« 35 - A Time For Tears | Main | The Vacuum Cleaner »

Letter From America: The Mouse That Roared

...Mice are scrupulously clean, eat only what they need, do not start wars, tell lies, jockey for political position, or steal the affections of loved ones. They do inhabit human homes, mostly because humans are untidy and drop food on the floor without cleaning it up completely...

Ronnie Bray speaks up for the mice of the world - and the mice could not possibly have a more loyal and entertaining advocate.

Read also Ronnie's autobiography which is being serialised in Open Writing. Click on A Shout From The Attic in the menu on this page.

A disturbing news report this morning told of a man in Maine, USA, who was less than kind to a mouse he caught in his house. It was a shocking story. There is never any justification for cruelty to animals, especially when they are too small to do any real harm or pose a dangerous threat to anyone.

As one who kept a white mouse as a young lad, I grew very fond of them. They have a slight but distinctive smell that I find appealing. This could be connected to my liking for the smell of petrol, hot asphalt, oil-based paints, varnish, and day-old roadkill skunk. I donít try it figure it out; thatís just the way it is.

Mice are scrupulously clean, eat only what they need, do not start wars, tell lies, jockey for political position, or steal the affections of loved ones. They do inhabit human homes, mostly because humans are untidy and drop food on the floor without cleaning it up completely, and the intelligence of Mus musculus domesticus, the commensal mouse of Europe and North America, who live in close association with humans is such that it understands that dropped food is there for its benefit and signals an invitation to dine, alone or with friends.

My grandfather once cornered a mouse in the scullery of my boyhood home. He was slow to dispatch it, watching it writhe after he had struck it with the small coal shovel. I urged him to kill it, but he seemed almost transfixed by the squirming creature, until my urging became more desperate when he delivered the coup de grace.

That incident made a dent in the armour of a man I thought was a knight in shining armour, but from then onwards, his escutcheon had a question mark hanging over it.

Mice have so little opportunity to redress the balance of their human bullies. Most of the time they are restricted to dying as their little hearts give way under the stress, or, if they are lucky, they escape from their tormentors and live to nibble again.

This morning, I stood up, clapped, and roundly cheered the mouse that had been caught by the Maineiac. The cruel Mainite carried the helpless creature by its tail into his garden and threw it alive into a bonfire of old leaves. How utterly callous!

Yet, this story has a happy conclusion. The satisfactory denouement does not lie in the fact that the mouse survived. As far as is known, the mouse perished. But not before it has fled out of the bonfire with its little coat ignited, and re-entered the house where in the blind panic of its death throes it ran from place to place, probably entering its dusty mouse hole where it ignited decades of powder dry dust bunnies, before it was enveloped in the flames that destroyed the whole house.

Experience teaches us that there is a justice that comes to all eventually, even if it takes a lifetime to arrive. This barbaric fellow got his just desserts in rapid time. I half hope that he didnít have fire insurance. Three cheers for the mouse!

Copyright © Ronnie Bray

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.