The Marriage of the Mouse
An African (Ethiopian) Tale
Once a beautiful white mouse was born. As he grew into manhood
his friends and his family took note of his handsome face, his
regal manner, and his unblemished whiteness.
His parents often asked themselves, "Where will we ever find
a wife worthy of this young man?"
When at last the time came for them to find a wife for him they
had decided that only in God's family would they find a young
woman who had all the virtues worthy of such a creature.
So, as is the custom, three older people in the family were chosen
to visit God to ask him for a wife for the young handsome mouse.
They went to his house and stood before it.
"Why are you standing at the door?" God asked, which
was an invitation to enter. So they entered and said: "We
are sent by the family of the beautiful white mouse, of whom you
have doubtless heard. He is white as snow, and the most beautiful
of all creatures. We are looking for a wife who is worthy of him.
Only your family can give us such a wife for him, for your family
is the greatest and strongest in the world."
God thought a little and smiled at the messengers. "That
is a good thought. It is true that the young mouse should have
just the right wife. But, alas, you have come to the wrong house.
For there is a stronger family than ours. It is the family of
"But," the messengers said, "are you not stronger
than the Wind?"
"It would seem that way unless you know. But the Wind is
stronger than I. When the Wind blows he covers the earth with
dust, he even blows dust into my eyes. So you can see he is stronger."
The messengers talked among themselves, and agreed that in that
case only the family of the Wind was worthy. "Where is the
house of the Wind?" they asked. God smiled on them and pointed
it out, and they left.
When they arrived they stood before the house, and the Wind asked:
"Why are you standing at the door?"
"We are looking for a wife for the finest of all mice,"
they said. "We went to God's house, but he said the Wind
is stronger than he. And so we have come to ask for a daughter
of your family to be the wife of our mouse."
The Wind listened and thought. And finally he said: "Your
idea is an excellent one, and I thank you. But you see I am not
the strongest. When I blow with all my strength I raise the dust
and uproot trees, but against the Mountain I can do nothing. I
blow and blow, but the Mountain does not move, and I am forced
to retreat. So you see that the Mountain is stronger than I am."
"Where is the house of the Mountain?" they asked.
The Wind pointed out the house of the Mountain, and the messengers
thanked him and left. When they came to the Mountain's place they
stood there, and he asked: "Why are you standing at the door?"
They came in and the Mountain greeted them as is the custom.
"How are you? Did you bring good news? How are your cattle?
How are your children?"
They answered him politely and then spoke of the beautiful mouse
for whom they were looking for a wife. He listened thoughtfully
while they talked, and when they were through he said: "Yes,
it is right that such a creature should have the best for a wife.
But it is not my family who can give him such a wife. There is
another stronger than I. He digs at my foundations day and night.
He makes holes in my sides, and causes me to crumble. His family
is the most powerful."
"Ah, such a creature is powerful indeed!" the messengers
said. "Where can we find him?"
The Mountain pointed out his house, and the messengers went to
it. It was the home of a Mouse.
"Why do you stand before the door?" the Mouse said.
Once again they explained why they had come. The Mouse listened
and said: "You have found a wife for your son! What a joy
that our most exceptional families should be united!"
And in this way the beautiful white Mouse found a wife worthy