3. Was it right or wrong of the hunter to set the snare?
4. Do you think the cat was wrong to lie in wait for the mouse?
Exactly what the hunter expected happened. The cat came as usual to watch for the mouse, and caught sight of him running across the end of the path. Puss dashed after him; and just as she thought she really had got him this time, she found herself caught by the neck, for she had put her head into one of the snares. She was nearly strangled and could scarcely even mew. The mouse was so close that he heard the feeble mew, and in a terrible fright, thinking the cat was after him, he peeped through the stems of the barley to make sure which way to run to get away from her. What was his delight when he saw his enemy in such trouble and quite unable to do him any harm!
Now it so happened that the owl and the lizard were also in the barley-field, not very far away from the cat, and they too saw the distress their hated enemy was in. They also caught sight of the little mouse peeping through the barley; and the owl thought to himself, “I’ll have you, my little friend, now puss cannot do me any harm,” whilst the lizard darted away into the sunshine, feeling glad that the cat and the owl were neither of them now likely to trouble their heads about him. The owl flew quietly to a tree hard by to watch what would happen, feeling so sure of having the mouse for his dinner that he was in no hurry to catch him.
5. What would you have done if you had been the mouse, when you saw the cat in the snare?
6. Was the owl wise or foolish to wait before he caught the mouse?
The mouse, small and helpless though he was, was a wise little creature. He saw the owl fly up into the tree, and knew quite well that if he did not take care he would serve as dinner to that great strong bird. He knew too that, if he went within reach of the claws of the cat, he would suffer for it. “How I do wish,” he thought to himself, “I could make friends with the cat, now she is in distress, and get her to promise not to hurt me if ever she gets free. As long as I am near the cat, the owl will not dare to come after me.” As he thought and thought, his eyes got brighter and brighter, and at last he decided what he would do. He had, you see, kept his presence of mind; that is to say, he did not let his fright of the cat or the owl prevent him from thinking clearly. He now ventured forth from amongst the barley, and coming near enough to the cat for her to see him quite clearly, but not near enough for her to reach him with her claws, or far enough away for the owl to get him without danger from those terrible claws, he said to the cat in a queer little squeaky voice: “Dear Puss, I do not like to see you in such a fix. It is true we have never been exactly friends, but I have always looked up to you as a strong and noble enemy. If you will promise never to do me any harm, I will do my best to help you. I have very sharp teeth, and I might perhaps be able to nibble through the string round your beautiful neck and set you free. What do you think about it?”