There have been at least four (incomplete) versions of the Amerindian Jumping Mouse Story in circulation in English since about 1970. Here are three of them:
Version (1) was told to Robin Ridington by his friend and teacher,
Chuck Storm, Hyemeyohsts. Robin Ridington told the story, with
notes, to the Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Society
in New Orleans, Nov. 22, 1969.
version (2) is from Seven Arrows,
Version (3) has been formatted as a Radio Play and is the most complete of the four versions.
One time there was a mouse who lived with other mice and this little mouse kept hearing a roaring in his ears. He couldn't figure out what it was. All the time, everywhere he went, as he went about his mouse's business, his little whiskers going, looking into nooks and crannies, gathering things, taking seeds from one place to another, he kept hearing this roaring and he wondered what it was. Sometimes he would ask the other mice, "I hear this roaring in my ears, what is it?" And the other mice always said, "We don't hear anything. You must be crazy, get back to work. Accumulate!" So he got back to work, being a mouse, and did all the things that mice do, but he couldn't get the roaring out of his ears and finally he resolved that he would try to find out what it was.
Very timidly he went just to the edge of where the mice were living around the roots of trees and bushes. As soon as he got outside of where the mice lived, he saw a raccoon and the racoon said, "Hello, little brother," and he looked up and said, "Hello, brother." And he said, "You know, I hear this roaring in my ears all the time and I wonder what it is." The racoon said, "Oh, that's easy. I know what that is, that's the great river and I go there every day to wash my food." Little Mouse was really excited because this was the first time that anyone had ever said that what he heard was real and so he started scheming in his mouse's way about how he would take the proof back to all the other mice and then they wouldn't think he was strange anymore. So racoon said, "Yes, I'll take you to the river," and little mouse followed along behind him.
Finally they got to the edge of the great river, to a little eddy on the great river, but little mouse had never seen anything like that before in his life, this fantastic expanse of water. Where mice live the only water they see is rainwater and dew. They don't see big bodies of water, and to little mouse it was just immense and he timidly went up to the edge of the water. He looked in and he freaked because he saw a mouse in there! He jumped back but nothing happened and he looked again and he saw, yes, it's a mouse in there. He'd seen his own reflection for the first time.
The racoon led him down to the bank of the river and at one place he put his hand in and tasted the water and finally the racoon said, "I have to go about my business and find food and wash it in the river, but I'll take you to a friend of mine." So racoon took little mouse to his brother, Frog.
There was a big green frog sitting on the edge of the river, sort of half in and half out. Little mouse said to him, "Hello, brother," and the frog replied, "Hello, brother." And they talked for awhile and the frog told him all about his life, about how he had been given the gift to live half in the water and half out of the water. He was all green on top and white underneath. He told little mouse, "When thunderbird flies you will always find me here but when winter- man comes I will be gone." That sounded pretty good to little mouse and then the frog said to him, "Do you want a medicine?" Little mouse said, "Sure, I'd like a medicine, yes." And then the frog said, "O. K., just crouch down as low as you can get and then jump up as high as you can jump."
So little mouse did that. He got down as low as he could go and then he jumped up as high as a mouse could jump. And when he jumped up he saw the sacred mountains and then he fell back down and fell into the water.
Nothing like this had ever happened to him before and he scurried out of the water and he was really mad. He said, "You tricked me, that's no medicine, I fell in the water." And the frog said, "Yes, you fell in the water. You're wet. But you're safe, you're alive, aren't you?" And little mouse said, "Yes, I am." And the frog said to him, "What did you see when you jumped up?" Little mouse said, "Oh, yes, yes. I saw the sacred mountains." And the frog said to him, "You have a new name. Your name is Jumping Mouse."
Jumping Mouse thanks the frog for having taught him and then he says, "It's time to go back to my people. I want to tell them about the sacred mountains." He has really changed. Instead of saying, "I want to prove to those bastards that the river really exists," now he is just excited. He's seen the sacred mountains and he wants to go back and share his vision with his people. He speaks in innocence because he has learned from the frog. He wants to go back in innocence to tell them about it, and in innocence he will be able to return. The frog tells him, "It's easy to go back to your people. Just keep the sound of the river behind you. The roaring that you heard is now your medicine. You know what it is and you can return to your people."
Mice are unable to go in a straight line because they can see close but with the medicine behind him Jumping Mouse can return. He has always heard it, but now he can navigate by it, he has a direction.
Jumping Mouse keeps the medicine behind him and goes back to where the other mice are living. he says to them, "You know that roaring in my ears? It was the great river and racoon took me there and I met a frog. The frog gave me a medicine and I jumped up and I saw the sacred mountains." But they looked at him really strangely because he was all wet. He had forgotten entirely about falling in the river but they started whispering among themselves. They said, "An animal must have had him in its mouth. There must be something wrong with him. There must be some pollution, something terrible that he was in the jaws of death and wasn't taken. Very dangerous person." They didn't even hear what he said about the sacred mountains.
Poor Jumping Mouse was just crestfallen at this because he had really wanted to tell them about what he had seen so they could see it too, but they couldn't. You cannot see through the eyes of another without giving him your eyes, and they were unable to do that. He stayed with them for a while because they were his people, but finally he resolved that he would go on and find the sacred mountains.
He told them about his resolve and they said, "You're insane, you can't do it, the spots will get you." They knew, all mice know, that out on the prairie eagles can swoop down and get mice. But mice do not know eagles. They are too distant from them and so they only see them as spots in the sky. They can see close into the little things of the earth but when they look up and far away they only see spots. And this is a paradox, but eagles when they are close to the ground only see things as a blur. The mice's fear of spots is real because eagles are real and really get mice, and Jumping Mouse was terrified but went on. Out onto the prairie he went, his whiskers feeling, dodging this way and that, feeling the spots pressing down on his back. The prairie is where the great animals meet and travel far and it is an alien place for a mouse. Jumping Mouse went out into it with his fear and finally he came to a circle of sweet sage.
The circle of sage was a haven, a cover from the spots, and sweet sage is a plant that you cannot eat but which is used by the Indians for incense, prayer, something healing and beautiful. There in the sweet sage was an old, old mouse. Long braids, an old mouse. Jumping Mouse was joyous to meet someone of his own kind he could talk to out in this alien place. The clump of sage was a haven and a paradise for mice. There were seeds and roots to crawl into and everything a mouse could want there. He went up to the old mouse and he said, "Grandfather, I heard a roaring in my ears and I have been to the great river." The old mouse said, "Yes, I too heard the roaring and I too have been to the great river." Jumping Mouse was really excited because for the first time he had found a mouse who had shared his experience. So they talked about the river and the common things they knew. Jumping Mouse was more and more excited and he said, "And then I met the frog and he told me to jump up and I jumped up and I saw the sacred mountains." The old mouse was silent for a long time and finally said, "My grandson, the great river is real and we have both been there and tasted its water, but the sacred mountains are just a myth. They don't exist." Jumping Mouse was just crushed and disappointed by this and the old mouse said to him, "Stay with me and grow old with me here. This is a perfect place for mice and we have both been further than any other mouse."
