227. “The Greentail Mouse” by Leo Lionni


Leo Lionni has already mesmerized me and my son with his poetically driven rodent, Frederick. Yesterday, we got enchanted by another original fable by this exquisite artist and great story-teller.

A group of field mice lived peacefully in the countryside, until the day when a city mouse came with a visit and with a grand story about the fascinating celebrations of Mardi Gras. He told them about parades, music and about the masks. The field mice got intrigued by the story  and wanted to celebrate Fat Tuesday as well. They decorated the bushes with ribbons and put on scary masks. At first they had fun pretending to be the ferocious creatures, but before long, they fully forgot that is was all just disguise, and the mice started acting beastly towards one another… 

What’s real and what isn’t?  We think we can easily tell it apart and we believe that so should our children. We let them watch violence on TV, in video games, we let them play with guns and swords. It is all just a game, right? But is it? Why do we call a good book or a good movie “believable”? Why do we cover our eyes during a scary picture or cry when reading a sad story? I think that the line between real and imaginary can be very blurry even for adults, and basically nonexistent for the little children. For them, ghosts and dinosaurs are as real as mommy and daddy.

We perform lots of scientific experiments on mice to predict the human behavior or reaction. I think we should trust the findings of the “Mardi Gras” one.

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