Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U114. Mountain in labor brings forth a mouse (WTF - Weird Things in Folktales)

Welcome to my A to Z Challenge blog series titled WTF - Weird Things in Folktales! Find the introduction post (explaining the theme) here. Find all other participating blogs in the comments of each day's post on the main blog! You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

U in the Motif Index stands for the (rather short) category of The Nature of Life. It includes stories about injustices and inequalities, and wisdoms about how life is. It includes such entertaining tidbits as "U115. - The skeleton in the closet," or

U114. Mountain in labor brings forth a mouse 

This fable from Aesop is so short, I'm just going to copy and paste it.

"One day people noticed a Mountain in labor; smoke coming out of its summit, the earth quaking at their feet, trees crashing, and huge rocks tumbling. They felt sure something horrible was going to happen. They all gathered together to see what terrible thing this could be. They waited and they waited, but nothing came. Suddenly there was a still more violent earthquake, and a huge gap appeared in the side of the Mountain. The people all fell down upon their knees and waited. At last, a teeny mouse poked its little head and bristles out of the gap and came running down towards them."

Moral of the story: "Don't make much ado about nothing."
Moral of the story according to Phaedrus: "Some people make loud threats but don't deliver."

Read a bunch of versions of the Aseop's fable here. Read the Phaedrus translation here.

U11.1.1.1. Animals confess sins to lion holding court
U11.2. He who steals much called king; he who steals little called robber
U15.0.1. Dwarf king (fairy) laughs at the absurdities he sees about him
U21.1. Hen complains that man eats her, but she eats ant
U67. Jester takes cow and tells king people have plenty of milk, for “he who is warm thinks everyone else is.”
U68. Optimist becomes pessimist when his money is stolen
U112. Beard on she-goats do not make a male
U119.5. Stories to show that one’s name does not alter his condition
U137. Mill horse when taken to war keeps going in a circle, as he has learned in the mill


  1. Love your theme. The thing about mice is they're not always mice.. We're nearly there. Glad I found you before we finished. Want to read the rest now.

  2. I don't know, if this mouse is anything like the other Mouse of head-severing fame, I think the entire village of people will soon be sorry should they get on his bad side.

    A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

  3. I had read about this one. There is even that expression in Spanish ("el parto de los montes") with the meaning of 'much ado about nothing'.
    Eva - Mail Adventures

  4. Wow. Reading through the list I can see lots of old sayings pop-up - like 'you can't teach an old dog new tricks' U137.

  5. So, this is the origin of the saying?
    Thanks so much for sharing. It a fun story :-)

    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

  6. Okay, see now this one I understand. :-)

    Also, I love "He who steals much called king; he who steals little called robber."

    U - Underground SNOWLAB

  7. I keep seeing the mouse like the rabbit from Monty Python's Holy Grail. But alas, its only a mouse.
    Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

  8. 'He who steals much called king; he who steals little called robber' - this is my favourite one today and reminds me of the saying, 'Copy from one person it's plagiarism, copy from many and it's research' :)
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

  9. "Mill horse when taken to war keeps going in a circle, as he has learned in the mill" sounds pretty funny...

  10. This must be the genesis of the saying "Don't make a mountain our of a mole hill." Though in that version, it would have been a mole popping up instead of a mouse.

    You probably already read this but here goes... In Ecuador, there are two mountains near one another, Imbabura and Cotacachi. Legend has it that when Imbabura makes a nighttime visit to his love, Cotacachi, she is covered with snow in the morning. I have been told this several times and I have not even been in that area yet.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador | Underwater Endangered Testudines (a.k.a. Sea Turtles)

  11. this mouse knows how to make a scene or perhaps he didn't mean to make a scene, he simply want to escape.

    have a lovely day.

    ~ my U post - Unpopular list ~

  12. Today I'm laughing at the runner up: Beard on she-goats do not make a male. The nature of life indeed.

  13. Grew up with Aesop's fables - pretty much all the bedtime stories I ever got out of the adults :) But this mouse seems very suspicious to me, are you sure it's only a mouse? They are always being changed into horses and things, animagi in disguise. Well maybe not even disguise...today's vote goes to he who steals much called king, he who steals little called robber. Talk about being Uncomfortably prescient and prophetic!


  14. That mouse might not be all he or she seems, as others have suggested!

  15. Perhaps the mouse was a malevolent spirit making his escape all unnoticed by the townsfolk.

    Finding Eliza

  16. loved this tale.. Aesop's fables are always ones I like reading...thank you for your theme!!!

  17. My moral would be: Never get on the wrong side of a mouse! Considering how many other folktales with badass mice we've read this month, and now they can break open a mountain lol!

    Here's my "U" post :) http://nataliewestgate.com/2017/04/under-secret-diary-of-a-serial-killer