This just in, courtesy of a colleague in the Botany department (thanks, Don Drake):
Mice nibbling on sherry casks, the boss wants to bring in a cat, the workers defend the mice, and set up their own sherry-drinking stations for the mice, complete with ladder.
This suggests a completely different way of reading those prohibitions on drinking beverages into which a rodent has fallen and the prayers to cleanse casks into which something foul has fallen (see Panchiel short story and background). Did rodents nibble holes in wooden casks and other containers? Would some monks take a kindly view, like these workers, and supply an alternative food source? I think of stories of St. Cuthbert bargaining with birds stealing his thatch and whimsical animal pictures in manuscripts to remind me that not everyone in the past is as dead serious and pragmatic as we imagine them.