Andersen Fairy Tales, Andersen-Hans Christian

What the Second Mouse Had to Tell

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.


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.


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.


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?



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