Latin Stories

Horace, Satires II.6 80-117: The Country Mouse and the City Mouse


Two mice from different homes experience how the other is used to living. Listen to the story both with and without elisions.

Told in Latin without elisions

Told in Latin with elisions


Background on The Country Mouse and The City Mouse:

This version of the story of the Country Mouse and City Mouse is the end part of a poem written in Latin by the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (who is called Horace in English).  Horace wrote the poem around the year 30 B.C.E. In his poem he makes a contrast between the annoyances and discomforts of living in a large city like Rome with the peace and happiness he enjoyed on his little farm in the country. Long before Horace was born, people would tell stories like this one, with animal characters that could speak like humans. In English we call these stories “fables.” People of long ago would tell them not only to entertain, but also to make a point or teach a lesson. Horace no doubt included the story at the end of his poem to support his argument that life in the country was better than life in the city.


Cultural Notes About Language:

People in ancient times would have considered the grains spelt and rye as food suitable only for poor people.

Furniture coverings of scarlet and purple were a sign of wealth.

Dogs from Molossia (an old name for an area in western Greece) are a large breed, similar to mastiffs, and were known in ancient times for their ferocity.

Vetch is a kind of pea.


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