There is an underworld of Valiant Mice. I go there all the time. It is actually a pretty quick trip, if you know the way. But that is the secret. Knowing the way.
I’ve learned a lot, being allowed to travel there. A human, with them, the Valiant Mice.
They didn’t pick that name themselves. It was given to them. Right after the Battle Of Okehazama, in 1560. By the actual members of Oda Family. They helped win that uphill struggle. But the Valiant Mice had taken on plenty of work before that. And ever since. For some reason, they always end up on the side of the Underdogs. A term which they think should be changed to “UnderMice.”
Yes, behind countless victories of battle, every momentous scientific discovery, and many historical saving graces, there has been a network of little helpers. They bustle behind the scenes, connecting the dots, making the impossible ends meet, and doing the good that most will never know. Mostly going unnoticed on the surface of things, to the common outside glance. There are rumors about them; those stories here and there, where the Valiant Mice have been spotted, or noted, or seen in a whirl of colorless virtue. Always though, their presence remains a secret and unexplained enigma.
And they like it that way.
I first met them in 1969. Well, one of them. I found an injured mouse in my backyard. I was five. It was my greatest intention to make this mouse well. I prepared a shoebox with a bed of grass. I placed a little cap filled with water by his side. And a slice of banana with peanut butter on it. I tried my best to attend to his needs, but he died in my care. I was terribly, terribly upset. I petitioned my Mom for a proper burial in our backyard. As she went into the house to find the necessaries, I was approached by the Drumm Brothers, Morton, and Omer. Right there, in my own backyard.
The mouse I found was completely Nakers.
These two little fellas had on some very fine threads. And hats. I loved them immediately, especially Omer, who kept sneezing. He was, and is, allergic to pollen. A real bummer for a little mouse.
Anyway. They came for their friend and asked me to hand him over. Which I did. I was instructed to close the lid of the shoebox, and pretend that mouse was still inside. Just then, my Mom swung open the back screen door, a little garden shovel in hand. When I looked back to Morton and Omer, they were gone. As quickly as they had come. Their friend was gone too.
But yes. That was a meeting I will never forget. And since that very important day, I gather with them frequently. They have taught me a lot over the years. About their virtue, their courage, and honor. And how to make really good Cheese Dip, in three easy steps.
Quite interestingly, they all wear a little insignia. Or they carry it. Or they keep it in their hearts.
It is in the form of a triangle with three phrases at the edges.
Speak Honestly. Listen Carefully. Be Fair.
That’s their Mission. Their Vision. Their Code of Conduct.
I’ve probably said too much already. Yet, somehow, today, I wanted you to know.
“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.”
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”
― Albert Einstein
“In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fair-mindedness, and gentleness with what is strange.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche
“Listening? That’s why we have big ears.”
— First Mouse Weldon Spedaro