Fables 33 - 36

The fables in today's collection are The Heron and the Fish (read by Jonathan Pryce); The Eagle and the Tortoise (read by Alison Steadman); The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse (read by Richard Briers) and Belling the cat (read by Brenda Blethyn).

Release date:

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20 minutes

On radio

Wed 21 Jun 2017 03:00


The Heron and the Fish

A heron walks along a riverbank, behaving as if he is a king. The other animals and birds feign respect but laugh at him behind his back. The heron hunts fish by standing very still in the water, on one leg, and waiting for fish to swim past. He cannot hunt when the other animals are there, making a noise and splashing around. He waits until they have finished, then wades out into the river. However, he refuses to catch the various small and medium-sized fish that swim past, thinking that only a great salmon is good enough for him No salmon comes, so he ends up with nothing to eat.

The Eagle and the Tortoise

Tod the tortoise struggles to get his share of scraps that are thrown into the garden where it lives – he is too slow. His friend Milly Mouse brings some back for him. Seeing an eagle flying in the sky, Tod expresses top Milly his wish to be able to fly. The eagle comes down and offers to teach Tod to fly. Tod promises the eagle anything it wants in return. Up in the sky, the Eagle demands Milly Mouse, who it wants to eat. When Tod is unwilling to betray his friend, the Eagle drops him. However, Tod lands in a pile of lettuce leaves, which his friends in the garden had stacked up to save him. Tod realises that he is happy as himself.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Town Mouse visits his cousin in the country. Country Mouse has collected lots of food ready for the visit, but Town Mouse turns his nose up at it. Town Mouse claims that the food and lifestyle in town is much better, so Country Mouse agrees to travel back with him. Country Mouse finds out that the house where Town Mouse lives is indeed warm and comfortable and full of beautiful food. However, it is also full of people, one of whom wants to suck the mice up in a vacuum cleaner. Despite the luxurious food, Country Mouse runs back to his home, where he can eat in safety.

Belling the Cat

A group of mice live happily on a farm, since the farm’s cat is too old and lazy to bother trying to catch them. Things change for the worse when a new cat arrives – she is young and a keen hunter, and as a result mice start disappearing. The mice have a meeting to discuss the matter. They agree that the problem is that cat’s ability to sneak up on them unheard. A young mouse proposes a plan to tie a bell around the cat’s neck. All the mice agree that this is a great plan, until they find that none of them wants to take on the task of placing the bell on the cat.

All 40 of the fables

All the fables on a single page

All 40 of the fables as individual stories

Programme notes

Teacher's Notes

Information on each fable and follow-up activities