A Mountain in Labor

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.

Eliot-JacobsEliot/Jacobs Version

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.

Samuel CroxallSamuel Croxall

Croxall - Mountain in LaborTHE 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.


Whittingham - Mountains in Labor

C. Whittingham (1814)

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.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

Mountain in LaborA 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.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

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.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

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.

1001Mus 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.

Perry #520