: Battle of the frogs and mice) was a short poem of Ancient Greece
. It was written in the same time and style of Homer
, sometime during the 400s BCE
, but not by Homer himself (although less modern commentary
attributed it to him). Also supposed to have written it are Pigres of Halicarnassus
and (more recently), an anonymous member of Alexander the Great
's kingdom. As the title suggests, it is a mock
poem, transplanting a mundane activity into the fantastic (this has been a common technique throughout history, another example is The Rape of the Lock
The poem's story reflects a fable of Aesop that some may find familiar. A mouse named Psicharpax ('crumbstealer') and a frog named Physignathos ('puffcheek') encounter each other. The frog shows graciously shows his hospitality by inviting Psycharpax to his kingdom in a lake, and the mouse accepts. Climbing on to the back of the frog, they set off swimming for their destination, but the sudden appearence of a water snake sends Physignathos into a panic and he dives to escape. Psicharpax is left to drown, a tragedy witnessed by another brother-mouse. Sending word back to the mouse kingdom of the travesty, they attack, setting of the Battle of the Frogs and Mice.
The gods aren't particularly amused by this bloody struggle. As the mice begin to take the upper hand, Athena requests Zeus to step in and clear things up. Deus ex machina. The task is not as easy as it first sounds, however, as a hail of lightning bolts to both sides don't seem to have much effect on the frogs' and mice's fighting spirits. Irritated, Zeus sends a plague of crabs instead, which finally succeed in ending the battle.