Once upon a time, when the Field Mouse was out gathering wild beans for the winter, his neighbor, the Buffalo, came down to graze in the meadow.
The little Mouse did not like this. He knew that the buffalo would mow down all the long grass with his prickly tongue, and there would be no place in which to hide.
He decided to offer battle like a man.
“Ho, Friend Buffalo, I challenge you to a fight!” he yelled in a small, squeaky voice.
The Buffalo paid no attention, thinking it a joke.
The Mouse angrily repeated his challenge.
The buffalo went on quietly grazing while the little Mouse laughed with contemp.
The Buffalo at last looked at him and said, “You had better keep still, little one, or I shall come over there and step on you, and there will be nothing left!”
“Ha! You can’t do that! “replied the Mouse.
“If you speak to me again, I will come and put an end to you!” said the Buffalo, getting angry.
“I dare you! “said the Mouse.
The buffalo ran at him, trampling the grass and tearing up the earth with his front hoofs.
He looked for the Mouse, but he could not see him anywhere.
Just then he felt a scratching inside his right ear.
He shook his head as hard as he could and twitched his ears back and forth.
Bellowing madly, he ran as fast as he could in circles, then stood trembling.
The Mouse jumped out of his ear, and said, “Do you agree now that I am master?”
“No! “bellowed the Buffalo, and again he ran toward the Mouse, to trample him under his feet.
The little fellow was nowhere to be seen, but in a minute the Buffalo felt him in the other ear. Once more he raged in pain, and ran over the prairie, leaping high in the air.
At last he fell on a rock and lay dead.
The Mouse came out of his ear, and stood proudly upon his dead body.
“Ho, Ho!” he boasted. “I have killed the greatest of all beasts. This will show everyone that I am master of the meadow!”
He jumped on the carcass and called loudly for a knife to cut up the buffalo.
In another part of the meadow, Red Fox was hunting mice for his breakfast.
He was very hungry and suddenly saw the little mouse. He jumped upon him with all four feet, but the little Mouse got away.
All at once the Fox thought he heard a distant call: “Bring a knife! Bring a knife!”
Red Fox started in the direction of the sound. At the first knoll he stopped and listened.
Just then he heard the call plainly, but in a very tiny, thin voice, “Bring a knife!”
Red Fox ran toward the voice as fast as he could.
He came upon the huge body of the Buffalo lying on the grass. The little Mouse still stood upon the body.
“I want you to cut up this Buffalo for me and I will give you some of the meat,” ordered the Mouse.
“Thank you, my friend, I shall be glad to help you,” replied the Fox, politely.
So the Fox butchered the Buffalo, while the Mouse sat upon a mound nearby, giving orders.
“You must cut the meat into small pieces,” he said to the Fox.
When the Fox had finished his work, the Mouse gave him a tiny piece of liver. He swallowed it quickly and smacked his lips.
“Please, may I have another piece?” he asked quite humbly.
“No, I gave you a very large piece! How greedy you are!” exclaimed the Mouse.
“You may have some of the blood clots,” he sneered.
So the poor Fox took the blood clots and even licked off the grass. He was really very hungry.
“Please may I take home a piece of the meat?” he begged. “I have six little children at home, and there is nothing for them to eat.”
“You can take the four feet of the Buffalo. That ought to be enough for all of you!”
“Oh, thank you, thank you!” said the Fox.
“But, Mouse, I have a wife also and we are having bad luck hunting. We are almost starved. Can’t you spare me a little more?”
“Not a bite,” scolded the Mouse, “I have already overpaid you for the little work you have done.” However, you can take the horns, though!”
Suddenly the Fox jumped on the Mouse, who gave one faint squeak and disappeared.
Remember, if you are proud and selfish you may lose everything in the end.
The little Field Mouse thought he could be Master of the Meadow.
Francie M Berg
Author of the Buffalo Tales &Trails blog