“We hear it’s been a rough week. There is much sadness and loss and worry out there in your world. We feel it too. It’s not easy just staying alive these days. You have to be smart and careful, even if you don’t want to be. And then it feels like just too much to even bother, right?”
“Well, that’s why we’re here. To give your spirits a boost with a dose of aww.”
I came across this the other day when I was sorting through my computer files. Since, I haven’t uploaded much writing here for a while, I thought I’d post this for fun. Enjoy…
THE MOUSE WHO WOULD BE KING
Æsop had some hidden tales, as rare and long forgotten as a cache of Gnostic scrolls buried beneath a sea of sand.
Better to bring them into the air, let them breathe again.
Come close and I will tell you the story of The Mouse Who Would Be King.
Down in the meadow, between hedge and stream, lived a thriving community of mice.
Ears up, tails curled, they were by and large a most independent, anarchic lot. Freedom and fun were their watchwords, kings and queens less needed than grain on a full stomach.
“Great green gooseberries,” fretted Trefoil Silverpaws, tying his whiskers in a twist. “Humming and jumming is all well and good when the sun shines, but what happens when snows fall, foxes pounce, and we have no one to guide us safely through the lean times? I mean, I love a good game of Capture the Marsh-mallow as much as the next mouse, but I have been looking into the situation, you know, and have legitimate concerns.”
His cousin, Juniper, balanced between two stalks of timothy. Kicking off into a double back-flip, she dropped to the ground in a perfect 3-footed dismount, saying, “You want a King to rule the meadow?”
Like a metalsmith lost in his work, Trefoil nodded absentmindedly as he laced baby’s breath together into a mouse-sized wreath. “Maybe a King, maybe a Queen,” he said placing the floral crown upon his cousin’s head.
“No, no, no thanks – Queen is too big a title for me, Tre. Out in front of everyone, making speeches, leading flight from fox and stoat. Power’s not something I’m comfortable with; put that crown round your ears instead,” she quipped, vanishing down a paw-worn run without so much as a by-your-leave.
“King Trefoil is not amused!” he called out to her retreating tail.
Rats to riches, SilverpawsRex did have a potent ring to it, he mused, setting the snowy crown upon his head and hoping Juniper was wrong about royal woes.
So began the reign of Trefoil the First, King of the Lower Marshlands, Emperor of Lupine and the Tall Grasses.
Taking all things into account—and mice being mice—his summer rule was so uneventful as to be virtually ignored by all save his youngest subjects, eager to play follow the leader. He organized the buttercup harvest and made speeches at the twitch of a tail. He liked making speeches.
Unfortunately, even the most benevolent, untested monarch has sleepless nights when the seasons change and danger is on the wing.
Villains come in many shapes and sizes, and for the meadow residents, their greatest enemy was the great horned owl who silently picked off mousy morsels night after night.
With all eyes turned to their self-appointed ruler, pleading for regal action, the mice cried out in one voice, “You promised to keep us safe, King Trefoil, to face the beast with beak and claw!”
Xerxes never knew such a burden, the wee monarch thought, his crown wilting down around his ears with the mortal weight of kingship.
Yearning for the impossible—to take back his regal bluster—Trefoil Silverpaws looked from kith to kin, then locked eyes with Juniper and smiled sadly. Possum scat and teasels, he would miss them.
But a mouse is only as good as his word. A Mouse King, even more so. And without so much as glance over his tail, he scampered into the night to meet their foe.
And the moral of this story is: Being King is a tough gig, even in a flower crown.