Jumping Mouse resolves to go on and the old mouse is really upset. He says, "You can't do that, the spots will get you." But Jumping Mouse is resolved and he leaves the old mouse in the sage. He goes out onto the prairie and he is really afraid. He can feel the spots, just feel them pressing in. Knows that they are there every moment; his little whiskers are going fast and finally he gets out to the middle of the prairie and comes to a stand of chokecherry bushes. Chokecherries are good to eat but they make you fantastically thirsty. The more you eat, the more thirst you have.
Jumping Mouse is out of breath and thankful for a safe haven and cover from the spots and as he lies there panting, he hears a great sighing slowly, up and down. And he looks up and sees that it is a great animal. Jumping Mouse thinks, "I am so small and this great being is so large," and he forgets his fear in his awe and goes up to the animal and says, "Hello, great brother," and it replies, "Hello, little brother," and Jumping Mouse asks, "Who are you?" and he says, "I am a Buffalo and I am dying." When he hears this, little mouse is overcome with sadness that this great being that he has just met is dying and he says to him, "What can I do to make you well? Is there any medicine that will make you well?" And the buffalo says, "I have talked with my medicine and it has told me that there is only one thing that will make me well, and that is the eye of a mouse, and there is no such thing as a mouse."
Jumping Mouse was just freaked by this and he ran back, his little whiskers going, his tail behind him until he reached some cover. But from a safe place he heard the breathing again, getting slower and slower, and he felt a tremendous compassion for the buffalo. "I am so small," he thought, "and the buffalo is so great and so beautiful." Finally he came out from his hole, taking two steps forward and one step back, his tail dragging, but resolved to speak to his great brother. "I want to tell you something," he said, " there is such a thing as a mouse and I am a mouse."
"Thank you very much, little brother," the buffalo replied. "I will die happy knowing that there is such a thing as a mouse. But it is too much to ask of you to give one of your eyes." But Jumping Mouse told him, "No, I am so small and you are so great that I would like to give you one of my eyes and make you well." And immediately as he said that, one of his eyes flew out of his head and the Buffalo jumped up, strong and powerful, his hooves pounding on the earth and his great head dancing and hooking. He was strong and he said, "I know who you are. You are Jumping Mouse and you have been to the river and jumped up and seen the sacred mountains. You are on your way to them. I can guide you across the prairie, for I am one of the great beings of the prairie. Run underneath me. I know you are afraid of the spots, and I will protect you from them. You will be safe and I will take you across the prairie right to the edge of the sacred mountains. But I can't take you farther than that because I am a creature of the prairie and I must stay here to give away to the people. If I go up onto the sacred mountains it will be too steep and I will fall and crush you."
So Jumping Mouse runs underneath the buffalo across the prairie, his hooves just pounding, dust flying, shaking the earth and little mouse is frightened at the great power of the buffalo. He knows he is safe but this is worse, trying to keep up with a goddam buffalo! Finally they get to the edge of the prairie and he is really exhausted and he comes creeping out from underneath the great buffalo, thankful to be alive. He looks up at the great gift and he says, "That was really something!" And the buffalo says, "You didn't need to worry, little brother. I am a buffalo and I know where I place every footstep. I am a great dancer and light on my feet. I could see you underneath me all the way and you were perfectly safe."
So the buffalo left Jumping Mouse at the edge of the sacred mountains, and he looks around. Who should he see now but a wolf, sitting there - a big beautiful wolf, just sitting on his haunches, kind of looking around one place or another. And he goes up to him and he says, "Hello, brother Wolf." And the wolf says, "Wolf, wolf, yes, I'm a wolf, wolf, yes, wolf," and then he sort of sits back and a beatific grin comes across his and he doesn't say any more. His mind wanders, slips away. And Jumping Mouse can't figure that out. What the hell's going on? So he comes up again and he says, "Hello, brother wolf," and the wolf says "Wolf, wolf, yes wolf, wolf yes, I'm a wolf, yes," and his voice trails off as his mind slips again.
So Jumping Mouse wonders what is going on and he goes a little distance away and he listens to the beating of his heart; the sound of his heart is beating like a drum inside him. And he remembered all the thing that have happened to him. He remembered that when the buffalo was dying the thing that would make him well was the eye of a mouse and he figures that's good medicine. "I've got good medicine, a lot of power in the eye of a mouse." And he resolves that he will give his other eye to the wolf and that will make him well. So he goes up to the wolf and he says, "Brother wolf," and the wolf begins to say, "Wolf, wolf" but Jumping Mouse stops him and says, "I want to give you one of my eyes," and immediately his eye, his last eye, is gone and he's blind, and the wolf jumps up and says, Yes, I'm a wolf. I know who you are. You are Jumping Mouse. You have been to the great river, the frog has shown you the sacred mountains, the buffalo has brought you to me, and I can guide you to the medicine lake at the top of the sacred mountains."
Little mouse is blind now, and all he has is his whiskers. He can touch but he has given up all his old ways of seeing. He can only touch things close now. The wolf takes him up from the prairie, through the pines, "stands-in-place," Finally they get to the open country at the top of the mountain. There are no trees there, no cover, nothing for a mouse. They get to the edge of the medicine lake and the wolf tells him, "We are here. We are at the medicine lake." And he sits Jumping Mouse down by it.
Jumping Mouse takes his hand and puts it in the water and tastes it, and it's good, it's beautiful. And then the wolf describes to him what he can see in the medicine lake. He says, "In the medicine lake are reflected all the lodges of the people. The whole world is reflected there. The medicine lake is the reflection. It is a symbol of the reflection. They sit there and Jumping Mouse knows that it is time for the wolf to go about his business and travel to other parts of the world. It is time for the eagles to get him. It is an open place and as soon as his guide is gone the eagles will see him and come. He is blind and he can't see them. The wolf feels tremendous compassion and feeling for Jumping Mouse his brother, and his heart stretches out to him, and the wolf cries. Then he leaves and Jumping Mouse is left alone, blind, nothing but looking within, and he can feel the spots on his back, just pressing in, hard. And then he hears the rush of wind and wings and then there is a fantastic shock and everything is black.
The next thing he knows, he can see colours. He can see! He
can see colours. And he's amazed, astounded, he doesn't know if
he's dreaming or what is happening. But he's alive and he can see
colours. Then he sees a blur of colours moving toward him,
something green and white moving his way and from the colours comes
a voice. "You want a medicine?" And Jumping Mouse says, "Yes, I'd
like a medicine." And the voice says, "Just get down as far as you
can and jump up as high as you can jump." So little mouse gets down
as low as he can and jumps up as high as he can jump, and when he
does, the wind catches him and swirls him up and up and up in the
air. And the voice calls out from below him, "Grab hold of the
wind!" So little mouse reaches out and grabs hold of the wind as
hard as he can, and the wind takes him higher and higher until
everything begins to get clearer and clearer. Crystal clear, and he
can see all the great beings of the prairie, the buffalo, the wolf
on the mountain, and he looks down into the medicine lake and there
are all the lodges of the people reflected, and on the edge of the
medicine lake he sees his friend the frog. He calls down to him,
"Hello, brother Frog," and the frog calls back to him, "Hello,
END version 1
Once there was a Mouse.
