In the forest was a holy man, a Brahmin. He sat cross legged outside his hut praying. The palms of his hands pressed close together in front of his face.

Three noises broke the silence: The first the caw of a disappointed crow; the second the squeak of a frightened mouse; the third was the whistle of something descending rapidly through the air from above.

The Brahmin opened his hands, palms facing up towards the sky. He felt a small, soft, furry body fall into them.

“And…”, said the Brahmin.

“And…”, said the mouse, “I was in my nest with my family when the crows attacked. They took my mother and father and all my brothers and sisters, and one flew down and grabbed me in his beak.”

“And…”, said the Brahmin, “the rest we know. Sometimes it is a bad thing to open your mouth to talk; bad, this time, for a crow, but things seem to have worked out not so bad for you my little friend.”

“I am a small and helpless mouse with no family to look after me. Take me as your pet and care for me.”

The Brahmin’s heart was touched. He made a special nest for the mouse in the corner of his hut and devoted himself to the task of looking after the mouse.

Under the Brahmin’s care the mouse grew in size and confidence. The mouse soon strayed from the Brahmin’s hut exploring the forest. The bolder he became the more certain that our story has to move on.

The Brahmin sat cross legged outside his hut praying. The palms of his hands pressed close together in front of his face.

Three noises broke the silence: The first was the yowl of an excited cat; the second the squeak of a frightened mouse; the third was the puffing and panting of that same mouse as he ran towards the hut.

“And…”, said the Brahmin, seeing that the mouse would be caught before he could reach the safety of the hut, “those who stray so far need the power to protect themselves.”

He slowly opened his hands and the mouse became a fierce mousecat who turned on his pursuer and let out a blood-thirsty meow that sent the cat running, tail down, back into the forest.

“And…”, said the Brahmin.

“And…”, said the mousecat, “I shall take better care, and remember who I am.”

Under the Brahmin’s care the mousecat grew in size and confidence. The mousecat soon strayed from the Brahmin’s forest exploring the villages that lay outside. The bolder he became the more certain that our story has to move on.

The Brahmin sat cross legged outside his hut praying. The palms of his hands pressed close together in front of his face.

Three noises broke the silence: The first was the howl of an excited dog; the second the squeak of a frightened mousecat; the third was the puffing and panting of that same mousecat as he ran towards the hut.

“And…”, said the Brahmin, seeing that the mousecat would be caught before he could reach the safety of the hut, “those who stray so far need the power to protect themselves.”

He slowly opened his hands and the mousecat became a fierce mousedog who turned on his pursuer and let out a blood-thirsty snarl that sent the dog running, tail down, back to its village.

“And…”, said the Brahmin.

“And…”, said the mousedog, “I shall take better care, and remember who I am.”

Under the Brahmin’s care the mousedog grew in size and confidence. The mousedog soon strayed from the Brahmin’s country exploring the deep, dark forests that lay beyond. The bolder he became the more certain that our story has to move on.

The Brahmin sat cross legged outside his hut praying. The palms of his hands pressed close together in front of his face.

Three noises broke the silence: The first was the roar of an excited tiger; the second the squeak of a frightened mousedog; the third was the puffing and panting of that same mousedog as he ran towards the hut.

“And…”, said the Brahmin, seeing that the mousedog would be caught before he could reach the safety of the hut, “those who stray so far need the power to protect themselves.”

He slowly opened his hands and the mousedog became a fierce mousetiger who turned on his pursuer and let out a blood-thirsty growl that sent the tiger running, tail down, back to its deep, dark forest.

“And…”, said the Brahmin.

“And…”, said the mousetiger, “I shall take better care, and remember who I am.”

Now mousetiger was afraid of nothing and everything and everyone was afraid of mousetiger, and, do you know, he liked things that way.

The people from the village ran screaming when they saw him, and he became very proud of himself.

The frightened villagers went to the Brahmin and asked him why he kept such a terrifying pet that spent all its time scaring them.

“What you see is a fierce mousetiger,” said the Brahmin, “what I see is a mouse, and that is all he really is.”

And… from that moment on none of the villagers was frightened of mousetiger, they all knew that, after all, he was just a mouse.

Mousetiger was angry, very angry, he had enjoyed himself scaring the villagers, and most of all he had enjoyed the feeling he got when he saw their fear and misery.

“My master the Brahmin has betrayed me, he has made me a figure of fun, it is time he felt the sharpness of a mousetiger’s teeth. I shall go to his hut and eat him up.”

The Brahmin sat cross legged outside his hut praying. The palms of his hands pressed close together in front of his face.

Three noises broke the silence: The first was the roar of an excited mousetiger; the second the sound of the Brahmin slowly opening his hands; the third was the squeak of a frightened mouse.

“And…”, said the Brahmin.

Three noises broke the silence: The first was the swoop of a hungry crow; the second the squeak of a frightened mouse; the third was the sound of a crow swallowing hard, hungry no more.

And… I shall leave you to tell me the moral of our story and how it should apply to the way we should live our lives today.

The Artists

The illustrations for The Mouse That Grew and the story pages of The Story Of Manu were created as a result of a Mythstories storytelling session at Stokesay Primary School in Craven Arms as a part of a Cultural Sharing project instigated by The Craven Arms Partnership and funded by The South Shropshire Community Safety Partnership.

Storytellers Dez & Ali Quarréll went into the school to tell stories from the different cultures represented in the community around the school. There were tales from different parts of the Indian Sub-Continent, Africa and South America for all ages from nursery children to pupils from year 6.

When Dez & Ali left the children got busy with a dazzling array of different arts media and illustrated the stories they had heard.

The pupils illustrations were to go on display at the nearby Discovery Centre a week later as part of The Craven Arms Cultural Awareness Day, and some would be used as posters to advertise the event.

The event itself was a great success with people from all parts of the community coming together to share aspects of their diverse cultures.

As part of the official opening of the event Dez told one of the stories illustrated in the exhibition of the children’s pictures and then the party began.

Key Stage 2 Activities

Half and Half

Half mouse and half tiger – but what bits would you choose from each? That’s your decision. Draw a picture of a Mousetiger.

Like Them or Hate Them

Both cats and mice can be loved pets to some people and hated pests to others. Think of ten phrases to describe a cat – five to describe what people like about cats and five to describe what people don’t like about cats. Now do the same thing for mice. Remember, five good things and five bad things.

Now let’s think just how bad a Mousecat could turn out. Take your five bad things about a cat and the five bad things about a mouse to make ten bad things about a Mousecat.

Now take the five good things about a mouse and the five good things about a cat and imagine what a wonderful pet the Mousecat could be.

If you enjoyed that, you could try the same idea with the Mousedog and the Mousetiger.

Anagram Names

Take the letters of the word ‘mouse’ and the word ‘dog’. Mix them up and use them in a different order to make a new name for the Mousedog. Try the same with Mousecat and Mousetiger.

What Lesson Did It Teach?

The story ends ‘And ….. I shall leave you to tell me the moral of our story and how it should apply to the way we should live our lives today.’

Well, we’re waiting. What are your ideas of the moral of the story and what lesson it has for us?

Ninni Baba / Come Now, Sleep

See lyric…

Ninni Baba / Come Now, Sleep

Come now, sleep, and bring here candy for my small one;
Or perhaps he’d like some butter, thinking it is all fun.

I am coming, ho! hum! but I visit others,
When they sleep, I’ll rock your cradle as I did your mother’s.

This post was funded by…

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