The Sagacious Rat
from Fantastic Fables
by Ambrose Bierce
A RAT that was about to emerge from his hole caught a glimpse of a Cat waiting for him, and descending to the colony at the bottom of the hole invited a Friend to join him in a visit to a neighbouring corn-bin. "I would have gone alone," he said, "but could not deny myself the pleasure of such distinguished company."
"Very well," said the Friend, "I will go with you. Lead on."
"Lead?" exclaimed the other. "What! I precede so great and illustrious a rat as you? No, indeed - after you, sir, after you."
Pleased with this great show of deference, the Friend went ahead, and, leaving the hole first, was caught by the Cat, who immediately trotted away with him. The other then went out unmolested.