The Rat Trap

An old tale retold . . .

Rats will eat whatever rats eat because that is what rats were designed to do. Rats, regardless of what they eat all like and unanimously agree that they prefer cheese over any other rat food.

photos of ranches in the Mojave Desert

There was a hungry rat on a ranch peeking through a crack in the wall watching the rancher and his wife open a package. The ranch rat was hoping it was cheese in the package. “If not cheese,” he wondered, “what food might it contain?” He was aghast and horrified to discover that it was a rat trap. This confounded contraption could be the device of his demise.

Panicking the rat ran to the barnyard the rat hysterically shouting the warning;

“There’s a rat trap in the ranch house, a rat trap in the ranch house!”But no one seemed to care.

He ran to the chicken coop. The chicken, the largest one, clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Pfffttt . . . Excuse me, Mr. Rat, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it. I do not care. Please, step away.”

The rat then ran to the pigpen. Addressing the fat pig he said, “There’s a rat trap in the ranch house, a rat trap in the house!” “Boo-hoo-hoo-hoo Mr. Rat,” scolded the hog, “Toughen up. We all die someday. Be assured that you are in my thoughts and prayers.”

The rat turned to the cow and repeated his warning. She said, “Like wow, Mr. Rat, a rat trap. Excuse me, but isn’t that just your little problem? Please go away, your whining offends me.”

So the rat thought, “stupid cow, stupid, stupid cow,” and returned to the house, head down and dejected to face the rancher’s rat trap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house, very much like the sound of a rat trap trapping its prey. The rancher’s wife ran into the room to see what the trap caught. In the darkness, she didn’t see that it was a rattlesnake that had been caught. The snake was very angry. Very, very angry. The snake’s rattle was caught in the trap. The snake bit the farmer’s wife.

The rancher tried to suck the venom out of the bite. It didn’t work–She got worse. The rancher rushed his wife to the hospital. They couldn’t do anything for her. It had been too long since she was struck. She returned home with a fever.

Back then in the old days, everyone treated a fever with fresh chicken soup, and to do that you had to have a fresh chicken so the rancher took his hatchet to the chicken coop for the chicken soup’s main ingredient. It pretty much would have been a bloody frenzy but the rancher just took out the largest one and the survivors all moved up a notch in the pecking order. Dumb cluck.

The rancher’s wife’s condition continued to worsen. She was delirious and spoke in tongues. Her arms and legs were lashed to the bedposts. Friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. The rancher had to feed them.

The rancher went out and butchered the arrogant pig that told the rat, “boo-hoo-hoo-hoo.” The hog made a delicious pork chop dinner for all and tasty bacon for a breakfast with the last couple of eggs laid by the chicken.

The rancher’s wife did not get well. She was in great pain. The pain was excruciating. She had hallucinations. She died hard. Slowly.

Many people came to her funeral. There was wailing and moaning and crying and pulling hair and throwing dirt. Folks were hungry after all that mourning and stuff. So the rancher ordered the emotionally distant cow to be slaughtered and cooked for dinner and a barbecue the next day.

The meat was tender and well-streaked and marbled with fat in all the right places. Everyone was going on and on. “Melt in your mouth,” some had said.

The Moral is:

The next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when there is a rat trap in the ranch house, the entire ranch is at risk.

Just Kidding:

This story has no moral. There are no winners here. No one is going to change. This has been pointless.

The rat lived through it all but died of food poisoning from a bad casserole left behind when the widowed rancher left the ranch with his new girlfriend . . .

The end.