The Bat and The Weasels

A Bat caught by a Weasel pleaded to live as the Weasel thought he was a bird and wasn’t. Caught again he pleaded as a Mouse. Once more free.

It is sometimes wise to turn circumstances.

A Bat fell, was caught by a Weasel, and pleaded to be spared. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him he was not a bird, but a mouse and was set free.

The Bat was later caught by a second Weasel and again pleaded to be spared. The Weasel refused, saying he was the enemy of all mice. The Bat assured him he was not a mouse, but a bird and was again set free.

JBR CollectionJBR Collection

A Weasel seized upon a Bat, who begged hard for his life. “No, no,” said the Weasel; “I give no quarter to Birds.” “Birds!” cried the Bat. “I am no Bird. I am a Mouse. Look at my body.” And so she got off that time. A few days after she fell into the clutches of another Weasel, who, unlike the former, had a stronger antipathy to Mice than to Birds. The Bat cried for mercy. “No,” said the Weasel; “no mercy to a Mouse.” “But,” said the Bat, “you can see from my wings that I am a Bird.” And so she escaped that time as well.

Aesop For ChildrenAesop For Children

Bat and Weasel

Milo Winter (1919)

A Bat blundered into the nest of a Weasel, who ran up to catch and eat him. The Bat begged for his life, but the Weasel would not listen.

“You are a Mouse,” he said, “and I am a sworn enemy of Mice. Every Mouse I catch, I am going to eat!”

“But I am not a Mouse!” cried the Bat. “Look at my wings. Can Mice fly? Why, I am only a Bird! Please let me go!”

The Weasel had to admit that the Bat was not a Mouse, so he let him go. But a few days later, the foolish Bat went blindly into the nest of another Weasel. This Weasel happened to be a bitter enemy of Birds, and he soon had the Bat under his claws, ready to eat him.

“You are a Bird,” he said, “and I am going to eat you!”

“What,” cried the Bat, “I, a Bird! Why, all Birds have feathers! I am nothing but a Mouse. ‘Down with all Cats,’ is my motto!”

And so the Bat escaped with his life a second time.


Set your sails with the wind.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A Bat who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel pleaded to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bat, and thus a second time escaped.


It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

A weazle had seiz’d upon a bat, and the bat begg’d for life. No, no, says the weazle, I give no quarter to birds. Ay (says the bat) but I’m a mouse you see; look on my body else: and so she got off for that bout. The same bat had the fortune to be taken a while after by another weazle; and there the poor bat was forc’d to beg for mercy once again. No, says the weazle, no mercy to a mouse. Well (says t’other) but you may see by my wings that I’m a bird; and so the bat scap’d in both capacities, by playing the trimmer.


Trimming in some cases, is foul, and dishonest; in others, laudable; and in some again, not only honest, but necessary. The nicety lies in the skill of distinguishing upon cases, times, and degrees.

1001Vespertilio et Mustelae Duae

Vespertilio, in terram delapsus, a mustela comprehensus fuit, a qua cum iamiam neci daretur, eam enixe sua pro salute rogabat. Illa vero ipsum dimittere se posse negante, quod natura volucribus omnibus inimica esset, vespertilio non avem, sed murem se esse affirmabat. Quapropter incolumis dimissus fuit. Deinde autem cum iterum cecidisset et ab alia mustela captus esset, tunc etiam ne voraretur orabat. Ea vero muribus omnibus se inimicam esse dicente, tum ille se non murem, sed vespertilionem esse adfirmavit atque liber rursus evasit. Ita contigit ut bis nomen mutando salutem consequeretur.


Oportet igitur nos etiam iisdem in rebus non continuo manere illud animo considerantes quod qui ad tempus mutantur, plerumque vel maxima pericula effugiunt.

Perry #172