Who Will Bell The Cat? An Aesop’s Fable

      Once there was a bustling community of mice that flourished in a grocer’s warehouse. The produce was abundant and the grains, plentiful. Life was good. Nobody could have dreamed that this idyllic life would come to a screeching halt. But come to a screeching halt it did,when the grocer decided to get himself a cat. 

      The mice were tiny and fast, but they were no match to the cat. Armed with stealth, skill and speed, the cat went through the mice population like a food junkie raiding a vending machine. Pretty soon, the mice were disappearing fast. They were living in terror. The situation had become so dire that their leader called for an emergency council.

      “As you all know, ever since the arrival of the cat, life has not been the same. We have lost many a loved one to this ferocious beast. We need to come up with a plan to solve this problem. Does anybody here have any suggestions?” asked their leader, a mouse grown stooped with sorrow over the rash of deaths he had witnessed.

      Many suggestions were put forth. Some were silly, a few lame, others, outrageous. Not one made sense to the group, until a voice from the shadows spoke up.

      “We should bell the cat.” 
      Every one turned around to see where the voice was coming from. It was from one of the teenage mice. He was a scrawny thing, but he had a fervor in his voice that fired everybody up. He continued, “If we put a bell on the cat, we would hear him coming a mile away. That will give us plenty of time to hide.”

      The thought of the cat with a bell warning everyone of his approach cheered everybody up. Everyone agreed that putting a bell on the cat was an excellent idea indeed. Everyone felt hopeful. Now those ambush attacks would soon come to an end. Happy days would be here once again. One note from that bell would buy them precious time. The mice folk could taste the freedom that had of late been denied to them. They were ready to celebrate when a voice was heard above the din.

      “Who will bell the cat?”

      This question was posed by an elderly gentleman mouse who had seen his share of talk but no action.

      The crowd fell silent. Every one looked around, hoping for a volunteer. None was to be found.

      “I would bell the cat, I would,” stammered the young fellow whose suggestion it was, “if I weren’t so sickly.”

      Everybody glanced at him and knew he wouldn’t survive a close encounter with a cat, sleeping or otherwise.

      The elderly gentleman stated, “I don’t have long to live and would not mind sacrificing my life, but I am too old and feeble to even attempt belling that cat.”

      Soon every single one of them spoke up as to why they could not put a bell around a sleeping cat. It soon became very apparent that no one was brave enough to bell the cat.

      The crowd eventually dispersed. They all went back to their own families with a heavy heart. They realized that the best-laid plans amount to nothing if no one has the courage to make them happen. 

        So it was that the mice continued to live in mortal dread of the cat all their short lives. And all because no one was brave enough to bell the cat.

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