Elise sat at the edge of the water and cried, and as she cried she heard a small voice say, "young maid, do not cry, for I will listen to your troubles." Said she, "Dear mouse, I am to empty every last drop of water from the pond by using this spoon that clearly has a hole in it. I fear it is quite impossible little mouse." The mouse replied, "Dry your tears and get some rest, when you awake your work shall be done." She did as she was bid and fell asleep under a shady willow tree.
When she woke, she saw that the pond was dry as the desert and the mouse had once again vanished. Elise went to her stepmother and told her that the job was done. "It’s about time," she scolded, "You should have finished long ago." With that the stepmother stormed off to plot a much more difficult task.