Last night my grandson spent the night with me, something that doesn’t happen all that often. Earlier in the day I had visited the library and picked up a book for the little ones. Before bed he selected a story he wanted me to read to him, what a surprise it was for me to take a lesson away from a child’s story. I thought I would share what I learned with you.
This is the story of The City Mouse and the Country Mouse (an Aesop fable) The city mouse arrives to visit his cousin the country mouse who is excited to have company. The country mouse invites his relative to join him for dinner.
Dinner setting was simple as two silver thimbles were pulled up to a spool of thread which served as two chairs and a table. Dinner was equally simple: ripe peas from a pod and kernels of corn found in a leftover can in the barnyard.
The city mouse appalled with the simple food invites his cousin, the country mouse, to join him in the city to see how the other half lives.
Arriving at his home in the city, the city mouse instructs his cousin on stealth moving about in the home he lives in. When he is sure the coast is clear they climb the beautiful dining room table to find all kinds of leftovers waiting for them.
The table, beautiful with its crystal glasses and expensive silver. The amount and variety of the food was more than the country mouse had ever seen. A big fat ham with plenty of meat still on the bone, bowls with sweet potatoes and broccoli, crumbs of a delicious chocolate cake, along with apple cores, orange peels, a few bunches of grapes. There were bowls of jams, plates of cheese, and slices of bread.
Just as the two mice began to enjoy their feast they began to hear growls and other noises coming towards them. The city mouse hurried his cousin to safety from the two dogs and cat which had sensed their presence and were about to attack.
The poor country mouse had never been so afraid, or in so much danger, in all his life. While the city mouse watched for the cat and dogs to leave to return to the dining table for his feast the country mouse ran away in fright, all the way home to the country where he felt safe and sound.
Like any of the Aesop Fables this one too had a moral at the end of the story, it read:
The moral of the story is: Sometimes the plainest and simplest things are still better than the richest and finest.
I realized as I was reading this story to my grandson how close this comes to life as we know it today. We can live in areas fearful for our safety from the crime around us. We can buy all the most expensive toys and gadgets then lock ourselves indoors away from the crime we sense outside our door and pay for alarms to protect our things.
We can live with the stress that comes from modern living and over-scheduling of our time to have all these wonderful things. Or we take stock of our lives, decide what we really need to be happy. Often it won’t be the magnificent things we thought we needed that make us the happiest.
Have you found lessons in children’s stories, as well? Which ones stayed with you?