He was Busy Mouse, Searching Everywhere, Touching his Whiskers to the Grass, and Looking. He was Busy as all Mice are, Busy with Mice things. But Once in a while he would Hear an Odd Sound. He would Lift his Head, Squinting hard to See, his Whiskers Wiggling in the air, and he would Wonder.
One Day he Scurried up to a fellow Mouse and asked him, "Do you Hear a Roaring in your Ears, my Brother?"
"No, no," answered the Other Mouse, not Lifting his Busy Nose from the Ground. "I Hear Nothing. I am Busy now. Talk to me Later."
He asked Another Mouse the same Question and the Mouse Looked at him Strangely.
"Are you Foolish in your Head? What Sound?" he asked and Slipped into a Hole in a Fallen Cottonwood Tree.
The little Mouse shrugged his Whiskers and Busied himself again, Determined to Forget the Whole Matter. But there was that Roaring again. It was faint, very faint, but it was there! One Day, he decided to investigate the Sound just a little. Leaving the Other Busy Mice, he Scurried a little Way away and Listened again. There It was! He was Listening hard when suddenly, Someone said Hello.
"Hello, little Brother," the Voice said, and Mouse almost Jumped right Out of his Skin. He Arched his Back and Tail and was about to Run.
"Hello," again said the Voice. "It is I, Brother Raccoon." And sure enough, It was! "What are you Doing Here all by yourself, little Brother?" asked the Raccoon. The Mouse blushed, and put his Nose almost to the Ground. "I Hear a Roaring in my Ears and I am Investigating it," he answered timidly.
"A Roaring in your Ears?" replied the Raccoon as he Sat Down with him. "What you Hear, little Brother, is the River."
"The River?" Mouse asked curiously. "What is a River?"
"Walk with me and I will Show you the River," Raccoon said.
Little Mouse was terribly Afraid, but he was Determined to Find Out Once and for All about the Roaring.
"I can Return to my Work," he thought, "after this thing is Settled, and possibly this thing may Aid me in All my Busy Examining and Collecting. And my Brothers All said it was Nothing. I will Show them. I will Ask Raccoon to Return with me and I will have Proof."
"All right Raccoon, my Brother," said Mouse. "Lead on to the River. I will Walk with you."
Little Mouse Walked with Raccoon. His little Heart was Pounding in his Breast. The Raccoon was Taking him upon Strange Paths and little Mouse Smelled the scent of many things that had Gone by this Way. Many times he became so Frightened he almost Turned Back. Finally, they Came to the River! It was Huge and Breathtaking, Deep and Clear in Places, and Murky in Others. Little Mouse was unable to See Across it because it was so Great. It Roared, Sang, Cried, and Thundered on its Course. Little Mouse Saw Great and Little Pieces of the World Carried Along on its Surface.
"It is Powerful!" little Mouse said, Fumbling for Words.
"It is a Great thing," answered the Raccoon, "but here, let me Introduce you to a Friend."
In a Smoother, Shallower Place was a Lily Pad, Bright and Green. Sitting upon it was a Frog, almost as Green as the Pad it sat on. The Frog's White Belly stood out Clearly.
"Hello, little Brother," said the Frog. "Welcome to the River."
"I must Leave you Now," cut in Raccoon, "but do not Fear, little Brother, for Frog will Care for you Now." And the Raccoon Left, Looking along the River Bank for Food that he might Wash and Eat.
Little Mouse Approached the Water and Looked into it. He saw a Frightened Mouse Reflected there.
"Who are you?" little Mouse asked the Reflection. "Are you not Afraid, being that Far out into the Great River?"
"No," answered the Frog, "I am not Afraid. I have been Given the Gift from Birth to Live both Above and Within the River. When Winter Man Comes and Freezes this Medicine, I cannot be Seen. But all the while Thunderbird Flies, I am here. To Visit me, One must Come when the World is Green. I, my Brother, am the Keeper of the Water."
"Amazing!" little Mouse said at last, again Fumbling for Words.
"Would you like to have some Medicine Power?" Frog asked.
"Medicine Power? Me?" asked little Mouse. "Yes, yes! If it is Possible."
"Then Crouch as Low as you Can, and then Jump as High as you are Able! You will have your Medicine!" Frog said.
Little Mouse did as he was Instructed. He Crouched as Low as he Could and Jumped. And when he did, his Eyes Saw the Sacred Mountains.
Little Mouse could hardly Believe his Eyes. But there They were! But then he Fell back to Earth, and he Landed in the River!
Little Mouse became Frightened and Scrambled back to the Bank. He was Wet, and Frightened nearly to Death.
"You have Tricked me," little Mouse Screamed at the Frog.
"Wait," said the Frog. "You are not Harmed. Do not let your Fear and Anger Blind you. What did you See?"
"I," Mouse stammered, "I, I Saw the Sacred Mountains!"
"And you have a New Name!" Frog said. "It is Jumping Mouse."
"Thank you. Thank you," Jumping Mouse said, and Thanked him again. "I want to Return to my People and Tell them of this thing that has Happened to me."
"Go. Go then," Frog said. "Return to your People. It is Easy to Find them. Keep the Sound of the Medicine River to the Back of your Head. Go Opposite to the Sound and you will Find your Brother Mice."
Jumping Mouse Returned to the World of the Mice. But he Found Disappointment. No One would Listen to him. And because he was Wet, and had no Way of explaining it because there had been no Rain, many of the other Mice were Afraid of him. They believed he had been spat from the Mouth of Another Animal that had Tried to Eat him. And they all Knew that if he had not been Food for the One who Wanted him, then he must also be Poison for them.
Jumping Mouse Lived again among his People, but he could not forget his Vision of the Sacred Mountains.
The Memory burned in the Mind and Heart of Jumping Mouse, and One Day he Went to the Edge of the Place of Mice and Looked out onto the Prairie. He Looked up for Eagles. The Sky was Full of many Spots, each One an Eagle. But he was Determined to Go to the Sacred Mountains. He Gathered All of his Courage and Ran just as Fast as he Could onto the Prairie. His little Heart Pounded with Excitement and Fear.
He Ran until he Came to a Stand of Sage. He was Resting and trying to Catch his Breath when he Saw an Old Mouse. The Patch of Sage Old Mouse Lived in was a Haven for Mice. Seeds were Plentiful and there was Nesting Material and many things to be Busy with.
"Hello," said Old Mouse. "Welcome."
Jumping Mouse was Amazed. Such a Place and such a Mouse. "You are Truly a great Mouse," Jumping Mouse said with all the Respect he could Find. "This is Truly a Wonderful Place. And the Eagles cannot See you here, either," Jumping Mouse said.
