Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Mouse, a Chapel, and a High Note ...

Gordon Cotton is a feature writer for 'The Vicksburg Post,' and first filed this Christmas story in 2007. It was inspired by a visit of a tiny mouse during Christmas caroling in a little country church. I love the story and wanted to share it with you.

"A Mouse, a Chapel, and a High Note"
A Christmas Story

Merry Mouse was trying to be so very, very quiet, easing ever so carefully through the fallen leaves and pine straw, up the hill toward the little country church.

Lights the colors of the rainbow — red and green and yellow and blue — streamed through the arched windows and, from inside, came the sounds of music.

Merry scampered up the walk and the steps that led to the doors so tall they seemed to reach into the night sky. There was a tiny opening, where the two doors joined, just big enough for Merry to squeeze through. Did she dare go inside?

Cold air whistled through the trees and around the building, and moonbeams sometimes pierced the clouds. Bits of frost glistened like tiny diamonds. Merry shivered. She looked at the hole in the door. The sounds from inside were so happy. It was probably warm in there, too.

“I wonder if they are in need of a church mouse,” Merry mused as she eased into the room.

Before her stretched a long flat surface of shiny boards; above her was a ceiling so high she could only faintly see where it ended. Perhaps it would be best if she went to the side and made her way to the front. The walls of the room were gray, just about the same color as Merry, and no one noticed as she entered the nave, for she really was just as quiet as a mouse!

Merry hid among the green leaves and red berries, near a flickering candle and looked back toward the doors.

“Those must be people,” she thought as she watched humans in festive coats of bright colors. Her coat was so dull, and theirs were so pretty.

She had never seen people before, but she had heard about them. She chuckled when she thought of the stories her daddy and mother told, of how the very sight of mice would sometimes make people squeal and scream, though they were so big and mice so small. Merry’s folks would laugh until they hurt every time they told the story.

There were other stories, too — horror stories — about her grandparents and what happened to them when they moved into a house where people lived. Just thinking about it made Merry shudder.

These people, though must be different, Merry thought. They were so happy and smiling and sang such pretty songs. Some people with hairy faces sang in deep voices, and then pretty people sang sweetly.

“We three kings of Orient are” ...

“Away in a manger, No crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head.”

And other verses even told about animals who were there on what must have been a very special night long, long ago. Everyone was joining in the singing. They sang,

“Silent night, holy night”...

"Hark the Herald angels sing,
glory to the newborn King”...

"Angels We Have Heard on High"

“Joy to the World”...

And when they sang, “Oh, Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining,” Merry wanted, oh, so badly to take part, but how could she, just a little mouse, help?

Then they sang, “Oh, night divine,” and one lady had trouble reaching the high note. Merry Mouse was so excited! She ran across the lady’s toes, and “Glory to God in the highest,” she reached the high note: “Oh, night DiviNNNNNNNEEEEEEE.”

Other people reached high notes, too, but it was just as Merry’s daddy and mother had told her — the people were not happy that she had come to church. Merry Mouse ran toward the doors, her little feet slipping and sliding on the pretty boards, and she literally did somersaults before she reached the opening and darted out into the night.

“They don’t want a church mouse,” she sniffled as she braced herself to face the cold darkness. And then she saw something that made her heart stand still — there, on the steps, were Tom and Alice, the church cats! Some said cats and people worked together against mice.

“Don’t be afraid, Merry Mouse,” Tom said. “But you are cats,” Merry cried. “We won’t hurt you,” Alice told her. “It’s Christmas. We’ll keep you warm.”

It took a bit of persuasion to convince Merry, but the night was so cold, and eventually she snuggled against the fur of her new friends as the angels sang ...

“Peace on earth to men of good will” ...
and also to mice and cats.

Gordon Cotton is an author and historian who lives in Vicksburg, Mississippi


Bo said...

Good morning...Thank you for sharing such a sweet little story. I love the picture in your header...your tree is gorgeous!
Merry Christmas, ;-) Bo

The Quintessential Magpie said...


You know how I love this story and Gordon! :-)

In the mail a few days ago, there was a surprise... a copy of the new cat book from the cat master himself. It's wonderful just like you said! :-)

I'll be smiling all day long now...



Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Janie,
This is such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing.

Glad to see you posting again...I've missed you! Your blog is one of my favorites!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wonderful post!

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Oh I love that, would you mind if I copied it for our family blog ???

Merry Christmas,
Kathy :)

beth at aunties said...

I love this sweet story and want to share it with my family. Thank You!
Janie, it has been so nice to meet you this year and feel of your warmth and goodness.

May your family feel of our Savior's love this Christmas,


StitchinByTheLake said...

What a sweet story Janie. Perfect for this season. Merry Christmas and blessings, marlene