Upon a pale horse... (The Mists of Ravenloft)
Tales of Rusé the Rat
A collection of children’s stories that are quite popular in Richemulot. The feature a cleaver rat named “Rusé” who, despite his diminutive size, defeats a vast many foes by outsmarting them (often dishonorably).
Rusé and the Goat
One hot sunny day, Rusé was thirsty and looking down into a deep well, and fell in.
“I wanted some water, but not this much” said the rat to himself, as he splashed around in the water. “Now how am I going to get out of here” he said, looking up at the top of the well. Just then a thirsty goat came to the well. He looked down and was surprised to see the rat in the water.
“What are you doing down there?” asked the goat.
“I came down to get some of this wonderful cool water” said Rusé, pretending everything was alright.
“Come on down and try some. It’s the best water you’ll ever taste” he shouted up at the goat. ‘And there isn’t any more water for miles."
“I’m thirsty, and that water does look so good” thought the goat.
“OK. Look out, I’m coming down,” the goat shouted to the rat as he jumped down into the well.
Just as the goat started drinking, Rusé said, “There’s one small problem. The top of the well is so high it’s going to be hard getting out of here. But don’t worry I have a plan.”
“If,” he said to the goat “you put your front feet on the wall of the well, I’ll run up your back and jump up to the top. Once I’m out I’ll help you to get out too.”
The goat did as he was told and the rat leapt onto his back, jumped up on to his horns, and then scrambled up out of the well.
“That was a really good plan” said Rusé.
“See you later” he said, looking down at the goat.
“But, what about me?” cried the goat from the bottom of the well.
“If you had any brains you would never have gone down there until you had worked out how to get out.” said the rat.
“Have you ever heard the expression, look before you leap?” laughed Rusé as he ran away.
Moral: The gullible will always be able to be taken advantage of.
Rusé, the Lion, and the Bear.
Just as a great Bear rushed to seize a stray kid, a Lion leaped from another direction upon the same prey. The two fought furiously for the prize until they had received so many wounds that both sank down unable to continue the battle.
Just then Rusé and his friends dashed up, and devoured the kid, while the Lion and the Bear looked on in helpless rage.
“How much better it would have been,” they said, “to have shared in a friendly spirit.”
Moral: Let your enemies destroy one another and then take the spoils.
Little Rusé and the Cat
There was once a little Rat named Rusé whose growing teeth made him think he was grown-up and able to take care of himself. So one evening when the other rats started home and his mother called, Rusé paid no heed and kept right on nibbling away. A little later when he lifted his head, the other rats was gone.
He was all alone. The sun was sinking. Long shadows came creeping over the ground. A chilly little wind came creeping with them making scary noises in the alleyways. Rusé shivered as he thought of the terrible Cat. Then he started wildly over the alley, squeaking for his mother. But not half-way, near a clump of trees, there was the Cat!
Rusé knew there was little hope for him.
“Please, Mr. Cat,” he said trembling, “I know you are going to eat me. But first please pipe me a tune, for I want to dance and be merry as long as I can.”
The Cat liked the idea of a little music before eating, so he struck up a merry tune and the Rusé leaped and frisked gaily.
Meanwhile, the rats were moving slowly homeward. In the still evening air the Cat’s piping carried far. A pack of Dogs pricked up their ears. They recognized the song the Cat sings before a feast, and in a moment they were racing to the alley. The Cat’s song ended suddenly, and as he ran, with the Dogs at his heels, he called himself a fool for turning piper to please Rusé, when he should have stuck to his butcher’s trade.
Moral: When shown weakness, even the most vicious hunter can become overconfident.