All the mice of the house held a meeting. Their number was dwindling. Every day they were losing a friend. The mice were facing a threat from a cat. A big black cat. A killer cat.
“She moves so stealthily,” said one mice.
“We don’t even hear her footsteps,” said another.
“She catches us by surprise,” whimpered the third.
Thus they went on describing how cunning their destroyer was.
“We should tie a bell to her neck,” said an old mouse, “When she moves, the bell will make noise. The ding-a-ling will serve as a warning to us that the big cat is around.”
Everybody loved the idea. Then the chief raised the important question. “But who will bell the cat?”
There was pin-drop-silence. Nobody spoke. At last a tiny squeak was heard, “I’ll do it.” Everybody turned towards the smallest mouse in the group.
“Leave it to me. Just get me a few bells,” said Chotu the little mouse.
The mice found three little bells. They tied them to a pink ribbon.
“It’s ready. All you have to do is to tie the ribbon to the cat,” said the Chief.
That afternoon, everything was quiet. The cat was bored. She had already eaten a couple of mice for lunch, and her stomach was full. Lazily she moved to the bedroom, jumped on to a low stool, and observed herself in the dressing mirror.
“Beautiful. Undoubtedly, you are the most beautiful cat in the world,” she heard someone saying.
She turned around to see a little black mouse which bowed to her.
The cat did not pounce on the mouse. Its words were music to her ears. Also, her stomach was full.
“You seem to be a wise mouse,” she complemented Chotu.
“Wise, yes, but not beautiful like you,” said Chotu sweetly.
The cat looked at the mirror. “Yes, the mouse is right. I am very beautiful,” she thought.
“How much more beautiful will you look if your pretty neck were had a necklace!” said Chotu.
“That is very true,” said the cat, “But from where will I get a necklace? The mistress of the house keeps it under lock and key.”
Chotu smiled and held the necklace made of bells in his hands. “Something like this you mean?” he slyly asked, “I’ve brought this for you.”
The three little bells tied with a pink ribbon looked just like a necklace. The cat held it round her neck. Looking at the mirror, she admired herself.
“Let me tie it for you,” said the little mouse helpfully and tied a few knots.
All the mice who had gathered there clapped and whistled as the cat wore the necklace. For the moment, the cat’s stomach was full. She had a surge of love for all the mice, her friends who had presented her with the most beautiful necklace in the world.
The mice withdrew respectfully.
The cat spent the whole afternoon looking at the mirror, admiring her new necklace. Soon she felt a rumble in her tummy. Time for snacks. She turned to look for food. To her surprise, she found no mice. She searched for them in every corner. All the mice seemed to have disappeared.
The mice now no longer feared the cat. Whenever she came anywhere near them, they could hear the ding-a-ling which would make them jump for cover.
The cat was no doubt beautiful, but she was a little short of brains!