“Of Mice and Men: A novella (1937) by John Steinbeck (1902-68). It centers on two casual labourers, Lennie, a simple, sentimental giant who loves small animals but does not know his own strength, and his friend George. In a tragic ending, George’s efforts are not enough to keep Lennie out of the trouble that he has unwittingly brought upon himself. The title is from ‘To a Mouse’ by Robert Burns (1759-96):
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
And lea’e us nought but grief and pain,
For promised joy.
Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.