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MouseBirdSausageKatherineCaprio

Recent illustration for "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" by Katherine Caprio.

"The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" (German: "Von dem Mäuschen, Vögelchen und der Bratwurst") is a German fairy tale. It is included in Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children's and Household Tales), the 1812 anthology of German folktales compiled by the Brothers Grimm.

The story's three title characters share a house. They are each assigned certain chores that they have to carry out each day. When the Bird becomes dissatisfied with the situation, they decide to swap chores. Unfortunately, that decision proves fatal for all of them.

Jarvis Cocker, the British musician and former front man of the band Pulp, recorded a reading of Margaret Hunt's 1884 English translation of "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" without any musical accompaniments. The recording was originally made available as part of the 2006 Jarviscast podcast series, for which Cocker read six different short stories. It can also be heard on the B side of Cocker's 2007 single "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time".

Plot

The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage live together. They each have certain chores that they need to do every day. The Mouse fetches water, lights the fire and lays the table. The Bird fetches firewood. The Sausage does the cooking. It does this by dipping itself into a pot of boiling water and vegetables to make broth.

Illustration at page 24 in Grimm's Household Tales (Edwardes, Bell)

1912 illustration for "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" by the British artist Robert Anning Bell.

The Bird meets another bird. The other bird says that the Mouse and the Sausage are taking advantage of the Bird. That is because, unlike the Bird that spends all day outside looking for firewood, the Mouse and the Sausage spend most of the day inside the house and can spend a lot of time relaxing and doing nothing. When the Bird returns home, it says that it will not do all of the hard work for the Mouse and the Sausage anymore. The Mouse and the Sausage are unable to change the Bird's mind. They therefore agree to draw lots to determine who will do what. The Bird will fetch water, light the fire and lay the table. The Sausage will fetch firewood. The Mouse will cook.

The Sausage spends so much time out looking for firewood that the other two become worried. The Bird goes out to look for the Sausage. It finds out that the Sausage has been eaten by a dog. The Mouse and the Bird are both saddened by the loss of their friend but they decide to continue living together and carry on with their chores.

The Mouse tries to cook by copying what the Sausage used to do. It is killed when it jumps into a pot of boiling water. The Bird goes into the kitchen to fetch dinner. It cannot see any sign of the Mouse and begins to panic. In its panic, the Bird scatters firewood everywhere. The wood catches fire and threatens to burn down the house. The Bird goes to get water to put the fire out but falls into the well and drowns.

External links

  • Versions of "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" in German and English on Wikisource.
  • Public domain audiobooks of "The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage" in German and English on YouTube.