to do with a maypole dance.

The mouse then came upon some very tiny people. They were dressed in the daintiest of clothes and called themselves elves. They saw the mouse’s sausage skewer and said it was just the thing.

They took the skewer and decorated it in the most wonderful manner. They were using it as a maypole. All the little people had a wonderful time, but the mouse was much too big to participate in all the merriment.

The next morning the elves asked the mouse what she wanted in return for the use of her sausage skewer. She asked them if they knew how to make soup from a sausage skewer. They told her that she had seen it. They had made wonderful things from her skewer, but the little mouse knew the king would not be overly impressed with he stories. One elf said he would make her staff produce violets in the king’s presence.

The little mouse made her way back to the king. There she told her story and produced the violets. The king wasn’t impressed with the violets and said they smelled too strongly and told a mouse to put his tail in the fire so it wouldn’t smell so much like violets. The little mouse was able to keep time with her staff and it caused all of the stuff in the kitchen to make noise. There was something cooking in there, but no one knew what. The king waited for more stories of soup from a sausage skewer.

Observations

This king doesn’t sound very nice.

Themes

This king wants to know how to make some stupid soup and sends mice out on a stupid quest all for the sake of his stupid request. This mouse found some wonderful things, but were they enough to impress the king? Nope. He’s a humbug is what he is. He’s not impressed with anything and probably doomed to always be sad. I’ve known a few people like that. Look at this amazing thing! It’s not that great; it’s only a model. Shut up. Just be impressed.

Overall

I’m waiting to see what happens to this mouse.

Weigh In

Seriously, why are people humbugs?

Is being queen really worth it?

Soup from a Sausage SkewerSoup from a Sausage Skewer

A group of mice once had a feast. They talked of how wonderful it had been. Everything was most delicious. Along the way, someone mentioned an old proverb about making soup from sausage skins, but the proverb was also known by the name soup from a sausage skewer. The whole party thought about how to make this soup and no one knew. The king mouse said he would marry any lady mouse who figured out how to make it. Four mice decided they would like the chance to become the queen. They set off into the world with sausage skewers. A year passed, but only three of the mice came back. They had stories to tell about where they had been.

Observations

This whole thing sounds an awfully lot like the idea of stone soup.

It’s entirely possible that someone has put a sausage skewer in soup before. If there is anything that can soak up flavor and nutrition, at some point someone has tried to eat it. If you’re starving anything goes, even that little bit of grease left over on a sausage skewer.

Themes

This is just the introduction to this story, but it goes to show you that someone people send others on ridiculous quests without knowing whether or not a person can fulfill that request. We have those people who say, “Make it happen,” but never stop to consider whether it should happen or if it’s even possible.

Overall

This kind of soup doesn’t sound very appealing.

Weigh In

Would you eat this kind of soup?

Do you think people expect impossible accomplishments sometimes?

The Bottleneck

The Bottleneck The Bottleneck

In a birdcage there was a broken bottle neck which served as a water-glass for a little bird. There was a cork plugged into the bottle neck to prevent the water from leaking out. The bird tweeted happily, but the bottle had its own story.

The bottle was blown into existence in a glass blowing factory. From there, the bottle was filled with the best wine. Before the bottle knew it, it had been taken and put in a picnic basket. A lovely couple was going on a picnic with friends. At the picnic the couple became engaged. The bottle was opened and the contents drunk in celebration. The bottle itself was thrown off into the woods and mud.

Someone else found the bottle and took it away. There it was washed and filled with home-made medicine. This medicine was taken aboard a ship, the same ship the man from the couple was sailing on. Things were fine and the medicine was drank, but it became apparent that the ship was going to sink. The man from the couple wrote a note to his beloved and put it in the same bottle he had drunk a toast from. He tossed the bottle into the sea. The ship sank with all on board, but the bottle floated on.

The bottle ended up in a strange land whose language could not be understood by the bottle. No one there understood the writing on the paper inside of the bottle. The bottle was put away and kept for twenty years.

The bottle was eventually taken down and shipped away. The bottle had a few more adventures. It was filled with something else. It had a light inside of it. Finally, the bottle was filled with wine again and taken into a hot air balloon. Once afloat, the passenger of the hot air balloon drank a toast to himself directly from the bottle and threw the remainder over the side. Down the bottle tumbled and landed on the ground, broken, all except for the neck.

Someone picked the neck of the bottle up and gave it to an old maid for her bird’s watering dish. Little did the bottle know, this was the same woman who had drunk a toast to her upcoming marriage many years before from his neck. The woman was content and so was the bottle, but neither stopped to consider how close they had passed before their current situations.