"Yes," said Old Mouse, "and One can See All the Beings of the Prairie here: the Buffalo, Antelope, Rabbit, and Coyote. One can See them All from here and Know their Names."
"That is Marvellous," Jumping Mouse said. "Can you also See the River and the Great Mountains?"
"Yes and No," Old Mouse Said with Conviction. "I Know of the Great River. But I am Afraid that the Great Mountains are only a Myth. Forget your Passion to See Them and Stay here with me. There is Everything you Want here, and it is a Good Place to Be."
"How can he Say such a thing?" Thought Jumping Mouse. "The Medicine of the Sacred Mountains is Nothing One can Forget."
"Thank you very much for the Meal you have Shared with me, Old Mouse, and also for sharing your Great Home," Jumping Mouse said. "But I must Seek the Mountains."
"You are a Foolish Mouse to Leave here. There is Danger on the Prairie! Just Look up there!" Old Mouse said, with even more Conviction. "See all those Spots! They are Eagles, and they will Catch you!"
It was hard for Jumping Mouse to Leave, but he Gathered his Determination and Ran hard Again.
The Ground was Rough. But he Arched his Tail and Ran with All his Might. He could Feel the Shadows of the Spots upon his Back as he Ran. All those Spots! Finally he Ran into a Stand of Chokecherries. Jumping Mouse could hardly Believe his Eyes. It was Cool there and very Spacious. There was Water, Cherries and Seeds to Eat, Grasses to Gather for Nests, Holes to be Explored and many, many Other Busy Things to do. And there were a great many things to Gather.
He was Investigating his New Domain when he Heard very Heavy Breathing. He Quickly Investigated the Sound and Discovered its Source. It was a Great Mound of Hair with Black Horns. It was a Great Buffalo. Jumping Mouse could hardly Believe the Greatness of the Being he Saw Lying there before him. He was so large that Jumping Mouse could have Crawled into One of his Great Horns. "Such a Magnificent Being," Thought Jumping Mouse, and he Crept Closer.
"Hello, my Brother," said the Buffalo. "Thank you for Visiting me."
"Hello, Great Being," said Jumping Mouse. "Why are you Lying here?"
"I am Sick and I am Dying," the Buffalo said, "And my Medicine has Told me that only the Eye of a Mouse can Heal me. But little Brother, there is no such Thing as a Mouse."
Jumping Mouse was Shocked. "One of my Eyes!" he Thought, "One of my Tiny Eyes." He Scurried back into the Stand of Chokecherries. But the Breathing came Harder and Slower.
"He will Die," Thought Jumping Mouse, "If I do not Give him my Eye. He is too Great a Being to Let Die."
He Went Back to where the Buffalo Lay and Spoke. "I am a Mouse," he said with a Shaky Voice. "And you, my Brother, are a Great Being. I cannot Let you Die. I have Two Eyes, so you may have One of them."
The minute he had Said it, Jumping Mouse's Eye Flew Out of his Head and the Buffalo was Made Whole. The Buffalo Jumped to his Feet, Shaking Jumping Mouse's Whole World.
"Thank you, my little Brother," said the Buffalo. "I Know of your Quest for the Sacred Mountains and of your Visit to the River. You have Given me Life so that I may Give-Away to the People. I will be your Brother Forever. Run under my Belly and I will Take you right to the Foot of the Sacred Mountains, and you need not Fear the Spots. The Eagles cannot See you while you Run under Me. All they will see will be the Back of a Buffalo. I am of the Prairie and I will Fall on you if I Try to Go up into the Mountains."
Little Mouse Ran under the Buffalo, Secure and Hidden from the Spots, but with only One Eye it was Frightening. The Buffalo's Great Hooves Shook the Whole World each time he took a Step. Finally they Came to a Place and Buffalo Stopped.
"This is Where I must Leave you, little Brother," said the Buffalo.
"Thank you very much," said Jumping Mouse. "But you Know, it was very Frightening Running under you with only One Eye. I was Constantly in Fear of your Great Earth-Shaking Hooves."
"Your Fear was for Nothing," said Buffalo. "For my Way of Walking is the Sun Dance Way, and I Always Know where my Hooves will Fall. I now must Return to the Prairie, my Brother. You can Always Find me there."
Jumping Mouse Immediately Began to Investigate his New Surroundings. There were even more things here than in the Other Places, Busier things, and an Abundance of Seeds and Other things Mice Like. In his Investigation of these things, Suddenly he Ran upon a Gray Wolf who was Sitting there doing absolutely Nothing.
"Hello, Brother Wolf," Jumping Mouse said.
The Wolf's Ears Came Alert and his Eyes Shone. "Wolf! Wolf! Yes, that is what I am, I am a Wolf!" But then his mind Dimmed again and it was not long before he Sat Quietly again, completely without Memory as to who he was. Each time Jumping Mouse Reminded him who he was, he became Excited with the News, but soon would Forget again.
"Such a Great Being," thought Jumping Mouse, "but he has no Memory."
Jumping Mouse Went to the Center of this New Place and was Quiet. He Listened for a very long time to the Beating of his Heart. Then Suddenly he Made up his Mind. He Scurried back to where the Wolf sat and he Spoke.
"Brother Wolf," Jumping Mouse said . . . .
"Wolf! Wolf," said the Wolf . . . .
"Please, Brother Wolf," said Jumping Mouse, "Please Listen to me. I Know what will Heal you. It is One of my Eyes. And I Want to Give it to you. I am only a Mouse. Please Take it."
When Jumping Mouse Stopped Speaking his Eye Flew out of his Head and the Wolf was made Whole.
Tears Fell down the Cheeks of Wolf, but his little Brother could not See them, for Now he was Blind
. "You are a Great Brother," said the Wolf, "for Now I have my Memory. But Now you are Blind. I am the Guide into the Sacred Mountains. I will Take you there. There is a Great Medicine Lake there. The most Beautiful Lake in the World. All the World is Reflected there. The People, the Lodges of the People, and All the Beings of the Prairies and Skies."
"Please Take me there,' Jumping Mouse said.
The Wolf Guided him through the Pines to the Medicine Lake. Jumping Mouse Drank the Water from the Lake. The Wolf Described the Beauty to him.
"I must Leave you here," said Wolf, "for I must Return so that I may Guide Others, but I will Remain with you as long as you Like."
"Thank you, my Brother," said Jumping Mouse. "But although I am Frightened to be Alone, I Know you must Go so that you may Show Others the Way to this Place."
Jumping Mouse Sat there Trembling in Fear. It was no use Running, for he was Blind, but he Knew an Eagle would Find him Here. He Felt a Shadow on his Back and Heard the Sound that Eagles Make. He Braced himself for the Shock. And the Eagle Hit! Jumping Mouse went to Sleep.
Then he Woke Up. The surprise of being Alive was Great, but Now he could See! Everything was Blurry, but the Colors were Beautiful.
