The Mouse Who Was Afraid
Retold by: Catherine T. Bryce
Once there was a little mouse. He lived in the same house as an gray cat. The little mouse was afraid of the cat.
“How happy I would be but for that big cat,” he said. “I am afraid of her all the time. I wish I were a cat.”
A fairy heard the little mouse say this. She felt sorry for him and so she turned him into a gray cat.
At first he was very happy, but one day a dog ran after him.
“Oh dear!” he said. “It is not much fun to be a cat. I am afraid of that dog all the time. I wish I were a big dog.”
Again the fairy heard him, and she felt sorry for the gray cat. So she turned him into a big dog.
Once more he felt happy, but then one day he heard a lion roar.
“Oh, just hear that lion!” he cried. “I am afraid when I hear him. It is not so safe to be a dog after all. How I wish I were a lion. Then I would be afraid of no one.”
Off he ran to the fairy.
“Dear fairy,” he said, “please turn me into a big, strong lion.”
Again the fairy was sorry for him and so she made him into a big, strong lion.
One day a man tried to kill the lion, and once more he ran to the fairy.
“What now?” asked the fairy.
“Make me into a man, dear fairy,” he cried. “Then no one can make me afraid.”
“Make you into a man!” cried the fairy. “No, indeed, I will not. A man must have a brave heart. You have only the heart of a mouse. So a mouse you shall become again, and a mouse you shall stay.”
So saying, she turned him back into a little gray mouse, and away he ran to his old home.
Moral: Sometimes the size and strength of a body mean less than the kind of heart it carries inside. All the muscle in the world can’t make up for the heart that’s not brave.