The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage
The Mouse, the Bird, and the Sausage is a Grimm's Fairy Tale, but it's not one of their more well-known fairy tales. The title immediately attracted my attention and I wanted to read the story. It starts out like this:
Way back in the old days, a mouse, a bird and a sausage (really?!) lived happily together. Each worked a different job, and they got along wonderfully. Each day the mouse fetched a pot of water. Every day the bird gathered sticks for the fire. Every day the sausage used the water to make soup, and then swam around in it to add a bit of flavor. Life was good.
In this first part of the story, the characters of the fairy tale are living out these verses from 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 (NRSV):
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
Like the characters in the story, we have all been given our special gifts to use for the common good of our family, our workplace and our church. The next part of the story shows what happens when there is complaining among the friends.
One morning Bird started complaining. "Mouse, you have such an easy job. You fetch one pot of water in the morning. Then you take the rest of the day off." "So?" said the Sausage to Bird. "All you do is pick up a few twigs." "Oh yeah?" said Bird. "All you do is swim around a bit."
You have heard "the rest of the story". We have all been a part of the squabbling, fussing, complaining and put-downs. Disputes usually don't have a happy ending and this fairy tale does not have a happy ending.
The friends argued and finally agreed to settle the matter by switching jobs. Sausage went to collect wood, met a dog and was never seen again. Bird went to fetch a pot of water. He fell down the well, couldn't fly out because his feathers got wet and was never heard of again. When Bird and Sausage didn't return, Mouse started a fire and heated the soup from the day before. He climbed into the pot to flavor the boiling soup and lost his life.
The Grimm's moral to this fairy tale is to give thanks for what you have and what your friends give you. Since I have been in 1 Corinthians 12 for the first part of the story, I will close with this from 1 Corinthians 12:24b-26 (NRSV):
But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.
Just think how good that evening's soup would have been if they only had not complained about each other.