A Mouse Tale

I remember a story told to me a long time ago. It was about a small field mouse who decided that she wanted to see the world. She was curious and friendly and the desire in her to see how big the world could be was honest and pure. She wanted to know. /she wanted to learn and discover so she could become more herself. In that, she was a very brave little mouse.

            She told other m ice about her desire to leave the safety of the field and go out to discover the world. They all thought she was crazy. They all thought that she would become a big animal’s dinner or be crushed or lost. Some of them even thought that she was a disgrace to the idea of being a field mouse and turned their backs on her. But her dream was real and she held onto it despite what others thought.

            When she finally ventured out things got strange right away. The field where she’d grown up was totally familiar. But once she was away from it the world became new smells, new sights, sounds, tastes and sensations. It was wonderful. The mouse was filled with a spirit of a great adventure. That feeling spurred her on and she scurried further and further from her home.

            She met a frog in a pond where she stopped to drink who told her of a place called theMagicMountain. It was far away to the west and a very hard journey. The frog warned her that bigger creatures than her had tried to get there and had never returned. But the idea of being able to see something as marvelous as aMagicMountainfilled the mouse with joy and a wild desire.

            She soon ventured out onto a wide plain. There she met a horse who told her that theMagicMountainwas indeed an incredible distance, one he would not even consider making alone. But the horse offered to carry the mouse as far as he was going. He showed her how to clamber up onto a big rock and then leap onto his back. From there mouse saw everything and she fell in love with the sight and smell and sound of the prairie.

            Later, when the horse had gone his way, she met a coyote. The coyote was surprised to see her and very impressed by her desire to travel to theMagicMountainall alone. He carried her through gullies and canyons and gulches and old her stories about his life on theGreat Plains. He spoke of the splendor of theMagicMountainand how it would always shine in her mind once she saw it. The mouse was very excited.

            She was so excited when the coyote put her down that she began to run headlong toward the dim line of the foothills. She was so lost in her desire to find theMagicMountainthat she almost ran into a great, sad beast standing alone on the prairie. It was a buffalo and the buffalo had lost his eyes. The mouse felt great pity for the giant beast and once she’d told the buffalo about wanting to see theMagicMountain, she offered the buffalo her eyes.

            “I have seen so much magic already,” she said. “I’m filled with it and I will hold it in my heart forever.” And her eyes flew into the buffalo and he could see. But the mouse was now blind. The buffalo was grateful for her gift. So he carried her to where theMagicMountainrose on the horizon. He told her to jump as high as she could off his back and she would see theMagicMountain. The mouse was afraid. She was afraid to fall blindly to the earth and be defenseless and alone.

“Trust yourself,” the buffalo said. “Trust in the strength that brought you this far on your journey.” So the mouse took a big breath and leaped high off the buffalo’s back. She spread her tiny paws wide and felt the air rush under them. She felt herself falling. She was scared but trusted her strength as the buffalo said. When she did she felt herself changing.

Before she hit the ground she became a golden eagle and as she soared high into the sky, blessed with incredible vision, she saw theMagicMountain. Her heart was filled with the beauty of it.

            When we help other people learn to see we change. We get bigger. We become more. We are granted a greater vision ourselves. Our desire to bring vision to others let’s us see the world better. That’s the teaching in that grand old tale. In the end, what better gift could there be?

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About Richard Wagamese

I am a published author with 13 titles published by major Canadian publishers. I am a First Nations person from the Ojibway Nation in Northwestern, Ontario, Canada. As a professional writer since 1979 I have written for newspaper, radio television, magazines and book publishing. I love the culture of books and the people who populate it. 2012 recipient of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Media & Communications. View all posts by Richard Wagamese

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