City mice in the country

The Mice family, of the noble lineage of the Rodicacio, made up by father mouse, mother mouse, and eight baby mice, lived in the home of a butcher, among the most appetizing foods. Truth be told, the butcher was the one living in the mice’s house, because they were the owners, not him: owners of the shop, of the laboratory, of the kitchen, of the attic, of the cellar, and everything else. What a feast that house was! Cheese, salami, lard, oil, butter, jam, everything in abundance and with no need of a card! Then there were all the so-called “modern comforts”: elevator, cat, fridge, trap, bathroom, broom, electric light, dog, rat-killing paste, telephone, etc. The family never left home. Why should we go, said mother mouse, with our home being so nice? Those who are comfortable don’t move. And, in fact, they didn’t move except in extreme cases, such as the cat, the dog, the broom, etc. But the baby mice couldn’t get used to that life of seclusion, and they gnawed restrain along with the lard and the cheese. One ran away and found shelter in an art gallery, where there were some oil paintings worth millions.
That oil must be fine! – he thought.
As soon as he got inside, he lingered, as if enchanted, watching those golden rooms, those shiny floors, those carpets, those chandeliers, those paintings, those statues; but no matter how much he sniffed he couldn’t smell any oil.
I wonder why? He wandered all night, and he started to grow hungry. He tried gnawing on a canvas, but immediately spitted it, as it tasted like mould, he licked a piece of marble but it was tasteless. Ah! I was so stupid to leave the delicatessen to live in a gallery! There I had some cheese, some ham, and here there’s only some paintings by Raffaello and some statues by Michelangelo! Nice! The day after, the gallery keeper found the mouse that, in the meantime, had died of starvation, among the folds of a solid gold bust.  One day the baby ice told their mother: Why! All the kids are going to the country, and only we have to stay here, in this cellar, with this heat? Ah, no! We need some good air, a bit of sun, a bit of freedom, too! Look at those thin tails!
I see them, my boys; but here, in a way or another, we are assured a piece of cheese or lard; if we go to another place, who knows what we’ll find.
If they find something, we will too, won’t we!
The baby mice insisted so much that father mouse and mother mouse promised them that that mid-August they would take them out for an excursion. After a week of preparation, they left on the established day. Imagine the joy of the baby mice! After stuffing themselves with a round of cheese, they were beside themselves with joy… and cheese. They left home before sunrise, slowly, without being seen by anyone, not even by that terrible cat, and went towards the station. Father mouse had brought a greasy map with him. When, from afar, the baby mice saw the station’s canopy, they thought it was a great trap and they wanted to go back, away! But the father reassured them that it wasn’t such a hellish mechanism, laughing. Once arrived in the train station, the railwaymen started beating them with brooms.
Nice way to treat travellers!- father and mother mice yelled – we will make a complaint to the railway management! They wanted to take the bus, but even then, instead of giving them tickets, the conductor hot them with a broom. At that point the mice decided to walk. Are you up, father mice said, for a long walk? Of course! We feel very in shape… of Parmesan! Let’s go!
When they arrived in the country, the mice started to despair their poor parents, running around, looking for food. How they ran in the fields! And how they jumped! Such leaps! What bellyfuls of fruit they had! What cricket and lizard hunting games they had! They were really happy: not a cat, a trap, a broom; and how many lovely things were there, that they hadn’t seen! The first time they heard a chicken cluck, they went into ecstasy: they had never heard such a harmonious song, not even on the radio; and when, later, they saw a pig, they stopped with their mouths open, as if they were enchanted. Everyone’s thought went to their native delicatessen, where they spent happy hours. The corkscrew tail, most of all, caused great admiration: such elegant curves, such graceful shapes! A gluttonous baby mouse wanted to taste a small bit of it, but, by cracking his tail like a whip, the pig launched him far away. When they saw the ox they ran away, frightened, thinking it was a big cat with horns. They had been walking for quite a few hours, and they were exhausted due to fatigue and heat; at the height of bad luck, they lost their way home.
Didn’t they have the topographic map?
Yes, but father mouse had mistakenly brought along the topographic map of ancient Rome!
After going in circles, they finally found a tavern, with the sign Belvedere, and they entered. It was a country mouse’s nest.
Of Belvedere? (which in Italian means “nice view”. TN) Mother, but it’s so dark that you can hardly see anything!
Owner! Father mouse yelled.
We want to eat à la carte.
But this isn’t a library, it’s a tavern!
I meant the list of the food choices.
There are no lists; anyway, what would you like?
Bring us some ham, some mortadella, some tuna, various types of cheese, some butter and some lard. Make sure the mortadella is from Bologna, because that’s the only one my wife eats. Bring us also some jam and goose liver pie for the kids.
