The Frightened Mouse

Small mouse - frightened of bigger mice.
One day heard about a magician - lived across the river - could change people.
Mouse went to magician. "I want to be a BIG mouse."
Magic words - mouse changed into a BIG mouse. Proud. Didn't say thank you to magician.

Next day big mouse frightened by cats. Mouse went to magician. "I want to be a BIG cat."
Magic words - changed. Proud. Didn't say thank you.

Next day big cat frightened by dogs. Cat went to magician. "I want to be a BIG dog."
Changed. Proud. Didn't say thank you.

Next day big dog frightened by horse. Dog went to magician. "Never want to be frightened again - I want to be a BIG TIGER."

Magic words - changed into small mouse.
"That's because you didn't say thank you!"


I heard this tale many years ago from an Indian teller, whose name I no longer recall.
As a type, it is a chain story, common in many different cultures. The Grimms' "Von dem Fischer un syner Fru" ("The Old Woman who lived in a Vinegar Bottle") or the title story I tell on the teaching video The Strongest of Them All are other examples.

Here is an article, pdfTelling The Frightened Mouse as a participation story.
First printed in Primary English (Jan. 2003), it is reproduced here with kind permission of Pädagogischer Zeitschriftenverlag.

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