"I can See! I can See!" said Jumping Mouse over again and again.
A Blurry Shape Came toward Jumping Mouse. Jumping Mouse Squinted hard but the Shape remained a Blur.
"Hello, Brother," a Voice said. "Do you Want some Medicine?"
"Some Medicine for me?" asked Jumping Mouse. "Yes! Yes!"
"Then Crouch down as Low as you Can," the Voice said, "and Jump as High as you Can."
Jumping Mouse did as he was Instructed. He Crouched as Low as he Could and Jumped! The Wind Caught him and Carried him Higher.
"Do not be Afraid," the Voice called to him. "Hang on to the Wind and Trust!"
Jumping Mouse did. He Closed his Eyes and Hung on to the Wind and it Carried him Higher and Higher. Jumping Mouse Opened his Eyes and they were Clear, and the Higher he Went the Clearer they Became. Jumping Mouse Saw his Old Friend upon a Lily Pad on the Beautiful Medicine Lake. It was the Frog.
"You have a New Name," Called the Frog. "You are Eagle!"
END version 2
The Little Mouse had Slept once again for Seven Moons. Now it was the first week of the month of the fifth Moon. It was time to resume his Busyness. This Mouse (Mus Musca consumerii) lived close to the earth with other Mice in a verge under a herbaceous canopy of Cottonwood, Coyote Willow (Salix exigua), Western Snowberry (Symphoricarpos occidentalis), Choke Cherry (Prunus americana) (Prunus virginiana), and prairie grasses. When awake his life was filled with Mice Busyness, running left and right, to and fro, searching for, examining, gathering, exchanging, storing, and consuming Seeds. He wriggled his whiskers, Touching them to the ground and the grass, feeling-at-a-distance, sniffed the air, arched his tail, and sometimes did foolish things, for as with all Mice, he was nearsighted. Unless it was right under his nose, he couldn't see it very well.
Once in a while this Busy Mouse would hear an Odd Sound in his Ears and he would Wonder. He couldn't figure out what it was. Approaching a fellow Mouse, he would say:
"I hear this Roaring buzzing in my ears. Do you?"
"No, I'm too busy Gathering to pay attention to anything like that."
"You must be crazy. Have you seen a Doctor?"
So he went back to his Mouse Work, doing all the things that Mice do, but he couldn't get that faint Roaring out of his ears.
One day, at Dusk, he decided that he would Initiate a Search: He would Seek the Source of this Sound. Leaving his friends he went cautiously towards the Edge of that with which Mice were familiar, listening. With One Step He left the World of Mice. Would the Stories his Mother had told him protect him from Danger, in a World Beyond the World of Busyness?
He Walked Alone for a time. He was Listening Hard and Walking Softly when suddenly, a Masked Shadow Ahead of him on the Path said Hello.
"Hello, little Brother," the Voice of the Shadow said, "You wouldn't be a Muskrat, would you?"
The Questing Mouse almost Jumped right Out of his Skin. He Arched
his Tail and was about to Run, when he remembered the advice of his
"introduce Yourself" she had said.
The Little Mouse gently touched the Shadow with his voice:
"Mouse", he stammered. "a Little Mouse".
"Hello, Brother Mouse" said the Shadow.
"It is I, Brother Raccoon, the Washer." (Procyon Lotor) "I see that you have learned that it is necessary to touch anyone you truly wish to speak with."
"What are you doing in this Place, all by yourself?"
"It is a lovely Night to Take a Walk, Brother Raccoon."
"Yes, it is a Good Night, either to Die or to Learn."
"I hear this Roaring in my ears all the time."
"I Wonder what it is and I am Investigating it."
"Perhaps I can help you. The Roaring (Nada in Sanskrit) sound you hear comes from the Great River. I go to it every morning to wash my food. If you wish to see it, you may Walk with Me."
What is a River? he wondered.
Busy Mouse now felt Excitement and Fear, two of the many emotions of Mice. This was a Confirmation. The Sound he heard was real.
"Does this Sound have a Name?" the Little Mouse asked.
"Esta Nada" replied the Raccoon absentmindedly lapsing into Spanish.
If I can get Proof of the Existence of this thing called a River then my disbelieving friends will have to think differently. Maybe I can get a piece of it and bring it back in my carry net. I can return to Mouse Work after this matter is settled. Perhaps I may discover something that will aid me in my Gathering and Storing, Buying and Selling. Maybe Brother Raccoon will return with me and explain to all the Mice that what I heard was not like a Shape in the Clouds.
As Busy Mouse Walked with Brother Raccoon his Heart pounded. This Raccoon was taking him upon Strange Trails. He could smell the Scent and Feel the Presence of many beings that had passed this way. But the world was alive with colour and movement and fragrance and was very beautiful.
As they Walked, the Roaring in the Ears of the little Mouse became the Great Sound of the Great River. Finally they came to its Edge. Busy Mouse had never experienced anything like this. It Roared, Cried and Thundered on its course. He could Not See across it. It Moved, carrying past him on its surface big and little pieces of the world. It was the most powerful thing he had ever seen. Approaching as closely as he dared he looked down into it, and Jumped Back. He had seen a puzzled frightened Mouse looking at him. He had seen his own reflection for the first time.
"The Great River reflects what you Feel and what you Think."
"If you radiate Fear, it reflects Fear."
"If you radiate Joy, it reflects Joy."
"But the images are distorted, stretched, rippled. They are not a true reflection."
"Nor should one expect to find a True Reflection, this far from the Sacred Mountains."
"What are the Sacred Mountains?"
"I have no idea. Ask me something about Salads."
"Sometimes when I am washing my Food I see their Reflection in the River.
Who can Learn anything from such."
"Why do you Wash your Food?"
"Oh, you just have No Idea Where those Antelope Will Urinate."
The Raccoon encouraged him to put his hands into the Great River, to taste the water. The once Busy Mouse sat on a small Rock and for a long time just gazed at the Great River. It was Dawn. He felt different: fresh, alive, open and responsive. Watching a Self-Aware drop of Dew about to fall from the tip of a leaf into the river, as his Wonder Touched the Dewdrop's surface, the little Mouse heard its Song:
"Wet, tiny Dewdrop
Sparkling in the Sun
Falling in the River
Going Home to Mum."
"Twenty one syllables," said the Dewdrop, as it fell into the River.
"I can't see him anymore. Now they all look the same to me."
"My Mother will know Me"
said the Dewdrop, going Home.
It occurred to the Little Mouse, perhaps it was true?, that the Great Sound of the Great River was nothing less than the blending of the Songs of more Dewdrops than he could imagine. It was a very powerful idea and it made his small head a little dizzy. Later he would regret not listening as the Raccoon described Three Kinds of Dewdrops, those who Know they are going home, those who Imagine they are going home, and those who Doubt they are going homt. The Little Mouse watched as the Raccoon washed her food in the Great River.
"Can I help you wash those Leaves you have gathered?"
"No, You can't. You have no idea how fussy I am about how things taste."
