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Finnish Mythology

The Bear and the Mouse
Once the bear was caught in a net. He thrashed about this way and that until he was exhausted. Then he fell asleep. While he slept a host of little mice began playing all over his great body. Their tiny feet tickled him and he woke with a start. The mice scampered off, all but one that the bear caught under his paw.
"Tweek! Tweek!" the frightened little mouse cried. "Let me go! Let me go! Please let me go! If you do I'll reward you some day! I will!"
The bear let out a great roar of laughter. "What, little one? You'll reward me! Ha! Ha! That's good! A joke! However, little one, I will let you go! You're too small to eat. So run along!"
With that the bear lifted his paw and the little mouse scampered off.
"It will reward me for my kindness!" the bear repeated, and in spite of the fact that he was fast caught in a net he shook again with laughter.
He was still laughing when the little mouse returned with a great flock of his fellows. All the mice at once began gnawing at the ropes of the net, and in a very short time they had freed the big bear.
"You see," said the little mouse said, "although we are small we can reward a kindness!"
The bear was so ashamed for having laughed at the mice because of their size that all he could say as he shambled off into the forest was, "Thanks!"