Bedtime Story: The story of the mouse who could leap across the sky

Many of us tend to pay no attention to folk stories and fairytales as they are seen as the realm of childhood entertainment or considered simple mindedness for a grown-up. Analytical psychology regards them as stories from below that have a deep connection to the human unconscious. I would like to share a story with you, it is known in many different variants worldwide, in most of them the protagonist is a mouse, a rabbit or a little ant. The variant below is mostly based on the Bedtime Stories told by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

“The story of the mouse who could leap across the sky”

Once there was a mouse, who was just like every other mouse, except for one thing: this particular mouse could hear a special sound. After many days of hearing it she asked the other mice:  -“Brothers, sisters, do you hear a roaring in your ears?”  They all listened hard, but then shook their heads saying: -“No, we don’t hear anything”.  From then on no matter how hard the little mouse tried to distract herself she continued to hear the great roaring sound. One day - with her little cane and little pouch filled with food - she left her village to seek the source of the great sound. 

She came across the old kind racoon and told him what she was about. The racoon smiled and said: “Oh, little mouse, the roaring you hear… I know about it. I know what that is, let me take you there”. So they went together, and the racoon took her down on paths she had never seen before, and the roaring became louder and louder. And louder… Eventually they came to a great river and to the huge sound that she alone had been hearing - the sound of the great replenishing, life-giving, cleansing river. And the river rang out, and it thundered, and it roared… And it roared…

Some of the creatures of the river seeing the little mouse standing awestruck by the shore swam over and said to her: “Oh, this is the great river but there is more to see than this. If you crouch down, and then leap up as hard as you can, you’ll see something more marvellous.” […] So the little mouse leaped up as hard as she could, and she suddenly saw… just for a moment… far away the shining mountains. In that very moment she knew she must go there. “What did you see little mouse?” - asked the river creature. “Oh, I saw a sight that will never leave my heart.” - said the mouse. And so she felt called to make her way into the larger world. And she set out. 

After a long arduous journey she came upon a village where lived an entire enclave of very old mice. “Welcome” - said one of the old mice. “Stay here with us where it’s peaceful and nothing disturbing happens.” […] “Oh” - the mouse replied - “Can you see the shining mountains from here?” […] “No, not really. But it’s comfortable here. Plenty of seeds, our hidden place is safe from eagles and hawks. Forget those mountains, come stay here with us.” But the little mouse who had heard the roaring and also seen the vision of the shining mountains couldn’t stay, so she tore herself away and continued her journey. 

Gathering all her strength she ran through deserts and forests, the eagles and the hawks overhead made shadows on the land as she ran, and sometimes she had to hide to keep herself from becoming a prey. And then…

…at last before her stood the shining mountains.

It’s said that it was a sacred lake in the cleft of the mountains, in which many ideas, hopes and dreams could be seen, and if one were to climb up there one would even see further. It’s said that at different times of the night and day different understandings come to those who climb these mountains and find this lake. And it’s said that the little mouse still lives there… 

And yes, there she lives as a mouse among mice, the one who followed the roaring, while others claimed they heard nothing. Nothing at all.

Creating stories out of mud and water/oil on canvas/122x91cm

Notes from the attic is exactly what it says. I’m living in a tiny attic, the place of the creative joy and struggle of my life. These blog notes are timely fragments of the books that make me wonder about life, about the journey between my birth and death. This journey seems to have only one purpose: to find the way to myself. You are welcome to explore my paintings on this website  and connect with me through instagram or facebook, or you can subscribe to the monthly newsletter to hear about new works or notes from the attic.

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