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The Mouse That Saved a Life
December 20, 2012
"The Amazing Friendship"
Andrew Quilliam Brewer
There have been many stories about mice.
They fill the shelves of children's literature. What is so extraordinary
about this story besides the fact that it actually happened, is the
friendship that emerged between a man and a mouse. This is more the story of
an amazing friendship. A real friendship that saved a life.
friend of mine named Michael came to visit our mountain hermitage on the
backside of the volcano Haleakala on the Island of Maui. He was spending a
month on a kind of healing retreat with us in a funky old cabin hidden in a
circle of trees not far from the main house. One morning, after several
weeks in relative seclusion, he arrived for breakfast, shaken and emotional,
and he told me the following story.
He had gone to bed with tea and a
good book, after turning off his portable Coleman stove. He left out a
little of his dinner for a small mouse that had recently become his friend.
Michael was not a person who was fond of mice, but he said the mouse had
been so fearless and so cute that, despite his ambivalence, he decided to
share his food and to strike up a friendship with the mouse. He named him
Henry. He said that feeding Henry had oddly made him feel like a better
He dropped off into what he described as a deep, strange,
paralyzing sleep, and awoke some hours later to the sound of a shrill and
insistent squeal, and an odd thumping sensation upon his chest. Forcing his
eyes open, he saw his tiny mouse friend leaping up and down next to his
face, clearly agitated.
Astonished by such a scene he roused himself
and was shocked to discover that he could barely move! Seeing that he was
now awake, Henry leapt off the bed, and ran under the door to the outside.
With great effort, Michael rolled off the bed and crawled laboriously to
the front door, pushing it open.
The fresh pre-dawn air hit his lungs
and then he understood.
The gas canister from that old stove had
leaked its entire contents into the room, poisoning him as he slept!
Somehow, the tiny mouse comprehended the situation and yet he put his own
life in jeopardy in order to save Michael.
Once outside, Michael
found himself lying face down on the porch next to Henry. They were both
panting and trying to get their breath.
Michael told me that tears of
gratitude welled up in his eyes as he realized that his life had been saved,
not by the Fire Department, not by the Navy Seals, but by his very small
friend, Henry, who happened to be a mouse.
never knew you, but you have changed forever the way I look at mice. For
that, I will always be grateful. Thank you for saving my friend.
Michael A. Quilliam