The mouse, the bird and the sausage have found a nice way to live together. One day the bird decides that they will change tasks. It leads to disaster…
The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage is a Brothers Grimm fairy tale about three companions. They live happily together and each does his part. One day the bird wants to change tasks. They reluctantly agree to try, but the sausage gets eaten, the mouse gets burned and the bird drowns.
Complete text The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage
The mouse, the bird and the sausage have a happy life
Once upon on a time a mouse, a bird, and a sausage became companions. They kept house together, lived well and happily with each other and wonderfully increased their possessions.
The bird’s work was to fly every day into the forest and bring back wood. The mouse had to carry water, light the fire and lay the table. The sausage did the cooking.
He who is too well off is always longing for something new.
One day the bird met with another bird on the way. He told him about his excellent circumstances and boasted of them. The other bird, however called him a poor simpleton for his hard work.
He said that the two at home had the good times. Because when the mouse had made her fire and carried her water, she went into her little room to rest until they called her to lay the table.
The sausage just stayed by the pot and watched the food was cooking well. When it was nearly time for dinner, it rolled itself once or twice through the broth or vegetables and then they were buttered, salted, and ready.
When the bird came home and laid his burden down, they sat down to dinner, and after they had had their meal, they slept their fill till next morning, and that was a splendid life.
They change the tasks
Next day the bird, prompted by the other bird, would go no more into the forest. He had been servant long enough and had been made a fool of by them. They must change about for once and try to arrange it in another way.
The mouse and the sausage begged most earnestly, but the bird would have it his way, and said it must be tried. They cast lots and the lot fell on the sausage to carry wood, the mouse became cook and the bird was to fetch water.
The sausage is eaten
What happened? The little sausage went out to the forest, the little bird lighted the fire and the mouse stayed by the pot and waited for the sausage to come home and bring wood for next day. But the little sausage stayed away so long that they both feared something was wrong.
The bird flew out a little way in the air to meet it. Not far off, however, the sausage had met a dog on the road. The dog had fallen on the poor sausage as lawful booty and had seized and swallowed it. The bird charged the dog with an act of barefaced robbery. Useless, because the dog said he had found forged letters on the sausage, on which account its life was forfeited to him.
Sadly the bird took up the wood, flew home and related what he had seen and heard. They were very troubled, but agreed to do their best and remain together.
The mouse is burnt
The bird laid the cloth on the table. The mouse cooked the food and wanted to dress it. He got into the pot as the sausage used to do, and rolled and crept among the vegetables to mix them. But before she got into the midst of them she felt her skin burning and lost her skin and hair and life in the attempt.
When the bird came to carry the dinner to the table, there was no cook to be found. Panicking the bird threw the wood here and there, called and searched, but still: no cook!
The bird drowns in the well
He had not been careful and the wood caught fire. It flamed upwards and the bird hastened to fetch water. The bucket dropped from his claws into the well and he fell down with it. He could not recover himself, but drowned there.
Tips for Telling The Mouse, the Bird and the Sausage
- This is one of the funnier Grimm stories, although it ends in a tragedy. If you tell it too serious it does not work (expect maybe when you do it deadpan). Think about the contrast: the more we laugh and enjoy the three characters, the more we will be sad with their end.
- Take the time to paint the picture of the life they have together. Make your own version by imagining what else they did at home and how their life looked. Did they play games together in the evening? How did they celebrate their birthdays?
- This story, as funny as it is, has a clear moral. Is that your moral? What advice would you have given mouse, bird and sausage? This is a perfect story for some funny comments at the end.
All Questions Answered
It was written down by the Brothers Grimm in their collection ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’. Their sources were Hans Michael Moscherosch and various oral sources.
The Brothers Grimm included this story in 1812 in the first edition of their collection of fairy tales.
Don’t change something that works well. Just do your part, revolution leads to tragedy.