"If you wish to learn more, it will be necessary for you to Open your Heart, for a Closed Heart will be as unaffected by wisdom as this stone, which although it has lain in this river for many Cycles of Moons, still has a Dry Heart."
The Raccoon had taught him all that she could.
"I cannot return with you, Little Mouse. I am your friend but
not Your Proof. You will speak to your own people with
such Proof and Evidence as you can manage yourself."
"Now I am going to introduce you to someone who knows more about the Great River than I do. I only Wash my Food in it. He Lives in it."
They Walked, until they came to a Place. There, sitting half in and half out of the water was a large Frog, green on top and white underneath. Very gently the Little Mouse touched the Frog, saying:
"Who are You? Are you not Afraid sitting In the Great River?"
"No, I do not feel fear. I have been given the Gift to live both Within and Without the Great River."
"I am Known as the Keeper of the Diamond Waters."
"Brother Racoon said that you could Walk on Water? Is that true?"
"Only in my Dreams."
"However, I am a Minor Source of Power."
"Would you like a Power?"
"Amazing! Can you give me some Power?"
"Yes. Listen carefully: Crouch down, as low as you can and then Jump Up, as High as you are Able!"
Trusting Brother Frog the Little Mouse did as he was Instructed. He crouched down as low as he could, and then jumped up as high as he was able, higher than several nearby Flowers, who watched him rise, and watched him fall.
As he Came Down he Fell into the shallows of the Great River. Nothing like this had ever happened before. Feeling Fear and Anger and Dripping with Water he scrambled out onto the bank.
"You Tricked Me! That's No Power!"
"You intended Rising but you didn't Intend Falling. Did you think the Air would catch you?"
"I Fell into Water!"
"Yes, you Fell into the Water, as you Came Down, as many people do when, for the first time they see a great distance into the Unknown, but do not let your Fear and Anger blind you. You are unharmed and alive and ... what did you see?"
"I ... I ... I saw the Sacred Mountains."
"And you have a new name, Jumping Mouse." (Zapus sp)
"... How can I thank you?"
"I've seen the Sacred Mountains,"
"I'll return to my people and share this Vision with them."
"I hope they will listen to you. Just keep the Sound of the Great River behind you. Now that you know what it is you can travel toward or away from it. Go in the direction opposite to this Sound and you will find your brother Mice."
These instructions were necessary because Mice have such limited vision that they cannot travel in a straight line. By using the Sound of the Great River, Jumping Mouse can Guide Himself. So, Jumping Mouse returned to the World of Mice. And he spoke to them, and he felt disappointment.
"You know that Roaring in my ears?"
"It was the Great River and Brother Raccoon took me there and I heard a Dewdrop's Song and I met a Teacher who gave me an Exercise and I Jumped Up and I saw the Sacred Mountains."
There was only an embarrassed silence. No one understood. They looked at him strangely, because his Fur was all Wet and Steaming. He had no way of explaining it because there had been no rain. He had not mentioned falling into the Great River. The Mice were afraid. A Belief Sprung Up among them that he had been spat from the Mouth of a Terrible Animal that had tried to Eat him. And they knew that if he had not been Food for the One who Wanted him, then he must be Unclean. They didn't remember that he had spoken about the Sacred Mountains.
"You should be able to turn it on and off"
Brother Frog had told him, referring to Enthusiasm. Jumping Mouse thought he meant Intriguing others with his experiences.
Jumping Mouse now experienced a Time of Extended Sadness.
There was so much he wanted to share with his fellow Mice, and they did not feel comfortable in his company. He realised that most Mice are caught up with possessions and once, only once, he tried to speak to them about it:
"In the World of Busyness and Money there is usually
very little room for spirituality, for the very act of
possession has in itself an unspiritual vibration. Nothing ever
really belongs to us. Every piece of matter in this forest,
whether it be soil or seed or insect, is not ours to buy and
sell. We might think that because we have paid money to buy
something from another Mouse that we now possess it, but that
Mouse had no right to sell it, neither had we the right to buy
it, for the matter of this earth does not belong to us, it is
lent to us, in trust."
"Mice have created a material society, the basis of which is possessions, and this we support with our monetary, legal and judicial Mouse Centric systems. If these systems were to collapse, then the whole structure of Mouse Society would collapse. All that we truly possess is our consciousness. That is all that we take with us, when we die."
This was the longest, and the last attempt made by Jumping Mouse to detach his fellow Mice a little from their Busyness.
"All civilised Mice Buy and Sell",
they said, as they returned to Buying and Selling.
"Where did That come from?" said one cute Mouse, refering to his Speech.
"One seldom can tell where Channeled Material comes from", said Jumping Mouse.
Jumping Mouse stayed with His People for a time, but he could not forget his Vision of the Sacred Mountains. Finally he decided to Initiate a Second Search: He would go, and find them.
"You're insane, you can't do it" they said discouragingly.
"The SPOTS will get you."
Jumping Mouse had forgotten about the SPOTS. It would be necessary to cross the Great Plains, a place of Beauty, Adventure and Danger, to get to the Sacred Mountains, and over the Great Plains there live Eagles which track and swoop down onto Mice. With their poor vision Mice do not really know them as Eagles, except in their last moments. They only see them as Spots in the Sky. Jumping Mouse's fear of Spots was real, because Eagles are real. As he looked up from the Edge of the World of Mice, he could see SPOTS, circling in the Sky above him.
It was His Intention to Find the Sacred Mountains. He would travel at Night, disadvantaging the SPOTS. Waiting till Sunset, Gathering all his Heart's Strength he ran at dusk as fast as he could out onto the Great Plains, his tiny heart pounding with Excitement and Fear, Dodging this way and that, his Whiskers sometimes Quivering, sometimes Still, feeling the Spots gazing down at his back.
"They should be asleep!"
The Great Plains are an alien place for a small Mouse.
He ran for a Long Time. At last he came to a Place, a stand of Sweet Sage. Here was a Fragrant Place where he could rest, unseen by the Spots, and try to Catch his Breath. He would also consider the question of his weight. Mice gather seeds and eat all summer, putting on weight to see them through the time of the Cold Moons. On this Journey there would not be enough time to Gather, and he would expend more than he collected. He might well reach the Sacred Mountains fit but thin, and then Winter would come.
Oh, there in the Sweet Sage was an Old Mouse, smoking a pipe filled with Sage. Jumping Mouse was joyous to meet someone of his own kind in this Place. This clump of Sweet Sage appeared to be a Haven, a Paradise for Mice. Nutritious seeds and nesting material of the finest kind were abundant. Very respectfully he reached out and touched the Old Mouse:
"Welcome, brother Mouse. What, if I may ask, brings you to My Lodge? You are looking a little thin for this time of year. Would you like a cup of Sage Tea? That reminds me of a story about the Time I was ..."
"Grandfather, I heard a Roaring in my Ears, and went to the Great River."
"Yes, I too once heard the Roaring and I too have been to the Great River."
