The Weasel and The Mice

An infirm Weasel tried to trick mice by rolling in flour as a disguise. An older mouse saw through the trick.

Where strength fails, guile may succeed.

Townsend VersionTownsend version

A weasel, inactive from age and infirmities, was not able to catch mice as he once did. He therefore rolled himself in flour and lay down in a dark corner. A Mouse, supposing him to be food, leaped upon him, and was instantly caught and squeezed to death. Another perished in a similar manner, and then a third, and still others after them. A very old Mouse, who had escaped many a trap and snare, observed from a safe distance the trick of his crafty foe and said, “Ah! you that lie there, may you prosper just in the same proportion as you are what you pretend to be!”

L'Estrange VersionL’Estrange version

An old weazle that was now almost past mousing, try’d what she could do by her wits, when she found she could live no longer upon the square, and so conveys her self into a meal-tub for the mice to come to her, since she could not go to them. They came thick and threefold for a time, as she expected they should, till at last, one experienc’d stager that had baffled twenty traps and tricks before, discover’d the plot, and quite spoyl’d the jest.


The want of force, strength, and other abilities to compass our ends must be supply’d by industry and intention.

1001Mustela et Mus Grandaevus

Mustela, inveterata nec iam amplius mures venari praevalens, arte iuvari voluit ut vitam habere posset. Igitur in farina se coniecit et abscondit, ubi murium frequentiam esse scivit. Ibi ergo in insidiis latitans, mures sine labore capiendos exspectavit. Cepit itaque tres iuvenes et minus cautos mures. Tandem venit grandaevus mus et circumspectus, qui de laqueis et muscipulis non semel evaserat, vidensque illam insidias habentem, cognita fraude eius, sic eam allocuta est, “Minus cautos mures decipere quidempotesti; sed me minime capietis. Ego enim vos intus in cute novi.”

Perry #511