Observations

Glass is a wonderful substance and it’s a shame so many products have gone away from being placed in glass containers. You can reuse glass. You can’t reuse crappy plastic containers, unless you’re my family and you have about a thousand Cool Whip containers shoved somewhere in the recesses of your kitchen cabinets. Glass has a more uniform manufacturing process now, but back in the day, it was blown by one person. Each container was a little different. Each work of glass had the potential to have a little flaw or have coloration that was just a little different from the next object created.

Some people will tell you that stained glass windows are melting because they’re thicker at the bottom. They’re not melting. They’re thicker on the bottom because of their manufacturing process. If a piece of glass happened to be thicker on one end, the heavy end was put on the bottom, because that only makes sense. The point in mentioning this is to show that hand-made glass had its flaws.

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There are multiple things I could pull out of this story, but let’s discuss this idea that the bottle and the old maid are connected, but they don’t know it. They dance this circle around one another their entire existence only to end up back with each other without knowing the significance they hold to one another.

It’s a bit sad in a way that they cannot recognize one another, but if they did recognize one another, they might be even more sad because they could compare that first meeting of joy to their current sad states. She is a wrinkly old woman who never got married and the bottle is but a neck now. They’re both former shadows of their former selves. At that point, wouldn’t it be better to have someone remember you as you were and not as you are now?

It makes a person wonder if there are people and objects that keep passing through our lives without us recognizing them. It’s entirely possible.

Overall

What kind of life did that beer bottle on the side of the road lead?

Weigh In

Are their any objects that kept showing back up in your life?

Do you think you would want to know the significance of an object or person that did repeatedly show up in your life, or would you choose not to know?

A String of Pearls

A String of PearlsA String of Pearls

The railway between Copenhagen and Corsar is a string of pearls. Each city along the way is a pearl. Before the railway, it took much time to travel between the locations. The cities and great buildings have changed purposes.

An old woman talks to her family about how marvelous the railway is. When she was young, she traveled from one end to the other, but it took much time. She courted her husband on the journey and they were married. Children came and they didn’t have the chance to travel again. The grandchildren do have the chance though. They can take the railway and see all the pearls of Denmark along the way.

Observations

I have never taken a long train journey. I live in a part of the country where a person drives everywhere by car. There is a bus in the city, but where I’m at, there is no bus. There are large portions of the world where people get to where they need to go by train. Going by train used to be the whole trip. You didn’t just take a train to get somewhere, you took a train to go on the journey. Railways used to be a lot fancier than they are today. There were fancy dining cars and fancy sleeping cars. People had fun, cruise kind of fun, on trains.

Themes

This another one of those “Denmark is so great” stories. I’m not saying Denmark isn’t great, I’m sure it is, but this is a nationalistic piece of literature. It’s about proclaiming the virtues of Denmark. Why is each city like a pearl? I know we don’t think of pearls as highly as we used to. These days pearls can be grown in labs. There are basically pearl farms. All kinds of pearls are grown–blue pearls, chocolate pearls, and pink pearls. It used to be that if you came by a pearl, it was because someone went out into the ocean and got it out of a sea creature. It was an item that took a lot of effort to procure.

As pearls were difficult to come by, their worth was pricey. If you had one pearl, that was something; if you had an entire string of pearls, well, who died and left you their fortune? Having a string of pearls back in the day meant you had money.

Of the railway and Denmark, each city was of great worth in and of itself, but connected together by the railway, the entire thing was now like a string of pearls.

Overall

Maybe I’m going to have to go and ride this train, see if it’s really as great as Hans said it was.

Weigh In

Do you like trains?

Would you consider going somewhere on the train a vacation?

The Bell-Deep

The Bell-DeepThe Bell-Deep

There was once a bell that rang loud and long. It rang so much that it fell into the Au. The Au flowed along and was said to be home to the Au-Mann who lived there alone. The bell fell and rang underneath the water. The part of the water where it fell was called the bell-deep. The Au-Mann was there and the bell rang still. It talked to the Au-Mann telling him the stories it knew both long and short.

Someone else said it was impossible for a bell the ring underneath the water and that there was no such thing as the Au-Mann. There was only the air and the things it carried. The air made noises and carried them. The air knew all and told all.

Observations

This story takes place in Odense on Funen Island in Denmark, which is where Hans was born. You can go and see the house he was born in. There is a waterway there called Odense A, but as far as finding out about the Au-Mann, I came up empty. If someone happens to know any local lore of the area about the Au-mann, feel free to send a message to my inbox.