Jumping Mouse was really excited because now for the first time he had found a Mouse who shared his experience. So they talked about the Great River and the Common Things they knew.
"And then I met a Teacher and he told me to Jump and I
Jumped and I saw the Sacred Mountains."
"My grandson, the Great River is Real and we have both Been There and Tasted its Water, but the Sacred Mountains are ... just a Warm-Blanket Myth. They Don't Exist."
How Can he Say such a Thing? How could he forget a Vision of the Sacred Mountains? Perhaps his Jump never Rose Above the Flowers. Perhaps he never Jumped. He must have Jumped, else why would he be living so far out on the Great Plains?
"Stay here with me. This is a perfect place for Mice Who Know. From here one can see and study the Beings of the Great Plains, the Buffalo, the Antelope, the Rabbit, and the Coyote. One can learn their Names."
I wonder for what Purpose he studies, if he has abandoned his Quest.
"I have other things to smoke besides this Sweet Sage, a good library and we can share stories of the things we have done. This place has everything you could want, and we have both Been Further than any other Mouse."
"Thank you very much for the cup of tea you have shared with me, and thank you also for sharing the comforts of your Lodge and your wisdom. But I must seek the Sacred Mountains."
"You are a Foolish Mouse! There is danger on the Great Plains. Just look up there. Those are SPOTS and they are waiting for you! And what will you do when Winter comes?"
Arching his tail Jumping Mouse leaves running, afraid but Aspiring. He can feel the SPOTS pressing on his back, Tickling his Fur with their Eyes. The ground is hot and rough. He runs with all of his Heart's Courage. might.
Eventually he comes to a thick stand of tall grasses and low shrubs where there is Shelter, many kinds of seeds, grass to gather for nests, Rare seeds that he could take back and sell to his people at Great Profit. There are also Choke Cherries. A Choke Cherry is an Astringent fruit that tastes very good, but the more you eat the hungrier you get, and eventually you get very sick and very hungry.
Jumping Mouse becomes aware of a great heavy sighing moaning wheezy noise. He is frightened. He doesn't know what it is. Exploring, he comes to a Great Dark Brown Mountain of Hair sighing slowly up and down. It is a Great Buffalo with large black horns, its feet tucked underneath it, it's Head on the Ground. Creeping closer he gently touches the Great Buffalo;
"Are you alright?"
"Hello, Little One, thank you for visiting me."
"Hello Great Being"
"Why are you lying there?"
"I went in search of Love, but all I found was these Choke Cherries, bitter black fruit of an aromatic stem. The more I ate, the hungrier I became. Now I am dying."
Jumping Mouse is overcome with Sadness. This Great Being that he has just met, is dying.
"Can I do anything to make you well?"
There is a Legend that says that only the Fire in the Eye of a Mouse can remedy my condition, and, alas, there is no such thing as a Mouse."
No such thing as a Mouse!
One of my Eyes!! One of my Tiny Eyes. I'd be willing to give her something I didn't need myself, or could soon replace, but one of my eyes.
This Great Being will die.
"There Are Mice. I am a Mouse."
"Thank you very much little brother. Now I will die happy knowing that there is Beauty in both the Large and Small Beings of This World."
"I have two Eyes. You may have the Fire in One of them to make you well."
As soon as he Ceased to Speak, Jumping Mouse became blind in one eye, and the Great Buffalo, Healed, leapt to her feet, Dancing, strong and powerful, her Hooves pounding the Earth, her great head weaving and hooking:
"Thank you, Jumping Mouse. Yes, I Know your Name, of your visit to the Great River, and of your Quest for the Sacred Mountains. If you wish to continue your Journey I can Guide you across the Great Plains and protect you. Run Underneath Me and you will be safe from the Spots. I will take you to the foot of the Sacred Mountains. I cannot take you any farther. In the Mountains I might slip, fall and Crush you! That would not count as an Alternative Death."
Jumping Mouse is Worried. It is early morning, yet the Buffalo is making preparations to leave. And he is talking of taking a trail that traverses nothing but dry uplands. The Buffalo, having understood his concerns, speaks:
"You have traveled far by the Light of the Moon. Now it will
be necessary to travel by the Light of the Sun. There is no
alternative, if you still Intend to find the Sacred
"We will come to small streams from time to time."
"Perhaps we will encounter a Great Plains Thunderstorm."
"They seem to turn up whenever I make a Run to the Sacred Mountains."
Junkping Mouse notices too late that this Buffalo has "white socks"; her lower legs are covered with white hair , not brown or black. She is the White-Legged-Buffalo. There was a story his Mother had told him. This was no ordinary Prairie Buffalo.
The stand of Choke Cherries is situated on the edge of a steep Bluff. Far below there appears to be a dry river bed. The Buffalo begins to move, going right over the edge, they go down the steep slope.
Jumping Mouse runs Underneath the Great Buffalo, across the Great Plains, protected from Eagles, but with each step the Buffalo takes his whole world shakes ... hooves pounding around him, dust flying, the earth shaking, four powerful white legs flashing, and only one eye to guide him.
"I know I am safe from Spots, but this is Worse! If either of us makes a single wrong step, I am finished!"
The Sun has gone behind a cloud. It grows darker. There is a
strange electrical Presence in the Air. Jumping Mouse is startled
when a Bolt of Lightning Strikes the Ground a short distance away.
They are now under one of the Great Thunder Storms of the Prairie.
He runs Under the Buffalo as the Buffalo runs Under the Electric
Storm. The Lightning Bolts are Splitting Dead Trees on either side
of them. Above the thunderstorm there was a large, brief, dim,
luminous, red flash, visible whenevr a strong bolt of lightning hit
It occurred to the Little Mouse, perhaps it was true?, that the Buffalo and the Lightning Bolts were both Showing Off. Why not Walk to the Sacred Mountains?
With that thought the Storm moved slowly away. There were several hundred square miles of Parched Prairie to be Watered.
Finally Jumping Mouse and the Buffalo Come to a Place. The Great Buffalo Stops. Jumping Mouse, exhausted, thankful to be alive, is shaking with the pounding of the journey and the electricity of the storm. Hoof-thunder subsides, rumbling.
"Great Holy Electric Mother of All Buffaloes!"
"You needn't have worried. My Way of Walking is that of a Sun Dancer. I always know where my hooves will fall, for I take responsibility for each step I take. I could see you underneath me all the way and you were perfectly safe."
"And that Electric Storm, those Lightning Bolts?"
"Storm? Lightning Bolts? I did notice some Fireflies."
The Great Buffalo returns to the Prairie, leaving Jumping Mouse alone, with only one eye, at the Edge of the Foothills of the Sacred Mountains. He looks around this Place. There are many things here that Mice especially like. He knows that he can make an immense fortune by returning to his people with them.
There is a chill in the air as he notices a large Gray Wolf, (Canis lupis, timber wolf, arctic wolf, tundra wolf) a big beautiful Wolf, sitting next to a bark basket of dried fish, with a very strange grin on his face, looking from one place to another, doing nothing, just sitting. Very gently Jumping Mouse touches the Wolf, saying:
"Hello Brother Wolf."
