Once upon a time, in the land of Wimpistan, there lived a great congregation of mice. These mice, like all other mice lived in peace and quiet. For years, despite occasional rumbling, by and large there existed great peace in the mice kingdom. The mice leaders were proud of this and proclaimed “ If we remain meek, others shall treat us with meekness too.” For years this remained the golden rule of engagement in the society of mice, and all was cheese.
Then suddenly, the mice began to die mysteriously. For some time, the vast population ignored this, fearful as they were with the prospects of the national cheese-eating team and the volatility of the chensex (the cheese index)! But the mice continued to die.
They fell while returning from work in their mice trains, or while frolicking in parks, even when they were savouring the spicy cheese delicacies in the neighbourhood shop! The mice leaders, long accustomed to an era of cheese siphoning were clueless. Who was killing the mice?
The leaders then hit upon the answer- it was the shadows! Yes- the shadows! True, said the others – was it always not dark when the mice fell? Surely it must have been the shadows! Blame the shadows! The mice people asked for drums and sticks to face the shadows. But the leaders would not let them, because they knew it was not the shadows! But if they admitted this to the mice people, they would lose their cheese!
The mice people knew the leaders were wrong this time. On the other hand, the leaders were always right! Why bother -Be meek and the shadows would leave us alone! they thought.Not so fast, said some young daring mice. Was it time to be bold? To forget fear? To stand fast? Not remain meek forever and die like flies do?
They decided to be brave. Slowly but surely they told the people to first be alert to danger. Then they asked them to keep their eyes and ears open and not flee at the first sign of a shadow. Finally, they trained a band of mice who would walk into the shadows if need be so.
Slowly the reports trickled in. A survivor of another “shadow” attack reported that he saw whiskers on the shadow. Another swore that the shadow had fur. Yet another said the shadow moved with something swishing behind…
Finally, gathering courage, the mice moved into the shadows in the direction of the latest attack. And lo behold- it was a cat! Thinking quickly they tied a big bell around the cat, while it snored away its latest mice meal. And then they went back and fought with their leaders and won the sticks and drums. And soon enough the cat was powerless! The mice heard the cat coming from far away and were able to stand up to it. Soon, it was the cat that had to flee for its life. The mice people were happy once more. All was well.
Moral: The mice people learnt from their lesson. Can we at least start now?