Your Christmas Stories: The Mouse Under The Tree

 

Come gather round, my grandfather called, to my sister, brother and me,

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In front of the fire dressed in Christmas attire, he sat in his favourite chair.

I’ve a tale to tell, of another noel when I was not much older than you,

A story that begins on a late autumn day, with hints of snow on the wind.

It tells of the strength and courage we find when we fear all hope might be lost,

And of a small little mouse, in her wee tiny house, living under the evergreen tree.

We lived in a village, on the edge of a northland that held beauty all on its own,

Our homestead held three, my mum, dad and me, and a boreal forest beyond.

A tradition began, when I was just four, to look for a magnificent tree,

Late fall we would trek, a path of a sort, searching our boundless outback.

We would eventually find, the truly right kind, and say that this is the one,

When Yuletide drew near, we’d return once again, to cut and bring it back home.

The year I turned 12, we took custom to hand, together my father and me ,

It didn’t take long, the best of the lot; I then drew my dad to my choice.

He bent on one knee, near to the tree, and said in a softly hushed voice,

“Look closely there son, down underneath, she’s built a nice tidy home.”

A burrowing nest, with a chimney no less, and a window in which we could see,

A small little mouse, in her wee tiny house, living under the evergreen tree.

“Son, let’s look for one other, there’s lots to be had,” murmured my dad,

And sure as he spoke, in one single stroke, I found another close by.

We marked our pick, headed back home, to tend to mum, who was ill,

Winter set in, frigid winds were so grim, with snowfalls that hardly would quit.

My father gone away to work for some pay, we had to fend for ourselves,

My mother still frail, I was sure not to fail, in keeping our Christmas glad.

A decision was made, I was determined you see, to go back for our tree,

A surprise for my folks, our home all adorned, waiting for dad to come back.

I set out next morn, sun shining bright; our backwoods looked easy to hike,

But it wasn’t too long; I knew I was wrong, blustering snow and the wind returned.

Dismay clearly set in, when it grew rather dim, and I knew I had lost my own way,

Until finally I saw unique greenery, a seemly lit den and this tiny mouse staring at me.

She considered my size, musing if wise, but still ran and jumped onto my coat,

She reached to my sleeve, a dainty small claw, and tugged on my sweater mum knit.

Pulling the thread, it was a brilliant bright red, and quickly began to unravel,

That mouse then dropped down, her nose all a quiver, flurries obscuring my tracks.

With the yarn in her cheek, she gave a soft squeak, and began to scamper away,

A passage aglow, against the white snow, I followed with dread in my throat.

Bits of wool lay atop, of raw polar frost, and froze swiftly where it set down,

Trepidation took hold, numb from the cold; I still paced after that trail of red.

My thoughts grew vile; I had just a short while, on if I was going to survive,

She came back to pull and gather more wool, then over and over again.

Those portions of fleece, piece by piece, gave me the will to continue my stride,

I stalked that line of unraveling red purl; led at last to the outskirts of town

I could then see lights of my own. hearth and home, and considered my fallacy,

When I turned round, to thank my small friend, all that remained was a thread.

The day ceased to snow, wind ceased to blow, and the stars came out overhead,

I came through the door, my coat on the floor; I saw what was done to my sweater.

Half a sleeve gone, I could only dwell on, I hoped the same for a small some other,

That she returned to her house, that brave daring mouse, living under the evergreen tree.

My father arrived the very next day, my adventure my parents were told,

I promised them then, I’d not try it again, “But please, Dad, let’s go get my tree.”

What could I do, to make it come true, as tidings of Christmas drew near?

With seeds and dried cherries, a circlet of buckwheat, apples and cranberries,

A gift mum said I should bring, just the right thing, sustaining the Arctic cold.

This small festive wreath, I’d put underneath, her tree for my friend to behold,

My dad gave in, with a shrug and a grin; next morning our journey went swiftly.

It didn’t take long, an hour or two, in our winter-land scene; it was all I could do,

To not go at top speed, and maybe mislead, I slowed down to cherish the day.

But a puzzle it was, I could see no red fuzz, no trail of yarn could I note,

It all became clear, as we drew near; she sat by her window and knitted away.

The small mama mouse, in her joyful snug house, living under the evergreen tree,

Our Christmas the best, a long winter fest, at last warm wind flew in the air.

Snow still on the ground, but being housebound, we decided a visit was fitting,

An early spring day, melt on the way, I brought along nuts, and some greens .

When we arrived, I saw five little mice, with scarves of red, playing under their tree,

Mama inside, two more astride, quietly reading a book, all in a small armchair.

With utmost care, I gently laid down, the provisions I brought to place by her lair,

Seasons went fast, the years did fly past, time spanning ahead rather quickly.

A boy to a man, moving away; one pleasant fall day I set out for a final farewell,

The only remains were just a few grains; of the seeds they had gathered a spell.

Her offspring departed, to places uncharted, the den abandoned and broken,

With hope in my heart; nature gave all a new start, to continue this dynasty, of.

That small little mouse, in her wee tiny house, living under the evergreen tree.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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