To me, the whole world felt like a great big mouse trap--without the cheese. I was feeling irritated with everything and everyone. My whiskers were all bent out of shape. I was such an angry mouseling--mean to my brother, my sister and even Mother. I did not want to listen to anyone. Mouseling adolescence, Mother scolded.
There was one event that might perk me up; I thought . . . that was choir practice night. I always enjoyed hearing the wonderful music those humans sang. I plodded into the sanctuary. About half-way down, I propelled my way up onto the back of my favourite pew. I could see everything from there, but the lights were on only in the front so no one would see me.
There they were, all my favourite human creatures, getting ready to sing.
"Hi, Casavant, can I sit here?" It was my older brother, Bear. (Mother named him "Bear" because of his thick, black coat.) I couldn't stand anyone these days. Yet here he was, bothering me when I wanted to be alone. Bear moved nearer and I crawled farther away along the top of the pew.
Crescendos rumbled from deep inside the mighty organ's throat and echoed in the high vaulted ceiling. I just could not believe it--Henrietta Crystalcracker was going to sing "How Great Thou Art." Awesome! Her high notes always sent shivers racing down my back to the tip of my tail. I wiggled to get comfortable, shook my ears to make sure I would hear everything and rested my chin on my paws. Henrietta's voice got louder. I could see Bear gazing around and that irritated me. How could we be brothers? I had such refined musical taste and Bear was so tasteless. I wished he'd gone to the country with Father; then he could just listen to country and western music all the time. Country mice have no culture, I thought.
Henrietta's voice soared higher and clearer. My excitement was uncontrollable! Then right at her highest high, I saw Bear rush toward me. I thought he must be angry at something. He bumped me so hard that I fell off the pew and thumped to the floor below. Now I was furious! I glared up and saw the most horrible sight I could have ever have imagined. There was Bear, frozen in fright, and large chunks of plaster were hurtling down toward him. One chunk struck him with a deafening crash. Bear toppled forward onto the seat out of my sight.
Numb with fear, I scurried up the leg of the pew. Pieces of plaster were lying all around and there was a gaping hole around the chandelier directly above my head. Henrietta's high note had cracked the old plaster and it had fallen.
When I reached Bear, I couldn't believe what I saw. Pieces of heavy plaster covered his still body. I squeaked his name but there was no answer. I tried to move the plaster but it was too heavy. I think I saw a little blood.
Squeaking with terror, I raced to find Mother. I found her in the kitchen and together we scurried back into the sanctuary. By that time, human creatures were looking around and moving things.
"Poor little mouse! Must have fallen with the plaster! Let's get some of this cleaned up," one said, as he moved the chunk that was on Bear. He left my brother lying there and went away. Mother and I scurried to his side. He looked dead for sure, but after a few seconds, we noticed he was still breathing! Carefully, we lowered Bear to the floor. Then we placed him on an offering envelope-stretcher, and dragged him to our neat nest of shredded bulletins.
Mother nursed her mouseling son tenderly for many days. We all collected extra food and slowly Bear began to recover. I asked him to forgive me for being such a nasty mouseling. What a joy it was to see the sparkle returning to his eyes as he told me everything was all right again.
Finally, one day, Bear could stand weakly on all fours. That night Mother called us together and spoke gently to us. "Bear's accident will always be a bad memory, but he is almost well again and he has taught us a great lesson, my dear mouselings. When Bear saw that Casavant was in danger, he was willing to give his life to save him." Mother paused to swallow. Her wise eyes were misty. "You see, what Bear did for Casavant is only a tiny example of what Jesus did for the human creatures. They were angry with Him. They did not want to have anything to do with Him. Jesus saw the danger they were in--being lost and separated from God forever--and He died for them. Oh, those proud human creatures . . . Why won't they understand and trust Him?"
Bear and I held each other's paws. We had become best mouseling friends. How I loved him. He had been willing to die for me. That night, as I wiggled my pointed nose deep into our nest, I snuggled close to Bear's soft coat. I was so happy to be part of such a wonderful family, living here in the House of God.
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