A Mountain emitting terrible noises was said to be in labor. But, as people watched to see what would happen, all they saw come out of it was a mouse.
Don’t make a big fuss over nothing.
One day people noticed a Mountain in labor; smoke coming out of its summit, the earth quaking at their feet, trees crashing, and huge rocks tumbling. They felt sure something horrible was going to happen. They all gathered together to see what terrible thing this could be. They waited and they waited, but nothing came. Suddenly there was a still more violent earthquake, and a huge gap appeared in the side of the Mountain. The people all fell down upon their knees and waited. At last, a teeny mouse poked its little head and bristles out of the gap and came running down towards them.
THE Mountains were said to be in labour, and uttered most dreadful groans. People came together, far and near, to see what birth would be produced; and after they had waited a considerable time in expectation, out crept a Mouse.
Great cry and little wool is the English proverb; the sense of which bears an exact proportion to this fable. By which are exposed, all those who promise something exceeding great, but come off with a production ridiculously little. Projectors of all kinds, who endeavour bv artificial rumours to raise the expectations of mankind, and then, by their mean performances, defeat and disappoint them, have, time out of mind, been lashed with the recital of this fable. How agreeably surprising is it to see an unpromising favourite, whom the caprice of fortune has placed at the helm of state, serving the commonwealth with justice and integrity, instead of smothering and embezzling the public treasure to his own private and wicked ends! And, on the contrary, how melancholy, how dreadful, or rather, how exasperating and provoking a sight is it, to behold one whose constant declarations for liberty and the public good, have raised people’s expectations of him to the highest pitch, as soon as he is got into power, exerting his whole art and cunning to ruin and enslave his country! The sanguine hopes of all those that wished well to virtue, and flattered themselves with a reformation of every thing that opposed the well-being of the community, vanish away in smoke, and are lost in a dark, gloomy, uncomfortable prospect.
Thomas Bewick (The Mountains in Labour)
The Mountains were said to be in labour, and uttered the most dreadful groans. People came together, far and near, to see what birth would be produced; and after they had waited a considerable time in expectation, out crept a Mouse.
Projectors of all kinds, who endeavour by artful rumours, large promises, and vast preparations, to raise the expectations of mankind, and then by their mean performances disappoint them, have, time out of mind, been lashed with the recital of this Fable. It should teach us to suspect those who promise very largely, and to examine cautiously what grounds they proceed upon, and whether their pretensions are not intended to render us their tools, or the dupes of their artifices. It likewise teaches us not to rely implicitly upon those constant declarations for liberty and the public good, which artful politicians use as stepping stones to power; but who having raised the people’s expectations to the highest pitch, and obtained their desire by the public enthusiasm, then turn their whole, art and cunning to embezzling the public treasure for their own private wicked ends, or to ruin and enslave their country; or at best but imitate the bad conduct of those whom they turned out by their clamour, while the sanguine hopes of all those that wished well to virtue, and flattered themselves with a reformation of every thing that opposed the well-being of the community, vanish away in smoke, and are lost in a gloomy uncomfortable prospect. The Fable likewise intimates, that the uncertain issue of all human undertakings should induce us not to make pompous boasts of ourselves, but to guard against promising any thing exceedingly great, for fear of coming off with a production ridiculously little. If we set out modestly, and perform more than we engaged to do, we shall find our fame grow upon us, and every unexpected addition we make to our plan will raise us more and more in the good opinion of the world; but if, on the contrary, we make ample professions of the greatness of our designs, and the excellence of our own abilities, it will too often happen, that instead of swelling our reputation, we shall only blow the trumpet to our shame.
A Mountain from which were heard to proceed dreadful groans was said to be in labour, and people flocked near to see what would be produced. After waiting till they were quite tired, out crept a Mouse.
A mountain was once greatly agitated. Loud groans and noises were heard, and crowds of people came from all parts to see what was the matter. While they were assembled in anxious expectation of some terrible calamity, out came a Mouse.
Don’t make much ado about nothing.
When mountains cry out, people may well be excus’d the apprehension of some prodigious birth. This was the case here in the fable. The neighbourhood were all at their wits end, to consider what would be the issue of that labour, and instead of the dreadful monster that they expected, out comes at last a ridiculous mouse.
Much ado about nothing.
Heinrich Steinhöwel (Of the Earth Which Was About to Give Birth)
Mus et Montes
Rumor erat parturire montes. Homines undique accurrunt et circumstant, monstri quidpiam non sine pavore exspectantes. Montes tandem parturiunt; exit ridiculus mus. Tum omnes risu emoriebantur.
Reprehendit haec fabula iactantiam illorum qui cum magna profitentur, vix parva faciunt. Vetat etiam inanes timores; plerumque etenim periculi metus est ipso periculo gravior et ridiculum est quod tantum formidamus.