So, we’re just a couple of days away from Christmas…one of my favorite times of the year. And an author friend of mine, Bill Craig (author of the Hardluck Hannigan series of novels that I’ve featured on this blog before) contacted me and told me he had a great Christmas children’s story he’d written and wondered if I’d be interested in posting it on my blog. Well, I’d already had this week’s post scheduled…I definitely wanted to introduce you guys to my friend Angel Koebbe.
But come on! It’s Christmas! I also wanted to have something “Christmasy” on here too. So I took a look at the story and thoroughly enjoyed it. Even had to wipe away a tear or two as I read it. So, I wanted to be sure to share it with you before Christmas has time to speed past us like the jets of Santa’s sleigh. So, here it is…Little Mouse and the Mystery of Christmas! Enjoy and I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas.
Little Mouse and the Mystery of Christmas
Once upon a time there was a Little Mouse who lived in the Great Big Barn with Daddy Mouse and Papaw Mouse…
It was snowing hard outside the Great Big Barn and the snow was too deep for Little Mouse to go outside to play. No, today even Little Mouse didn’t wanted to go outside. It was so cold near the doors that he could see his breath, so Little Mouse had decided the best place to play was up in the hayloft where it was warm and cozy.
Over on the far side of the hayloft a spot was cleared and a pine bough stood, decorated with strings of popcorn and grain and nuts gathered during the fall. Daddy Mouse had told him it was their Christmas tree. Little Mouse thought about that for a long time.
He wasn’t exactly sure what Christmas meant, being only 5 yrs old. Little Mouse decided to go and ask Papaw Mouse who was napping in his chair. Papaw Mouse was very old but he had helped care for Little Mouse since he was born. Little Mouse knew that he loved Papaw Mouse very very much, though he wasn’t sure he would tell anyone that. “Some things,” Little Mouse thought, “were better kept to one’s self!”
“Papaw Mouse, what does Christmas mean?” Little Mouse asked.
“You want to know what Christmas means, Little Mouse?” Papaw Mouse asked, smiling.
“I do, Papaw Mouse,” Little Mouse replied.
“Hundreds of years ago, to the humans, a child was born. His name was Jesus. He was the son of God who created us all. He grew up and gave his life for everyone so that they could enter the kingdom of heaven, like your Mommy did when Barney the barn cat got her. She went to heaven then,” Papaw Mouse explained.
“So what about the tree and presents?” Little Mouse asked.
“We give presents to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus. Long ago there was a man called St. Nicholas who delivered presents to good little children as a reward for being good. He delivered them once a year on the night celebrating the birth of the Jesus child,” Papaw Mouse explained.
“Will St. Nicholas come here tonight?” Little Mouse asked, expectantly.
“Perhaps, Little Mouse. Have you been good this year?” Papaw Mouse asked.
“I have,” Little Mouse replied.
“Then you have nothing to worry about,” Papaw Mouse smiled.
Little Mouse nodded and walked back to where he had been playing earlier. He had a small ball and he began to bounce the ball as he thought about what Papaw Mouse had told him. He wasn’t sure about the Baby Jesus, but St. Nicholas sounded pretty cool. He wondered if he would be able to see St. Nicholas. He had never seen a Saint before, nor the Son of a God. Little Mouse wondered if this would be the night.
Daddy Mouse arrived home from work in the grain elevator and they all had supper.
“Daddy, will St. Nicholas come and bring presents tonight?” Little Mouse asked.
“Perhaps,” Daddy Mouse replied. “If you have been a good Little Mouse and have not gone on the naughty list.”
“The Naughty List?” Little Mouse asked, looking confused.
“Oh yes, Santa Claus, another name for Saint Nicholas, makes a good list and a naughty list and checks it twice to make sure who all is naughty or nice,” Daddy Mouse replied with a smile.
“Santa Claus?” asked Little Mouse, puzzled.
“If you have been a good little mouse, Santa will bring you presents,” Daddy Mouse said.
Little Mouse sighed. It was all so confusing, this talk of God and saints. Far too confusing for one little mouse to manage. Little Mouse went back over by the window and looked out at the snow. It was getting dark but it was still very bright. Up the hill he could see two field mice and a rabbit working their way down through the deep snow.
“They must be very cold,” Little Mouse thought, so he went and told Daddy Mouse what he had seen.
“Then we should help them, Little Mouse,” Daddy Mouse told him. Little Mouse thought for a moment and then nodded his head in agreement. This could be a grand adventure with Daddy Mouse and that would in itself make it worthwhile!
“Yes, Daddy Mouse we must. I shall get my coat and boots at once,” Little Mouse replied, heading off to gather the things he would need.
“Don’t forget your cap and gloves,” Daddy Mouse called after him. Daddy Mouse had his own preparations to make. Finally, they were met at the front door by Papaw Mouse who had packs with blankets and food and a warm container of coffee.
