The Country Mouse and the City Mouse
An honest, plain, sensible country Mouse is said to have entertained at his hole one day a fine Mouse of the town. Having formerly been playfellows together, they were old acquaintances, which served as an apology for the visit. However, as master of the house, he thought himself obliged to do the honours of it, in all respects, and to make as great a stranger of his guest as he possibly could. In order to this, he set before him a reserve of delicate grey pease and bacon, a dish of fine oatmeal, some parings of new cheese, and, to crown all with a dessert, a remnant of a charming mellow apple.
In good manners, he forebore to eat any of it himself, lest the stranger should not have enough; but, that he might seem to bear the other company, sat and nibbled a piece of wheaten straw very busily. At last, says the spark of the town, "Old croney, give me leave to be a little free with you. How can you bear to live in this nasty, dirty, melancholy hole here, with nothing but woods and meadows, mountains and rivulets about you? Do you not prefer the busy world to the chirping of birds, and the splendour of a court to the rude aspect of an uncultivated desert? Come, take my word for it, you will find it a change for the better. Stand not considering, but away this moment. Remember, we are not immortal, and therefore have no time to lose. Make sure of to-day, and spend it as agreeably as you can; you know not what may happen to-morrow."
In short, these and such like arguments prevailed, and his country friend was resolved to go to town that night. So they both set out upon their journey, proposing to sneak in after the close of the evening. They did so, and about midnight made their entry into a certain great house, where there had been an extraordinary entertainment the day before, and several tit-bits, which some of the servants had purloined, were hid under a seat of a window. The country guest was immediately placed in the midst of a rich Persian carpet; and now it was the courtier's turn to entertain, who, indeed, acquitted himself in that capacity with the utmost readiness and address, changing the courses as elegantly, and tasting everything first as judiciously, as any clerk of the kitchen. The other sat and enjoyed himself like a delighted epicure, tickled to the last degree with this new turn of his affairs; when, on a sudden, a noise of somebody opening the door made them start from their seats and scuttle in confusion about the dining-room. Our country friend, in particular, was ready to die with fear at the barking of a huge Mastiff or two, which opened their throats just about the same time, and made the whole house echo.
At last, recovering himself, "Well," says he, "if this be your town life, much good may you do with it; give me my poor, quiet hole again, with my homely but comfortable grey pease."
Poverty and safety are preferable to luxury and danger.