Six Little Mice in Piano

Six Little Mice in Piano

Ricky, aged ten, after family prayers one night said to his grandfather, "Grandpa, you know what a boy in school asked me today?"

"No," said Grandpa, "what did a boy ask you?"

"Of course he knows I go to Sunday school," Ricky replied, "and he said to me, 'How do you know there is a God when you can't even see him?' and, Grandpa, how do we know that God really is when we can't see him?"

"Well," said Grandpa, "that reminds me of a story I want to tell you about the six little mice who lived in a piano.

"Six little mice were born in the far corner inside the grand piano in the living room. At breakfast these little mice always tucked their napkins under their chins and ate their stewed felt cereal that their mother had made out of the felt from the piano hammers. If the mice had been well behaved all day, their mother gave them cheese for supper. They used to play tag all around inside the piano, and they sometimes would go skating on the wires.

"Their mother, who had tiny whiskers, was very wise, and as the little mice grew older, they began to ask her questions. Of course they had never been permitted to go outside the piano and so the inside of the piano was the only place they knew.

"'What is the sky made of, Mother?'

"'Use your eyes," she answered. 'Look over your heads. You can see that it is solid mahogany.'

"'Well, what is the earth like?' they asked her.

"'Can't you see that for yourselves, too?' she asked them. The earth is a flat box affair like a triangle with long wires and wood under our feet and wood everywhere over our heads. Up and down through the world run a great many wires which vibrate and make noises. At one end of these wires are tiny little hammers covered with pieces of felt. These little hammers strike the wires, and that is how the wires make noises called music.'

"It all seemed very wonderful and all six little mice thought, 'What a dear, wise mother we have!' One day as the mice grew older, and wiser, too, they said, 'Mother, what we want to know is what makes the hammers strike the wires and make the music?'

"'Why, the hammers just strike, of course,' said their mother.

"'Yes, Mother, but why do the hammers strike the wires? Who makes them strike?'

"Their mother rolled her eyes up, tweeked her whiskers with her front paw and looked, oh so wise, as she said, 'My mice, you should know that it is the nature of hammers to act that way. That's the way hammers act; they just strike. That's all we know because its all we can see.'

"But the mice were suspicious and not satisfied. They were thinkĀ­ing hard. 'Isn't there anything beyond this piano in which we live, Mother?' they insisted. You see, they were getting restless. They wanted to know more and to go places.

"'Can you see anything besides this piano?' she asked. 'Of course, there was your grandfather; when he was a very old mouse and not much given to dancing or hunting cheese any more, he ventured outside the piano, and he had wonderful dreams of what he had seen.

"'In those dreams he saw another world outside this piano where giants walked around on two legs and didn't have any fur on their skins. He sometimes even dreamed of oceans of water with ships sailing on them, and of pretty lights hung up in a dark sky at night. Why, in fact, he used to try to make us believe that the strangest things existed in some fairyland outside our piano box. Poor Grandpa! Of course, we all knew he was getting old, and that he had grown soft in his head. The poor dear was crazy.' Then she said, 'Now run along and be careful not to get hit by a hammer on your little heads, and don't ask any more foolish questions. Be content with what you can see and with what you can touch and hear inside this piano where you were born.'

"But each day the little mice kept getting older, and one of them became very big and bold. He decided one day that he was going to walk over to the edge of the piano and see for himself what he could see. It was at a time when the hammers were striking on the wires and the little mouse's heart went pitapat. But he walked out to the edge of the box and came timidly to the rack where the music is kept. He sniffed and sniffed with his little nose. He just peeked around the corner of a sheet of music. There sat a big man in front of the piano, striking the white ivory keys, and it was this big man who made the hammers strike the wires, to play beautiful music.

"The little mouse was so frightened he ran back into the piano as fast as he could scamper. He told his little brothers and sisters what he had seen of the other world outside their piano house. He told them there was someone big and wonderful who made all the lovely music. They all sat around in a circle and brushed their whiskers back with a grand air, and scratched their tiny ears in a know-it-all way and said, 'Brother, you are just like Grandpa. We don't believe you. It can't possibly be true!'

"Now, really, was the little mouse telling the truth after all?"

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