Karin and the Little Mouse by Daniela Agostini

Karin was airing out the picnic blanket on the clothesline when she heard a sad squeaking sound by the car in the garage. She followed the sound, bent down and asked tenderly, “Why are you crying little mouse?” The little mouse rubbed his eyes that were brimming with tears, then replied: “I left my nest in the roots of the Eucalyptus tree near the river to explore the inside of your car. I was hoping to find my way into the picnic basket that your mother had packed  for your trip to the river today. I found my way into your car and basket alright. But I am miles away from my home under the Eucalyptus tree by the river. In the dense underbrush underneath the tree is where my family has its nest. I should never have allowed myself to be lured by the goodies in the picnic basket.  When will I ever see my family again?” Karin felt sorry for the little mouse. Suddenly the mouse said, “Can you take me back to the river, to the big Eucalyptus tree. There is only one Eucalyptus tree in the clearing where you were.” Karin knew the way back to the tree but hesitated due to the distance involved in walking there.

The mouse was distraught and little mouse finally said, “I will grant you three wishes if you take me back to my family.”  An impish grin came over Karin’s face. She said, “very well, to begin with, I wish for a whole baking dish of chocolate mousse.” The little mouse huffed and puffed and with an exhale made a dish of chocolate mousse appear. Then little mouse said somewhat out of breath, “let us be on our way to the Eucalyptus tree and there I will grant you your two remaining wishes.”

Karin said, “very well” and placed little mouse into her jacket pocket and set out for the river. It was about an hour away on foot. Little mouse was happy to be carried for granting wishes made him tired and breathless. They finally reached the Eucalyptus tree and Karin was ready to make her 2nd wish. She wished for a blue velvet cape. The little mouse huffed and puffed and blew a blue velvet cape onto Karin’s back. Karin was delighted with the cape. She did not see however, how pale and exhausted the little mouse appeared after granting two of Karin’s wishes. The little mouse began to cough uncontrollably. “What’s wrong?” Karin asked. The little mouse said that granting wishes took a lot of energy out of him. The little mouse wrapped his tail around himself and tried to rest a little. But Karin said that the little mouse could rest after her last wish had been granted.

It was late and Karin had a long way to return home. Karin made her third and last wish. “I wish for an Icelandic pony.” Little mouse huffed and puffed and blew Karin’s wish into existence. Blowing life into things was most strenuous. In front of Karin appeared a beautiful white Icelandic pony. Karin grabbed the pony by its mane and jumped on its back. The magical pony followed Karin’s lead perfectly. Karin circled back to thank little mouse. But Karin found him motionless on the ground. Karin dismounted the pony and took the little mouse gently in her hands. “What is wrong?” she cried out.

Karin remembered that little mouse had said it took a lot of breath to make living things like a pony come to life and that he had needed to rest. Karin cried and cried, “Little mouse, wake up, little mouse wake-up.” Karin had the idea to take little mouse to the underbrush of the Eucalyptus tree. There she placed him on the ground in front of his home. She removed herself and from a distance she watched. The little mouse’s family crawled out from the brush carefully and were nudging him tenderly. And lo, the little mouse began to open his eyes and his family began to make squeaking noises of joy.

After almost losing her little friend, Karin promised to never again be so demanding as to put someone ‘s health at risk. Little mouse had strained himself to the point of over exhaustion. And never again would little mouse risk getting lost for a picnic basket. Karin got her three wishes and little mouse was returned to his family. Both Karin and little mouse learned lessons that day and so it was a good day to remember….

(c) All text copyright of Daniela Agostini, used with permission by Writing Women of Zurich.

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