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Fables from Afar by  Catherine T. Bryce
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THE PRINCE AND THE RAT

ONE night a prince was awakened by a noise in his room. He listened. It was the gnawing of a rat.

The prince tapped on his couch. The gnawing stopped for a short time and began again.

The prince then called his servant and told him to make a light and look for the rat. Soon they found an old sack in a corner of the room. The noise seemed to come from inside it.

[40] "Ah!" said the prince, "the rat has got shut in there and cannot get out. Open the sack."

The servant opened the sack, but could see nothing. Then he let the light shine into it, and there in the bottom lay a dead rat.

"Oh!" cried the servant, "can the rat that just now gnawed have died so suddenly!"

As he said this, he turned the rat out of the sack on to the floor. When, spring! dash! the rat was up and off at full speed.

The servant stood looking after it, too surprised to move, but the prince [41] laughed and said,—

"Do you not remember the old saying,—'Never call an enemy dead till you see him buried'?"


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