Early English versions of the Gesta Romanorum
Sidney J.H. Herrtage

[ XLV. ]
(A FABLE OF A CAT AND A MOUSE.)
Addit. MS. 9066.

[leaf 58 (cont'd)]

A mouse on a tyme felle into a bareƚƚ of newe ale, that spourgid̛, and̛ myght not come oute. The Cate come beside, and̛ herde the mouse Crie in [leaf 58, back] the barme, pepe! pepe! for she myght not come oute. The Cate seide, "Why Cries thou?" the mouse seide, "for I may not come oute." The Catte saide, "if̘ I delyuer the this tyme, thou shalte come to me when I calle the." þe mouse seide, "I graunte the, to come when thou wilte." The catte seide, "thou moste swere to me." and̛ the mouse sware to kepe couenaunte. Then the catte with his fote drew oute the mouse, and̛ lete hym go. Afterward̛ the Catte was hongry, and̛ come to the hole of the mouse, and̛ called̛ and̛ bade hire come to hym. The mouse was aferde, and̛ saide, "I shaƚƚ not come." the Catte saide, "thou haste made an othe to me, for to come." the mouse saide, "broþer, I was dronkyne when I sware, and̛ therfore I Page  365 am not holdyn̛ to kepe myn̛ othe." Right so many a man̛ and̛ woman̛, when they were seke, or in prison̛, or in pereƚƚ, they purposyn for to leue here synne, and̛ amende here life with fastyng̘ and̛ prayere, and̛ to do othere werkes of penaunce; but when sekenesse or pereƚƚ is passyd̛ from hem, they make no force to fuƚƚfiƚƚ the othe or the be-heste that they made, for they sayne, they were in pereƚƚ, and̛ therfore they are not holdyn̛ to kepe the othe ne the be-heste, that they madyn̛. of̘ whom̛ it is saide, vnto a tyme they beleuyn̛, and̛ in tyme of temptacion̛ they gon̛ a-way there fro, &c.