Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The importance of others

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho

The mousetrap

Very worried, the mouse saw that the farmer had bought a mousetrap: he was out to kill him!

He began to warn all the other animals:

“Careful with the mousetrap! Careful with the mousetrap!”

The hen, hearing his shouts, asked him to be quiet:

“My dear mouse, I know that this a problem for you, but it’s not going to have the last effect on me, so stop making such a fuss!”

The mouse went to talk to the pig, which was annoyed because his nap had been interrupted.

“There is a mousetrap in the house!”

“I appreciate your concern and I sympathize with you,” answered the pig. “So rest assured you will be in my prayers tonight, but that’s the most I can do.”

Lonelier than ever, the mouse went to the cow for help.

“My dear mouse, what’s that got to do with me? Have you ever seen a cow killed in a mousetrap?”

Seeing that no-one was offering any solidarity, the mouse returned to the farmer’s house, hid in his hole and spent the whole night wide awake, afraid that some tragedy was about to happen.

During the early hours he heard a noise: the mousetrap had caught something!

The farmer’s wife went downstairs to see if the mouse had been killed. In the dark she did not notice that the trap had only caught the tail of a poisonous snake; when she drew near, she was bitten.

The farmer, hearing his wife screaming, woke up and raced her to the hospital. She was given the proper treatment and then sent home.

But she still had a fever. Knowing that there is no better remedy for the sick than a good broth, the farmer killed the hen.

His wife started to recover. As the couple was much loved in the region, all the neighbors came to visit them. Grateful for such a show of affection, the farmer killed the pig to serve his friends a hearty meal.

His wife finally recovered, but the treatment was very expensive, so the farmer sent the cow to the slaughterhouse and used the money from the meat to pay all the medical bills.

The mouse saw all this and thought to himself:

“I warned them well. Wouldn’t it have been better if the hen, the pig and the cow had understood that one’s problem puts everyone else in danger?”

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