"The Mouse at the Seashore "
by Arnold Lobel
Retold by Me
Once upon a time, a little mouse told his mom and dad he was heading to the sea.
The mother mouse said “Oh, No! You musn’t go! The world is terrifying!”
The father mouse continued with this line of questioning, “Very bad idea, how will you earn money?”
To which the mouse said “(squeak)”.
“Well I guess your mind’s made up then, huh? Won’t change it will ya?” said the little mouse’s parents.
So Mouse set off on his journey, squeaking away at the light of first dawn, until the next day when Cat jumped out at him and said “I’m gonna eat ya!”
To which the mouse said “SQUEAK!” and narrowly escaped by the skin of his teeth, leaving a bit of his tail in Cat’s mouth.
Along Mouse’s journey, he was attacked by many atrocious and sundry enemies: dogs, birds, you name it.
To which he replied “SSSSQQuuuueeeaaa K.K.K.K.K!”
He was scared and exhausted, beat up and torn down, but simply released a squeaky sigh then continued on.
At sunset, Mouse climbed one last hill and gazed out to a sun setting over the ebbing and flowing tide, just as the rising moon began to appear in the salted sky.
Looking back on his tracks in the sand leading up the hill, he said “Squeak.”
Looking forward to the colors of the sunset stretching out before him he said “Squeak.”
(After reenacting this fable with a skilled magician, small children, and puppets, I began to hear not just laughter in the small-voiced puppeted "squeaks" as the children replied to prompts from the original fable in "mouse-talk". I heard a voice. My own voice revealing the timbre of my heart as I pondered each responsive "squeak". The Great Puppeteer, the one who reveals truth about my journey, regardless of how arduous and awesome, was summoned and questioned. There was much inner chit-chat. Perhaps I needed to rethink my past "squeaks", fill my head with a new set of "squeaks". Puppets can do that you know. They see things we humans just can't.)