Daddy Mouse lit the lantern and they opened the door and stepped out into the wind and snow. Papaw Mouse had also provided them with walking sticks to help them make their way up the snowy hillside to where the other two mice and the rabbit were stranded.
“The wind is very cold, Daddy,” Little Mouse said.
“It is, Little Mouse. Are you sorry you came?” Daddy Mouse asked.
“No, Daddy. Those other mice and that rabbit need help. There’s no one but us to give it,” Little Mouse said.
“That’s right, Little Mouse,” Daddy Mouse said as they climbed up the path made by the cows when they had been out earlier in the day. Finally, they heard tiny voices on the wind crying for help. Daddy Mouse and Little Mouse hurried faster.
“Hello,” Daddy Mouse called loudly.
“Here, here!” came a cry back. Suddenly the rabbit stood and they could see his ears. “Over here!” the rabbit called. Daddy Mouse and Little Mouse hurried to the rabbit. The rabbit was providing warmth and shelter from the wind for the two field mice who were not dressed for the weather at all.
The wind howled over the hilltop and drove clouds of icy snow before it. “What brings you out on such a night?” Daddy Mouse asked as he pulled blankets from the pack and wrapped them around the two field mice. He poured them both warm coffee to drink to help them warm up from the cold.
“My wife,” said the field mouse. “She is going to have a baby. We were trying to reach Doc Mouse who lives down by the creek.”
“You’ll never make it that far tonight. Come with us to the Great Big Barn and spend the night. We can send for the Doctor in the morning,” Daddy Mouse said firmly.
“Thank you,” the field mouse said.
“What are your names?” Daddy Mouse asked.
“I am Joseph and my wife is Mary,” the field mouse replied.
“I am Jericho,” the rabbit introduced himself.
“I am Daddy Mouse and this is Little Mouse, we are both glad to meet you all. Jericho, can you run fast?” Daddy Mouse asked. Little Mouse watched in awe because Daddy Mouse seemed very much in charge.
“I can, but I am afraid they are not able to hang onto my fur without being thrown off,” Jericho shook his head.
“They won’t have to hang onto your fur,” Daddy Mouse said, removing bailing twine from his pack. “Can you carry us all?”
“Certainly,” Jericho the Rabbit replied with a sniff.
“Good,” Daddy Mouse said as he quickly wove a harness from the twine and tied it onto Jericho. He looked at Joseph. “Can Mary ride?”
Joseph looked at his wife and she nodded. Joseph helped her onto Jericho’s back and Daddy Mouse secured her in place, putting Joseph on Jericho’s back behind her. Then Little Mouse and lastly himself. “Can you see the Great Big Barn?” Daddy Mouse asked.
“Of course,” Jericho Rabbit replied.
“Then run for it as fast as you can,” Daddy Mouse told him. Jericho took off like a shot, bounding down the hill towards the barn. They reached it in just over a minute and Jericho was panting hard as Papaw Mouse opened the door and invited them all in. Papaw Mouse had cooked supper and they all ate, including Jericho for whom a carrot had been found.
“Where shall we sleep?” Joseph asked.
“You may have my bed,” Little Mouse told them. “I will sleep in the hay in the loft.”
“Are your sure,” Joseph asked him.
“It is my Christmas gift to you,” Little Mouse smiled.
“Thank you,” Mary Field Mouse said and she kissed him softly on the cheek, making Little Mouse blush. Little Mouse went up into the hayloft to sleep. Daddy Mouse tucked him in and kissed him on the forehead and said sweet dreams, Little Mouse, Daddy loves you.” And Little Mouse was fast asleep.
The next morning, Little Mouse discovered that Mary Field Mouse had delivered a baby boy mouse. He was quite amazed by it all. So much so that he ignored the presents waiting for him under the Christmas tree. Instead he went and got a teddy bear that had been given to him by his mommy before Barney the Barn cat had got her and he gave it to the new baby mouse.
“I want you to have this,” Little Mouse told the baby.
“Why does it mean so much to you?” Mary Mouse asked.
“Because my Mommy gave it to me before she died. I want him to have it so he will know he is loved,” Little Mouse told her.
“That is a very nice thing,” Mary mouse smiled at him.
“That was a very nice thing to do, Little Mouse,” Daddy Mouse said.
“That is what Christmas is all about, Daddy,” Little Mouse said. “It is not about what you get, but about what you give.” And with that, Little Mouse knew that he had solved the mystery of Christmas!
Thanks Bill! Have a wonderful Christmas with your own “Little Mouse”! And everyone, be sure to check out Bill’s books through Amazon and other book retailers.
In the meantime, my book loving friends…please remember the true reason we celebrate this very special day. It is when we celebrate the day that God Himself…the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator of all there is…decided to wrap Himself up in the Christmas wrappings of a child and give Himself freely to an entire world. God bless you all!