The Mouse and the Camel

Stories and Allegories


THE MOUSE AND THE CAMEL


A small mouse once caught a camel's head-rope in its paws and went off with it. Due to the nimbleness with which the camel set off, the mouse was duped into thinking himself a champion. His obvious pride struck the camel.

Presently the mouse came to a great river, such as would have dismayed any lion or wolf. There the mouse halted, not knowing what to do.

"Comrade over mountain and plain," said the camel, "why are you standing still? Into the river with you! You are my guide and leader; do not halt half-way, paralysed!"

"But this a vast and deep river", said the mouse. "I am afraid of being drowned, comrade."

"Let me see how deep the water is", said the camel, and quickly he set his foot in it.

"Why, the water only comes up to my knee", he went on. "What is the problem?"

"To you it is an ant, but to me it is a dragon", said the mouse. "There are great differences between one knee and another. If it only reaches your knee, it passes a hundred cubits over my head."

"Be not so arrogant next time", said the camel. "Emulate mice like yourself; a mouse has no business to consort with camels."

"I repent", said the mouse. "Please get me across this deadly water!"

Then the camel, taking compassion on the mouse, said: "Jump up and sit on my hump. This passage has been entrusted to me; I would take across hundreds of thousands like you."

Since you are not the ruler, be a simple subject; since you are not the captain, do not steer the ship.

Masnavi

Jalal al-din Rumi