Themes

This is another one of those stories that is a story, but is really more like a piece of poetry, but not so much as others. There isn’t a whole lot happening in the story. I can’t tell you whether or not there is a legend such as the Au-Mann and whether or not a bell actually fell into the water. There is a hit of scientific progress in this story though. People had a local legend to explain something that happened in the area. Is there really a part of the water where it sounds like a bell is ringing? I have no idea, but perhaps there had been a story about it. Perhaps there had been a strange noise and people made up a reason as to why that strange noise existed. Oh, it’s just that bell that fell in the water talking to the Au-Mann. Science said that the sound of a bell was carried through the air. Sound is air vibrating.

Eventually, people had to give up their belief in the bell and the Au-Mann because science said otherwise. Air vibrating isn’t nearly as interesting as the Au-Mann and his bell, but that’s scientific progress for you.

Overall

A bell must have fallen in the water at some point and people talked about it so much that it became a legend.

Weigh In

If your town got all excited about a bell falling in the water, do you think it’s time to move to a new town?

Do you think the Au-Mann is a merman?

The Jewish Maiden

The Jewish MaidenThe Jewish Maiden

There was once a school where the teacher would read from the Bible, but one student did not listen, or so they thought. Her name was Sarah and she was not a Christian. She was a Jew. During this lesson in class, she was supposed to read a book. If she ever looked up from the book while the lesson was going on, the teacher would tell her to read her book.

Sarah learned of the Bible and loved it, but she was not allowed to become a Christian. Her father had promised her mother that she would never be baptized. Sarah knew she would not be allowed to convert. The other kids made fun of her for being a Jew.

Sarah grew up and went into service in a house. There the family was Christian. God said to keep the sabbath day holy, but Sarah did not know what day to choose. One day the master of the house read a story about a Christian who had been held captive by a Pasha. When the Christian finally got free, he caught the Pasha, but let him go again, all because he knew he was supposed to love all because God had said so.

After a time, the master died and his widow lived with reduced means. She could not afford to keep Sarah on, but Sarah stayed on anyway to provide help for her mistress. She would often read to her mistress from the Bible. Sarah knew the Bible was the truth and felt conflicted about the whole thing. Sarah became sick with grief over the whole thing. She slumped down at the side of her mistress and she died.

She was buried, but not in the churchyard, outside of it, because she had not been a Christian, but the same rays of light bathed her grave that bathed the graves of the Christians. The same words floating over her grave that floating over the graves of the Christians from the pulpit. God said that some would be baptized with water while others would be baptized with the fire of the Holy Ghost.

Observations

What a load of crap. They buried this poor girl outside of the church yard, even though she probably showed more Christian caring and compassion than half the Christians buried in the church yard. Just because you add the name “Christ” to your belief system doesn’t mean you’re inherently better than someone else or inherently more righteous. Muslims, and Buddhists, and Pastafarians can be righteous as well.

I am surprised that a Christian school let a Jewish girl in. This was the 1800s, not today, where something like this might be more likely to happen, money talks.

dont-make-promises-you-dont-intend-to-keep-quote-1Themes

What a stupid promise to keep. I have to keep this stupid backwards promise no matter what, even though the person is dead, especially because the person is dead. Look here, keeping your word is important to me. If you tell me you’re going to do something, you better do that thing. I lose faith in you if you tell me, “Hey, I’m going to do this thing,” and then you don’t do it. Well, maybe not the first time, but if you tell me the same thing ten times and you still don’t do what you said you were going to do, then what is the point of listening to you?

With that being said, some promises are kind of stupid. The promise this man made to his dying wife was a stupid promise. He essentially made a promise for someone else–his child. You can’t make promises for someone else. That’s horrible. Maybe this person really feels like they need to keep that promise because it involved them, even if they didn’t make it. Way to guilt trip a person, dad. I think that religion is such a big part of a person’s life that you cannot expect a person to keep promises concerning it. If something comes along and they feel they have to change, then the change is probably what they need.

Reasonably, you want to keep promises concerning the big things in life, but at the same time, it’s such a big part of your life, that it may become necessary to break a promise in order for your life to not be completely miserable. Sarah should have said, “To heck with that promise I didn’t even make,” and joined whatever church she wanted to join.

Overall

Much like any other prejudice, having a prejudice never gets you very far in life.

Weigh In

What do you think of this girl’s dad?

What do you think of churchyard burying practices?

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