The Mice and the Raft

Three mice lived on a raft. On this raft (for it was a very special raft), they had everything they needed. Because of their differences of opinion, it was decided two of the mice were to conduct themselves in whatever way they saw fit on their side of the raft and the third was designated to settle any disagreements that arose and remain largely in the middle.

One of the mice may stray to the far edge but the other mouse would realize it and compensate by moving to its opposite side, keeping them in a state of equilibrium. If anyone were to wander from the edge, the third mouse would reign them back in to ensure they didn’t cause any harm to themselves or others.

The mice enjoyed the harmony they were afforded by the system they’d created. They’d wander freely on the raft keeping things in order and even had time for luxuries like sun-bathing and eating fine cheeses. However, over time, the mice became restless and felt confined by the parameters of the raft.

One mouse valued relationships and adventure and even though they’d all gotten along relatively well, the mouse knew (even though there was no evidence) there had to be more. And after all, they could swim. So, what was the use of the raft anyway? The mouse began to swim away from the raft and could be seen splashing and frolicking in the distance. But it would always return.

The second mouse valued constancy and security. In an effort to preserve, the mouse began to build on to its half of the vessel without much consideration for the other inhabitants. The additions seemed extravagant and alien but the mouse enjoyed the extra space and became increasingly obsessed with more and less aware of others.

The first mouse enjoyed their newfound lack of restriction so much, it became odd to see them return at all. While they seemed to (by their actions) be grateful for the steadiness of the raft, they also began to equally despise its rigidness. Between the self-absorbed efforts of the second mouse and the bitterness of the first, it became a very miserable place to live.

And even though the third mouse tried, it could not account for the increasing weight from the second mouse and it had no say-so or effectiveness apart from the raft. For you see, everything off the raft was free-floating so the third mouse could not help where it had no ground on which to stand.

The second mouse had now built so much on to the raft, it had become unrecognizable and the weight had become so much so it would eventually capsize; especially without the first mouse to bring it into balance. The second mouse had always prided itself on the raft and was thankful for its provision. But over time, it had become to look more at its own accomplishments and forgot the raft was its reason for existence at all.

The third mouse had another experience altogether. It had always felt its role was a burden. But through the years, it began to indulge itself on the lifestyle the raft and the other mice had provided. Rather than concern for the two other mice, it had become ever-increasingly more concerned with keeping its status and securing its position as arbiter. Even when the first mouse was scarcely seen and when the second mouse had become wildly self-absorbed, the third mouse wasn’t willing to speak to the situations and risk its position.

Both mice became more and more dependent on the third mouse to sustain the raft; although it could hardly be called a raft at this point. The first mouse wanted, whatever it had become, to remain intact even though it wanted to be free from any of its restrictions. The second mouse became more and more willing to hand over whatever authority it needed to keep the monstrosity afloat.

One day, an enormous wind blew and toppled the colossus over from its disproportionate weight. The mice scurried to find other structures but none were able to meet their “unreasonable” demands for living. Oddly, their descriptions all resembled the suffocating environment they were so desperate to escape. So, they lived the rest of their days dreaming of the days when things were much simpler within the boundaries the raft provided.

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