Tale of a Mouse

Skalbe Main

(Pasaka par pelīti)

A prince was sitting at the table.  His bride had died on the wedding-day. He was dressed in gold. A red rose was his buttonhole, yet his heart had but emptiness and pain. He lifted the glass, but then put it back, having drunk nothing.

‘What does the sweetest wine help me when I drink it alone?’

He broke the bread and put it back on the plate.

‘What does the best bread help me when I have to eat it alone?’

He took off his golden clothes and went to bed alone.

He stretched between the cool sheets and crossed his arms on his chest, and imagined that he was dead, and lying in a coffin. And the dream took him through the cold winter night to the coffin of his bride. Mistletoes were in her chestnut hair, candles were lit by her head, and he touched her cold forehead with his lips.


Whilst the price was asleep and dreaming, a mouse came by.

She ate off his plate, and drank from his glass.

Then she dived under his blanket, put her head in the prince’s thick, soft hair that were scented with precious perfume, and slept by him all the night.

In the morning, she was gone.

But the prince woke up and found the signs of her little teeth on the piece of bread that he had not touched the previous day.

‘Someone has partaken of my bread,’ a precious feeling took him over.

But from his glass, three drops of red wine had been spilled on the tablecloth.

‘Someone has drunk from my glass!’ the prince exclaimed joyfully.

And when he brushed his golden hair by the mirror, the sweet breath of his beloved was flowing about him.

And now the prince ate, drank, and was happy.

So the mouse came to visit the prince every night, until he forgot his sadness and took a beautiful and rich princess as his wife.

Since then, nobody has seen the mouse in the castle.

Skalbe Main


© Translation Lauma T. Lapa