A fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm
Once upon a time a mouse, a bird, and a sausage became
companions, kept house together, lived well and happily in
peace, 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, but the sausage had to cook.
He who is too well off is always longing for something new. One
day the bird met with another bird, to whom it related its
excellent circumstances and boasted of them. The other
bird, however, called it a poor simpleton for his hard work,
but said that the two at home had good times. For 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 stayed by the pot, saw that the food
was cooking well, and, 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.
Next day the bird, prompted by the other bird, would go no
more into the wood, saying that he had been servant long
enough, and had been made a fool of by them, and that they
must change about for once, and try to arrange it in another
way. And, though the mouse and the sausage also begged
most earnestly, the bird would have his way, and said it must
be tried. They cast lots about it, and the lot fell on
the sausage who was to carry wood, the mouse became cook,
and the bird was to fetch water.
What happened. The little sausage went out towards the wood,
the little bird lighted the fire, the mouse stayed by the
pot and waited alone until little sausage came home and
brought wood for next day. But the little sausage stayed so
long on the road that they both feared something was amiss,
and the bird flew out a little way in the air to meet it.
Not far off, however, it met a dog on the road who had fallen
on the poor sausage as lawful booty, and had seized and
swallowed it. The bird charged the dog with an act of
bare-faced robbery, but words were useless, for the dog said
he had found forged letters on the sausage, on which account
its life was forfeited to him.
The bird sadly took up the wood, flew home, and related what
he had seen and heard. They were much troubled, but agreed
to do their best and remain together. The bird therefore
laid the table, and the mouse made ready the food, and wanted
to dress it, and to
get into the pot as the sausage used to do, and roll and
creep amongst the vegetables to mix them. But before she
got into the midst of them she was stopped, and lost her
skin and hair and life in the attempt.
When the bird came to carry in the dinner, no cook was
there. In its distress the bird threw the wood here and there,
called and searched, but no cook was to be found. Owing to his
carelessness the wood caught fire, so that a conflagration
broke out. The bird hastened to fetch water, but the bucket
dropped into the well, and he fell in with it, and could not
recover himself, but had to drown there.