TELL ME A STORY: Mouse Deer meets the ScareCrow
TELL ME A STORY
Mouse Deer meets the Scarecrow
(Adapted from a Vietnamese legend)
Mouse Deer was tiny, oh yes, but he was smart, too. All the creatures knew the saucy little fellow had tricks up his sleeve. There he was, scampering through the forest, singing his song, while the other forest creatures talked among themselves.
"He is a smart little fellow," the monkeys chattered. "Did you hear the story about the day Mouse Deer wanted to cross the river to reach that island over there?" one of them asked.
The others shook their heads, so the monkey told the tale about the way Mouse Deer convinced the crocodiles that the king had demanded that they be counted. The crocodiles, proud that the king wished to know more about them, quickly lined up beside each other in the river. "Mouse Deer just walked across their backs, counting as he went," Monkey said, "and after he was finished eating island fruit, he walked right back, and those crocodiles never knew they had been tricked."
The monkeys howled with laughter. Then one of the monkeys chuckled, "What about the time he fooled Tiger?" and the others howled again because they remembered the day Tiger thought he was going to eat Mouse Deer. That time Mouse Deer convinced Tiger that he was guarding the king's pudding, and Tiger's mouth began to water. He begged Mouse Deer to let him eat that big pudding, so sure enough, Mouse Deer shrugged and ran away. Tiger leaped upon the pudding -- but it was, in truth, no pudding at all. Tiger ate a mud puddle!
Oh, how the monkeys laughed. They remembered Tiger's face, covered in mud.
Mouse Deer was passing by as they laughed, and he sang, "I am the smartest forest fellow! Nobody can catch me! And now I shall eat all the farmer's vegetables!"
"Watch out," the monkeys called, because they had heard about the farmer's plan, but Mouse Deer was singing too loudly to hear their warnings.
So Mouse Deer approached the farmer's fields, and he laughed and laughed when he saw the scarecrow the farmer had put in the middle of his sweet potato field. "Ha!" he scoffed, "as if that can stop me. I'm not afraid of any old scarecrow." And to show what he thought of the thing, he gave it a kick.
But oh, was he in for a surprise. The scarecrow was covered with rubber tree sap, and Mouse Deer's foot stuck. He tried to pull himself free with his front legs, but when he did, they stuck, too. Now, in desperation, he pushed with his last leg, and naturally the fourth leg stuck as well.
He pulled and pulled, and twisted and turned, but nothing could free him. When the farmer saw he had captured Mouse Deer, he ran out in triumph to his sweet potato field.
"Ha ha, I've finally caught you, Mouse Deer," the farmer said, and he pulled Mouse Deer off the scarecrow and carried him to the chicken coop. The chickens surrounded him and cackled madly. "Tomorrow you shall be supper, Mouse Deer," the farmer said happily, and he shut Mouse Deer inside.
Now the monkeys had seen all this, and besides, they knew it was coming, and while they chattered about the events, Dog passed by. "Oh, those noisy monkeys," he growled. "They make almost as much racket as the chickens."
"Speaking of the chickens," one of the monkeys said, "did you hear Mouse Deer is locked up in your master's chicken coop?"
When Dog heard this, he hurried home and ran to the chicken coop door. "Ah ha," Dog called through the bamboo cage. "So my master caught you at last!"
But Mouse Deer, thinking fast, said, "Caught me? Oh, no, you're wrong. I'm in here tonight awaiting your master's preparations. He's holding a dinner tomorrow night in my honor."
"What?" Dog asked. "In your honor? Why, that's not fair. I am his loyal companion. I am his sidekick, his buddy, his pal. I'm always there for him. Why doesn't he honor me?"
Mouse Deer smiled, for this was turning out just as he'd planned. "Oh, Dog, I agree. You have been loyal, haven't you? You should be the guest who is honored. Why don't you take my place in here?"
Now Dog's heart swelled in anticipation. How he would love to be a guest of honor! "Are you sure that's all right, Mouse Deer?" he asked, and Mouse Deer said, "Oh, of course." So with his snout, Dog lifted the latch of the chicken coop. He'd long ago learned to do that. And Mouse Deer stepped daintily outside.
"Thank you, thank you," Dog said to Mouse Deer, and Mouse Deer bowed to him. "My pleasure," he said, and then he scampered into the forest, free once more.
The next night the monkeys had lots to chatter about, for the farmer had punished Dog severely when he discovered how his loyal friend had let Mouse Deer escape. "That Mouse Deer is a clever one," the monkeys agreed.
And all the forest creatures had to agree.
Posted by villianous
at 3:45 AM