Belling the Cat
Adapted from an Aesop fable.
OPTION 1 — Story
Once there was a family of mice living on a farm. They had a pleasant life and all the food they could eat.
Then, one day, the farmer brought a cat to live on the farm. The cat was very good at one thing: chasing mice! The cat could move so quietly, the mice did not know it was there until it pounced on them. The mice became desperate. They were afraid to venture out into the grain because of the cat and they were hungry.
The mice held a meeting. They decided they could not stop the cat, but it would be good to at least know when the cat was approaching. This would give them enough time to run and hide. Many mice offered suggestions, but none that everyone thought good enough. Then, a mouse said, "I have listened to all your suggestions, but they are no good. I know what to do. This will be successful. We must hang a bell around the cat's neck. When the cat is on the move, we will hear the bell and can run to safety."
The mice became excited. This was indeed a very good idea. In the midst of their excitement, the wisest mouse spoke, "It is indeed a good idea. But tell me: who will bell the cat?"
All the mice became silent.
OPTION 2 — Play
The four mice run and play in the fields, stopping to eat grain now and then.
Cat sneaks up on the mice and chases them away.
The four mice huddle together. They are hiding from Cat. Cat prowls around outside where the mice hide.
MOUSE ONE: We have had a good life here on the farm.
MOUSE TWO: We would eat and play and sleep in the lovely field all day.
MOUSE THREE: Now, the farmer has a cat.
MOUSE FOUR: The cat sneaks up on us all the time.
ALL MICE TOGETHER: This is bad!
MOUSE ONE: We must think of a way to protect ourselves from the cat.
ALL MICE THINK.
MOUSE TWO: Perhaps we should ask the farmer to take the cat away?
MOUSE ONE, THREE, and FOUR: No, no. Fine idea, but it will never work!
CAT: Meow! Meow!
MOUSE THREE: Perhaps we should give the cat some cheese. It will know we want to be friends and will leave us alone.
MOUSE ONE, MOUSE TWO and MOUSE FOUR: No, no. Fine idea, but it will never work!
CAT: Meow! Meow! MEOWWWWWWW!
MOUSE ONE: I do not think we can stop the cat from chasing us. If only we knew when it was coming so we could quickly hide.
MOUSE FOUR: I know! I have the best idea. Your ideas would not work, but mine will! We could put a bell around the cat's neck. Then, it could not sneak up on us because we would hear the bell as it approaches.
MOUSE TWO and MOUSE THREE: Great idea! Hurrah! Hurrah!
MOUSE ONE: A fine idea, but who volunteers to put the bell on the cat?
ALL MICE LOOK SCARED, STAY SILENT, AND HANG THEIR HEADS.
CAT (pouncing on mice): MEOWWWWWW!!!