A Little Fable

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"A Little Fable"
AuthorFranz Kafka
Original title"Kleine Fabel"
Genre(s)Short story
Published inBeim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer
Media typebook (hardcover)
Publication date1931
Published in English

"A Little Fable" (German: "Kleine Fabel") is a short story written by Franz Kafka between 1917 and 1923, likely in 1920. The anecdote, only one paragraph in length, was not published in Kafka's lifetime and first appeared in Beim Bau der Chinesischen Mauer (1931). The first English translation by Willa and Edwin Muir was published by Martin Secker in London in 1933. It appeared in The Great Wall of China. Stories and Reflections (New York City: Schocken Books, 1946).[1]

The story[edit]

"Alas", said the mouse, "the whole world is growing smaller every day. At the beginning it was so big that I was afraid, I kept running and running, and I was glad when I saw walls far away to the right and left, but these long walls have narrowed so quickly that I am in the last chamber already, and there in the corner stands the trap that I am running into."

"You only need to change your direction," said the cat, and ate it up.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

A comics adaptation of the story, illustrated by Peter Kuper, is included in Give It Up!.

A three-language version in German, English and Spanish, illustrated by Elvira Calderón, edited by Elena Moreno Sobrino Saarbrücken: Calambac Verlag, (2013) ISBN 978-3-943117-79-0

David Foster Wallace quotes and discusses the story in his collection of essays Consider the Lobster.


  1. ^ The Great Wall of China: Stories and Reflections. Franz Kafka - 1946 - Schocken Books
  2. ^ Kafka, Franz (2017). The Burrow. Great Britain: Penguin. p. 122. ISBN 9780141395609.

External links[edit]