When the cat is away, the mice play is what we say in Canada
In the USA, too.
I guess they wanted it to rhyme in Norwegian, so they changed it to fit their language?
That translation is actually accepted (I just tried it)!
In the UK too - I think I prefer the Norwegian version....
Kad mačke nema, miševi kolo vode
In my language (italian) the mice also dance, as in norwegian. But without a table...
Quando il gatto non c'è i topi ballano.
Als de kat van huis is, dansen de muizen op tafel :)
In french : "Quand le chat n'est pas là, les souris dansent."
why is it "danser musene" and not "musene danser"?
In the Netherlands we have exactly the same saying: 'Als de kat van huis is dansen de muizen op tafel'.
In Spanish I had never heard such saying. The traslation would be 'Cuando el gato no esta, los ratones bailan sobre la mesa'
In the German version, the cat is out of the house, and there's also the table: Ist die Katze aus dem Haus, tanzen die Mäuse auf dem Tisch.
In Portuguese it's a little different : " quando os gatos saem, os ratos fazem a festa"
That explains the tiny instruments I found...