The Tale of the Little Mouse
By Dori Fritzinger
Many years ago in the early days of time, there was a humble little mouse. She went about her day quietly watching and listening to all that was around her. One day the Great Spirit was speaking with the Eagle and explaining his role in the lives of man. The Great Spirit told the Eagle how he must be the man’s eyes for this is how the man will see wisdom. Hearing this great responsibility the little mouse sigh a deep breath. The Great Spirit heard the little mouse and asked what was wrong, for she seemed so sad. “Not sad, but confused” she explained. “What confuses you little mouse?” asked the Great Spirit with loving concern. “I do not understand what my responsibility is for man? I am not strong like the Bear, nor have the special sight of the Eagle. What can I do that would be of importance?” she asked. The Great Spirit thought a bit, then said in a most determined voice, “You my Little Mouse will be man’s ears – you will always be there, off in the shadows, listening to all man has to say.” The Great Spirit went on to explain to the Little Mouse how she and her kind would be the great listeners. How their responsibility was very important; for they would not intrude into the drama of human ones but watch it unfold. Without words or attitude, neither for, nor against, their gift was that of to listen.
For to listen is different than to just hear, most anyone can hear what is about them, only truly gifted ones can listen. To listen one must not be selfish. One must watch and observe with all the senses the moods and feelings about them. To use empathy to relate to the one speaking and understand where their words are coming from.
The Little Mouse took the Great Spirit’s words deep inside her heart. She went home to her family and shared all she had discussed that day. With her wisdom and guidance they made the decision that to be in the best location to hear the human ones words they should lodge in the wall of the kitchen. For the kitchen was the root of the home, from this room all the life spread out. It was from that time forward that the humble mouse was now assigned to be the great listener. Her responsibility as Listener was as valued to the Great Spirit as that of the Eagle and the Bear. Where they brought man strength and vision, she brought him the power to listen with his heart.