The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse


Motif Index =J211.2




Bibliographic Information (best version for telling):


Reference Type: Book

Record Number: 1

Author: Hamilton, Martha; Weiss, Mitch

Year: 1990

Title: Children tell stories : a teaching guide

City: Katonah, N.Y.

Publisher: R.C. Owen Publishers

Number of Pages: xi, 209

ISBN: 0913461202

Call Number: 372.6/42

Keywords: Storytelling.

Children's stories Study and teaching.

Notes: Martha Hamilton & Mitch Weiss.

ill. ; 26 cm.     



Ethnic Origin:             Greece


Ae·sop  Pronunciation Key  (sp, -sp), Sixth century B.C.

Greek fabulist traditionally considered the author of Aesop's Fables, including “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Fox and the Grapes.”





Function: biographical name
Greek author of Aesop's Fabl,es; prob. legendary; may have been a slave or adviser to King Croesus of Lydia



King Croesus of Lydia:




Running Time:            7 minutes

Power Center(s):         Adventure, Variety, Peace and Safety, Preference for Own Home/Culture


Characters:                  City Mouse

                                    Country Mouse

                                    Cook-uninterested in mice

                                    Cat-good mouser


Scenes:                        1)  Country dinner

2)      City adventures

3)      Return home to the country

4)      Peace and safety




A country mouse invites a city mouse to dinner.  The city mouse is surprised that the food was so simple.  The city mouse invites the country mouse to visit and experience the fine foods available in the city.  The country mouse encounters more and more attractive foods and must accept more and more danger.  The country mouse decides to return to his country home and accept the simple foods available there in exchange for a safer, more peaceful life. 


Rhymes/Special Phrases/"Flavor":


I feel obligated to make improvements in this area and don’t have many good ideas.  I hope classmates and our instructor will help me with suggestions in this area. 


There is an opportunity to use two different voices for the two different mice.  I don’t want to take advantage of this at this point in my storytelling development.  I need to learn how to convey a different dialect without giving any suggestion of lack of sophistication.


Audience (why is this story appropriate for the audience? developmental



adventure versus danger, wise versus unwise conduct


Could help the target age group with ambition/adventure versus danger decisions, with wise versus unwise conduct questions and with friendship issues?


Bibliographic information on other versions/variants (at least two)?


Some versions provide only that the country mouse would prefer safety and poverty over variety and adventure with danger:



Other versions, like the one below, provide that each mouse prefers his/her own:  city or country.



Reference Type: Book

Record Number: 2

Author: Dahlie, Elizabeth

Year: 2002

Title: Bernelly and Harriet : the country mouse and the city mouse

City: Boston

Publisher: Little Brown

Number of Pages: 1 v. (unpaged)

Edition: 1st

ISBN: 0316608114


Call Number: PZ8.2.D23 Be 2002

[398.2] E

J398.2 Dahlie

Keywords: Fables.


Abstract: Updates Aesop's fable as Bernelly, a fly-fishing instructor, is introduced to the excitement of city life by her cousin, Harriet, who then accompanies Bernelly to the peaceful countryside in search of artistic inspiration.

Notes: by Elizabeth Dahlie.

col. ill. ; 21 x 26 cm.


None of the variants listed in D.L. Ashliman’s A Guide to Folktales in the English Language are available in UNC libraries but I did find a link on the Internet to a version based on Scottish tradition.  The related bibliographic information available, The Mouse in the Hill and the Mouse in a Farm.  Campbell, West Highlands, v.1, p.287.





Brief comparison of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm,

"tellability," "flavor," content, etc. Stress the differences in style rather

than those of content.




Some versions involve a plot in which the country mouse decides that the advantages of the city are not worth the risk.  These versions seem to stress safety over adventure and variety.  These seem easier to tell due to the simplicity of message. 


Other versions, like the one above by Dahlie, conclude that each prefers his own home, whether country or city.  These versions stress values more akin to “each to his own.”  Such versions have more detail and complexity due to the more complicated plot.  Given the complexity, I find these versions less tellable and believe they may require props to tell well.


I am interested in finding a version which has some of the features which would work best for very young children, e.g., repetition and  rhyme.