Stories & Tales
The Wolf and the Mouse

The wolf and the mouse wanted to prepare for winter together, so they rented eight qirat - one ¬third of an acre - of land. On this land they planted onions. At the end of the season, when the onions were grown and were fully ripe, the wolf said to the mouse, "Brother, come! It is time to reap our crop. Let's divide the work now so that each one of us gets his share. I will divide.”


The mouse, being weaker and smaller than the wolf, did not argue. He really cannot disobey or tell the wolf what to do. The mouse replied: “whatever you say”. The wolf continued: "And I will choose.”


Again the mouse replied, "And you choose too! You divide, you choose, and you leave me whatever you wish not to have."


The wolf said, “Fine. Mouse, I am going to choose what's above the ground. What is below the ground is yours. Whether it is good or bad, I have nothing to do with it." The wolf had seen the leaves of the onions. They were very large and green and healthy, for the land is rich. He had no idea what is below the ground; the wolf is not, by nature, a farmer.


The wolf went and got all his relatives and gave them sickles to reap the crop; they charged on the onion crop and in no time it was all cut down and divided up into bundles. They carried the leaves to the threshing ground, but in two days the leaves were dry.


Meanwhile the mouse went and got his friends and relatives and he said to them, "I have a crop of onions that I planted together with the wolf, and I need your help to reap the crop." The mouse family was poor: They did not have the necessary tools. They borrowed a hoe, and they borrowed an axe. They worked for several days. In the end they had a nice pile of very good onions, large and sweet. They said to a passing farmer on a donkey, "By God, would you be kind enough to lend us your donkey so that we may take these onions home?" The farmer was kind and helped them load the onions into two rope sacks, which they suspended on the donkey's back with two forked sticks. And they headed home.

The wolf had nothing but the leaves. When he tried to sell them, they brought him only three ten-piaster pieces. The mouse and his relatives sold their onions for no less than three hundred pounds! The wolf was extremely sorrowful. He couldn't blame the mouse, since he himself was the one who made the division. He said to himself, “with the next crop I will get the root."

The following year, the mouse asked, "What are we going to plant?"


"We are going to plant wheat," answered the wolf.


So they planted wheat. Later the wheat grew and ripened, and it was time to reap it. The wolf said to the mouse, "Listen, mouse. We are going to divide the crop in the field."


“All right,” said the mouse.


The wolf said menacingly, “Last time we did things your way, and I did not want to use my strength over you. I will choose this time, and each will go and attend to his own work.”


The mouse did not dare contradict the wolf, and replied: “whatever you say.”


“From underneath the spike down to the ground, the crop is mine. The spike will be yours. Tomorrow you remove the tops of the wheat, and all the rest in the filed is mine.”

The mouse called his relatives, and their relatives, and all his acquaintances. They raced to the field and trimmed off the spikes of the wheat, and took their crop to the threshing ground. He and his family soon had a mountain of beautiful golden wheat.


The wolf got his relatives to help him reap the stems and they even pulled out the roots. Of course, they ended up with nothing but chaff. The wolf didn’t have enough money to pay the camel driver who had carried the crop to the threshing ground for him.


He went to the mouse and saw the mouse had wheat that was worth at least a hundred pounds. He said to the mouse: “Listen, this division will not do. I cannot even pay for the sweat of the camel driver. Tomorrow we are going to have a race. The one who reaches the heap of wheat first will get it all. We will begin at the palm tree over there. As soon as I say, 'Hoop!' we race. Don’t you think that is a good idea?”
The mouse said in despair, "Whatever you say. I leave my affairs to God.”


But the mouse was no fool. He knew he could never outrun the wolf, but he had to protect what he had worked so hard for. He ran to his relatives and friends and said to them, "Listen, we are in danger. The wolf wants to get our wheat. What should we do?"


They answered him, "Whatever you tell us to do."


He got fifteen or twenty mice and went to the threshing ground and said to them, "The wolf and I will stand at the starting line. One of you should stand on top of the wheat pile, and the rest of you scatter between here and there."


When the wolf shouted, "Hoop!" the race began. The mouse quickly fell behind. Every time the wolf shouted, "Mouse?" a mouse would reply, "Here I am ahead of you."




"Here I am ahead of you!"




"Here I am ahead of you!"


The wolf ran very hard and fast. Ten meters before the heap, he called, "Mouse!"


The mouse replied, "Here I am on the top of the heap! You can't take it from me. You have used all your tricks, and it is no use."


The wolf knew he had been outwitted, and that his strength did not give him the right to steal what was not his. He turned tail and went back to his home.