"Wolf? Wolf! Yes! That is what I am ... I am a Wolf?"
"Hello Brother Wolf."
"Wolf! Wolf! Yes, a Wolf, that is what I am a Wolf?"
Each time Jumping Mouse reminded him Who he Was, the Wolf became excited with the Good News, but his Mind was Weak and he had Lost much of the Power of Long Memory; he soon forgot again.
Such a Great Being, but he has no Memory of Who He Is.
"Is there any way I can help you?"
"I doubt it. I'm growing sadder, going madder and I'm bound to Starve."
"Starve? How can you Starve, with all this dried fish next to you?"
"Is that what it is? You are probably a Mouse and when you look at dried fish you may see Food. I ... I don't remember Who I am or know What to eat ... to me this so-called dried fish looks like River Gravel. I won't touch it."
"You cannot tell any longer with your own Senses what is nutritious and what is not?"
"Whatever happened to you?"
"I tried to change myself into a Being of Beauty, Goodness, Hospitality and Pleasant Conversation."
"I allowed the power to run down instead of up."
"Now I'm wasted and useless."
"Worst of all, I can't remember why I'm here."
Jumping Mouse Went to the Center of Sitting Quietly, as Brother Frog had taught him.
"I wish to give you, if it will be of any help
the Fire in my Eye."
When the Little Mouse Ceased to Speak, Tears fall down the cheeks of the Wolf. But Jumping Mouse can not see them for now he is Sightless in both eyes.
"Thank you. Yes, I am a Wolf, and a Guide, and I know your Name. You are called Jumping Mouse. You have been to the Great River, Brother Frog has shown you how to see the Sacred Mountains, you have crossed the Great Plains with the Great Buffalo. If you Intend to continue your Journey I will Guide you to the High Magic Lake, at the Top of the Sacred Mountains. What will happen to you after that is a Mystery."
Jumping Mouse is Blind now, and all he has is his Whiskers and his Ears. He can Touch and Listen but he has given up his Old Way of Seeing, having sacrificed his "I"s. The Gray Wolf Guides. They begin to climb, higher and higher into the Sacred Mountains, above the timber Line, where Now there are no Trees, no Bushes, no Cover for a Mouse. All seems calm and peaceful as they arrive at the Shore of the High Magic Lake.
"We are here. Sit down beside me and Listen. In this Lake are
reflected all the People, the Houses of all the People, and all
the Animals of the Skies, the Spirits of the Mountains and the
Beings of the Great Plains. This Whole World, and several
others, are reflected in this Lake. And over it hangs the
"Can any Mouse reach this Place?"
"If it is highly enough motivated and if this is its main concern, yes."
""Does this Place have a Name?"
"It is called Beyond Striving, Striving's End, the Cessation of Striving."
"I'm still striving.
"I doubt it. With what?. Towards what?"
"The eye-sight of the Mountain Eagle?"
"What happens to those whom you bring here?"
"I don't know. When I return they are gone. I never see them again."
It is the end of summer. The Wolf leaves. There are many who need to be shown the Way to this Lake. Jumping Mouse sits with his fear and Loneliness wrapped around him.. He knows that as soon as the Wolf is gone the Spots will come for him. He is blind and without any protection. He is unable to remember his mother or father. He sits silently, looking quietly within. He can feel the eyes of the Spots, pressing into his back. The silence and the darkness are very great.
High Overhead there is a Sound, the that-ones-mine whistle of an Eagle, then a descending softly whistling stream of wind, growing louder. There is a fantastic shock. There is an immense Stillness. There is Amazement, There is great Surprise at being alive. Astonishment. What is happening:
I can see Three Sixty, I can see colours ... There is
a Luminous green and white Being, Walking towards me on the
Surface of the Lake:
"Would you like a Power?" (said the Frog)
"Whatever" says Jumping Mouse.
"Then, if you are Ready for your Last Jump, Crouch down as low as you can and Jump Up as High as you are Truthful."
"as High as I am Able."
"as you are Truthful."
"Whatever" says Jumping Mouse.
ga re yin yang - whatever it is
gang - whatever
gang gi yang - whatever
gang dang gang - whatever
gang dang yang - whatever
So Jumping Mouse gets down as low as he can and jumps up as high as he is Truthful and when he does, a WIND springs up and catches him and swirls him up and up and up. A voice from below calls up to him:
"Grab hold of the Wind, and Trust!"
Jumping Mouse reaches out and grabs hold of the Wind as hard as he can, and the Wind takes him Higher and Higher, as everything becomes clearer and Clearer, perfectly Clear, and he can See.
I can see the Place where I Started,
the Great River,
all the Beings of the Great Plains,
the Old Mouse,
the Great Buffalo,
and the Gray Wolf,
and from the Magic Lake the reflections of the Houses of All the People,
and the Painted Air,
and there, far below, on the Edge of the Lake is my Teacher, Brother Frog:
"Hello, Brother Frog!"
"Hello, Brother Eagle!"
The US Fish and Wildlife Service determines the meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) to be a threatened species pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The meadow jumping mouse, small to medium-sized with long tails and long feet adapted for jumping. in the family Zapodidae, is known to occur in seven counties in Colorado and two counties in Wyoming. The meadow jumping mouse lives primarily in heavily vegetated riparian habitats. Habitat loss and degradation caused by agricultural, residential, commercial, and industrial development imperil its continued existence.
Color -- back - greyish clay to yellowish-brown tawny-olive with an indistinct mid-dorsal band of darker hair and paler sides, large hindlegs and hindfeet, and a sparsely haired long tail.
Color -- sides - lighter than back from Clay Color to Cinnamon-Buff; lateral line distinct and clear Ochraceous-Buff; belly white, sometimes faint wash of clear Ochraceous-Buff; tail bicolored, brownish to light brownish-black above, grayish-white to yellowish-white below.
Zapus hudsonius subsists on seeds, small fruits, fungi, and insects, and hibernates from October to May It is adapted for digging, creates nests of grasses, leaves, and woody material several centimeters below the ground, and is primarily nocturnal.
The most distinguishable physical characteristics of the Raccoon are its black mask across the eyes and bushy tail with anywhere from four to ten black rings. The forepaws resemble slendor human hands and make the raccoon unusually dextrous. Both their forepaws and hindpaws have five toes.
Raccoons will eat almost anything including nuts, fruits, berries, grass, leaves, seeds, wild grapes, cherries, apples, persimmons, berries, acorns, peaches, plums, figs, citrus fruits, watermelons, beech nuts, walnuts, insects, crustaceans, worms, birds' eggs, fish, frogs, some small mammals, kitchen scraps, and garbage. Muskrat kits, crayfish, and corn are primary seasonal sources of food.
Geographic Range - Paleo-arctic, Oriental: Raccoons are found across southern Canada south to northern South America.
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