This may well be a tale with a moral. It certainly reads like it, but I can't for the life of me think what the moral is!
A couple of weeks ago my hairdresser and her partner went on holiday to Cornwall. Sitting looking out of the window in their cottage one evening, she noticed a little mouse on the top of the garden wall. It looked decidedly sick and dejected. She went out to look at it, stroked it - it shivered gently but didn't move.
She decided it was very dehydrated and possibly hungry and would probably die unless she did something. So she went into the house and put some milk on to a plate and took it out and put it on the wall. Immediately the little mouse began to drink. Its skin was so dry she thought perhaps it needed rehydrating so she put some warm water into a spray bottle and went out and gently sprayed it along its back and it seemed to appreciate this too. They watched it for a little while and it really perked up - cleaning its whiskers after the milk and looking ready to scuttle away to its hole.
It was at this point that a magpie flew down, snatched it up and carried it off - presumably to make a tasty meal for its brood. My hairdresser was quite upset by this (I would have been too). With hindsight perhaps it would have been better to pick the mouse up and put it behind a bush before giving it the milk - thus making the whole operation not quite so visible. Nature red in tooth and claw. Every man for himself and all that. A whole list of proverbs and the like spring into my mind - but the whole episode has stuck in my mind.