I am terribly sorry, but all I have are roots and worms.
Roots and worms?
My dear Sirs, we’re not in the city here, we’re in the country and you must adapt.
You don’t even have trout with mayonnaise?
No Sir.
Not even pig’s trotter from Modena?
No Sir.
Not even poached veal in tuna mayonnaise with capers?
No Sir.
Not even turkey with truffles?
No Sir.
And you don’t even have Bologna tortellini?
No Sir.
What a country of wolves! That’s it, since there’s nothing else, bring us the roots and the worms; we’re starving!
Ah!, mother mouse sighed, my nice home, full of goodies! I knew this was going to happen: that we weren’t going to find any food.
Will you shut up? Father mouse yelled.
Please sit down; the host said, as you can see the roots lean from the ceiling; all you have to do for the worms is to scratch the ground and you will find as many as you want. While they were eating, the host came to them with such an acid face, it could have rotted milk, complaining that the baby mice had ate one of his slippers: I am appalled, he said, that such seemingly proper people, could be capable of these things. You sure teach your children good manners!
There’s not much to be shocked about, dear friend; father mouse said, I would be shocked if it were the slipper to eat the baby mice! 
The host left mumbling: and to think what veal broth I could have made by boiling that slipper!
They ate the roots and worms like wolves, even if they were less tasty than smoked tongue and ham. They indeed thought that the bill, in which that rogue of a host had also put the slipper, under the name “small suede shoe”, and the view of the belvedere, was salty! The shock that father and mother mouse received by the total addition was so strong that their tail suddenly fell off. Once out of the tavern, the tourists laid down, close to one another under a chestnut tree, to take a nap; but with all those damned flies, blowflies, cicadas, crickets, mosquitoes and ants, they weren’t able to sleep a second. And it was so hot!
Ah!, mother mouse sighed, my nice bed, among the soft lace of the delicatessen!
Will you shut up? Father mouse yelled.
At a certain point, ciac! A big hedgehog fell from the tree, and thankfully did not hit them; otherwise, with those prickles, they could have said goodbye to the noble Mice family! A baby mouse, though, lost his tail. Three down! They escaped in a field. While the baby mice were running after butterflies, they saw a deep and dark hole at the end of which two lights were shining. Look, look, a picture house!, the dear creatures said, and they went in, despite their mother yelled not to. It was a beast’s lair. Nobody knows what kind of beast it was; but after a while, the mice came out of the lair all ruffled and scared; one had been captured. Four down! While they were hiding in a bush, a silent, rotating machine appeared in the sky.
Look, look an airplane!, the baby mice yelled. Instead it was a hawk, that boldly sprung at one of them, clutched it, and took him up in the air; but the tiny rat escaped, jumping down but leaving his tail in his mouth. Five down! They all went towards a river, to take a nice bath. The heat was rising! While they were happily splashing around in the water, they saw this long and black thing that wound through the grass along the banks. Look, look a train!, the baby mice yelled! Instead it was a grass snake. The reptile bit one; but he was able to escape, leaving his tail as a souvenir. Six down! When they came out of the water, they went on the grass to dry. A hunter, going by, thought they were birds, and shot them. Naturally he didn’t hit them: otherwise farewell to the cheese rounds and the lard! Only a pellet got to them, sharply cutting off a baby mouse’s tail. Seven down!
Before they went back to the city, they went to visit a country mice family, that through cousins and in-laws, was a bit part of their relatives. They thought that they lived in a mansion, like they once wrote, but, instead, they lived in a nest as well! There was a small banquet, where roots and worms were served. Again! They left each other by promising that next year, for mid-August, the country mice would come to the city to return the visit. The sun was starting to set. The mice put their tail through their legs (although they no longer had it) and went towards the city. Walking in front of a house, they heard a gloomy song.
Listen, listen to the radio!, the baby mice yelled. Instead it was an owl, perched on a roof, that sprung on the only mouse that still had its tail, and ripped it with a peck. Eight down! When they got home they were tired, sweaty, dusty, hungry, penniless and tailess. So much for the rest; but no tail! Because you must know that the tail is a mouse’s main ornament. We say: what a nice face! What a nice forehead! Among mice, they say: what a nice tail! A mouse could devour all the books in a library, but if he doesn’t have a nice tail, you better believe that no one will consider him. Ah, mother mouse said, it’s true that this damned outing got in our tail’s way! And we, the baby mice replied, lost ours!
Now the family is back to its regular lifestyle secluded in mortadellas and cheese rounds, because they are embarrassed to be seen without a tail. When the cat is away, the mice have a ball; all the neighbourhood mice come over, driving the shop owner crazy. Tailed coats are not mandatory.