The fable of The Fox and The Mouse was told to me like this:
One night, a mouse stumbled upon a fox sitting by a fire in the woods. He had hazelnuts roasting and they were just about done.
“Ah, come here my little friend, would you like to share my nuts?” The fox asked.
“Certainly!” Answered the mouse.
“Wonderful, if you could just help me get them out of the fire. I seem to have misplaced my tongs.”
“Certainly,” said the mouse, and he pulled them out one by one, burning his little paws in the process. As he did, the fox ate them one by one, filling his belly. The mouse got nothing for his troubles. This continued until they were interrupted by a cat, the true owner of the nuts.
Versions vary from this point, with some having the mouse get eaten, and others having the mouse bargain successfully for his life. However, it’s important to note that the term, “mouse paws,” was born. It was used to describe someone used as a tool to do another’s work.