Saturday, June 19, 2010
Who will bell the cat?
The mice had been troubled for some time by the Household's cat. Sleek and fast, he was a silent, deadly predator, descending to snap up hapless rodents in his powerful jaws. And so the clan called a Committee meeting. All the mice came, and discussed their ideas on what could be done.
Many suggestions were made, some merely foolish, others completely ridiculous. Finally, the littlest mouse piped up:
"Why don't we tie a bell around his neck, then we will hear him coming and can run away."
What a most excellent idea, the mice agreed. They even had a bell, an old Christmas decoration that had rolled beneath the sofa.
"But who shall do this deed?" Asked a wiser Elder.
All eyes turned on the Littlest mouse. It was his suggestion after all.
"Oh," he stuttered, "I would be happy to, but you see I am too small."
So they turned to another mouse. "I couldn't possibly," said she, "for I have my kits to feed - what would happen were I to get caught?"
"I'm too fat, I"d get stuck in the hole running back."
"Oh I couldn't possibly, it's my knee, you see. I can't run like I used to..."
And so on around the clan, each mouse was too old, too infirm or otherwise incapable of completing the task.
And so, brilliant idea or not, noone was willing to bell the cat.
It is one thing to say that something should be done, but quite a different matter to do it.