Belling the Cat

: Aesop's Fables

Long ago, the mice had a general council to consider what

measures they could take to outwit their common enemy, the Cat.

Some said this, and some said that; but at last a young mouse got

up and said he had a proposal to make, which he thought would meet

the case. "You will all agree," said he, "that our chief danger

consists in the sly and treacherous manner in which the enemy

approaches us. Now, if we could receive
some signal of her

approach, we could easily escape from her. I venture, therefore,

to propose that a small bell be procured, and attached by a ribbon

round the neck of the Cat. By this means we should always know

when she was about, and could easily retire while she was in the


This proposal met with general applause, until an old mouse

got up and said: "That is all very well, but who is to bell the

Cat?" The mice looked at one another and nobody spoke. Then the

old mouse said:

"It is easy to propose impossible remedies."