I sometimes find myself afflicted with a sense of insatiable curiosity and must know how things work. Upon reading an account from B., of the blog Ami in Schwabenland, about Mäuseroulette (mouse roulette), I had to know more about it.
She wrote a charming description of the game that was available at the medieval Christmas market in Esslingen. Basically, there is a ring of small medieval-looking houses set up on a table. Bettors place stones on top of the house of their choice. The proprietor lets a pet mouse free and it runs into a house at random. The bettor who had placed her stone on that particular house wins. How cute, huh?
I recently heard the "inside scoop" on the game and was completely thrilled about that because it helped to satisfy my curiosity. I met a German woman who is a seamstress and craftsperson who spends about six months of the year traveling to medieval markets to sell her wares.
Her son runs a Mäuseroulette game at her booth. I asked her if the houses have a snack inside (the word "snack" often makes more sense to Germans than the word "treat"). Oh no, the lady said; the mouse just runs into a house at random because it doesn't like being out in the open.
This family's mouse is not just a tool of the trade; she is part of the family. They have a cat too, and I smiled when the owner told me that they held the mouse up to the cat, saying that the mouse is family and is not to be eaten.