Once upon a time, near a lake that was as clear as it was cold, an owl sat watching the world from the branch of a tree she called her home. The owl had woken up just after sunset, waiting for the perfect moment to begin hunting for mice. The owl, however, had already attempted to find the perfect time for the past three nights and was beginning to feel rather hungry because, according to her to own calculations, the perfect time to begin hunting for mice had never presented itself. Her parents had made catching rodents look so effortless that she never considered the possibility that there might be anything more to hunting than finding the mouse, swooping down to pick it up and taking it back home. Her own recent experience suggested that mice did not actually want to be caught and that it was highly likely that they were actively trying to avoid the owl altogether. It was as if the mice did not care one bit whether the owl was hungry or not and this was something that confused the owl so much, she decided to ask them what their thoughts were on the situation.
Spotting several mice who had gathered by the log that had recently washed ashore, the owl flew down from her branch and started walking towards the mice. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to fly towards the mice as they would most certainly scatter once they spotted her, so she hoped that her new, friendlier approach, would encourage them to have the decency to stay and have a polite conversation. This was far from the case. Owl was no more than ten steps away from the base of the tree trunk when she accidentally stepped on a pile of leaves, causing the mice to run away and hide as quickly as they could without a second thought.
By now, the owl was exhausted and extremely hungry. She was alone, and she was afraid she may never get to eat anything again. Tears streamed down her face and she sobbed so loudly that she caught the attention of a mouse who was known to wander off more than his parents would have liked. Despite the pleas from his mother and father, the mouse could not control his curiosity and made his way out from his place inside the log and timidly walked towards the large, crying owl.
“Whatchya cryin’ about?” the mouse asked when he was close enough to the owl.
The owl lifted her head out from her wings and wiped away some of her tears with the tips of her feathers. “I’m just so very hungry,” the owl whined. “And none of you mice will let me eat you!”
Owl’s comments naturally caught the mouse off guard and the more the mouse thought about it, the more he realized that he most certainly did not want to get eaten by the owl. Being an extremely considerate mouse, however, his mind immediately started to race in an internal quest to find and an answer to the owl’s predicament. He asked the owl some questions to find out some more information.
“Are you sure you actually want to eat mice?” he asked in a quiet, squeaky voice.
The owl tilted her head to the side. “What on Earth do you mean?”
“It’s just that I don’t think I know of any mice who would like to be eaten. I know I certainly don’t want to be eaten, and I’m sure none of my family does either, so maybe you’ve got it wrong?”
By now, the owl was beginning to think that it would explain a great deal if she was wrong about wanting to eat mice. “What else is there?” she asked the mouse, searching for some ideas.
“Well, I know me and my family aren’t particularly fond of crickets.”
“Crickets?” asked the Owl.
“Yeah. Crickets. Noisy little things they are. Keeping us up at night. I don’t think they’ve got any feelings at all. Pretty sure they’re crying out to be eaten actually. Why else would they give away their hiding spots all the time?”
The owl spent a few moments imagining hunting crickets and concluded that the idea might actually be quite appealing.
The owl flew back to her branch and considered in great depth what the mouse had told her. She listened with her keen senses for where the annoying cricket sounds were coming from and thought that she had nothing to lose by trying to hunt one. She sharpened her gaze, located a cricket and flew down out of her tree at a tremendous speed. By the time she’d made it to the bark where she’d spotted the cricket, it had already jumped away and was sitting in the long grass, appearing to mock the owl.
“Now, what lies has that young, tasty mouse been trying to tell you?” asked the cricket with a sly grin on his face. “Did he trick you out of eating him? Man, they’re smart those mice, I’ll tell you. Now, listen here young owl and you’ll have yourself a tasty meal before you know it.”
My name is Gregg Savage and, every night when the house is quiet, I write and publish a free children’s story at dailytales.com.au for you to share and enjoy.
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