“The Mice, The Owls, and The Bright Blue Frogs” – A Thurberian Fable

I really enjoy the fables of James Thurber, so I thought I’d try my hand at a tribute (or a rip-off, depending on how charitable you are) about a subject close to my heart.

“The Mice, The Owls, and The Bright Blue Frogs”

Once upon a time, in a far off woodland, lived a colony of little brown fieldmice who spent almost all of their time living in little burrows in the ground. Occasionally, a precocious and bright young mouse would question, as precocious and bright young mice are wont to ask questions, why it was that they were committed to such a miserable subterranean lifestyle when there were such beautiful and bountiful trees and grasses and streams and sunshine outside. In response the eldest and wisest of the mice would tell of a time when death was delivered daily on their ancestors by a family of vicious clawed and sharp beaked owls that lived in the trees around their burrows. And, anyway, it wasn’t so bad down here, there was plenty to eat, they were safe and they wanted for nothing.

One day, a particularly precocious and cocksure young mouse refused to accept the explanation. “Pah!” he said, rolling his eyes, “It’s not so good down here, my uncle must wear glasses and I’m sure that’s because he’s constantly straining his eyes in the dim light.”

The other mice looked around and, sure enough, a small but visible proportion of their colony did have eye problems.

“And these owls,” continued the young upstart “if they even exist, can clearly be dissuaded from eating us if we just assert ourselves. Why, there are a colony of bright blue frogs just two hillocks west from here, who spend their days hopping around in the trees where these so-called owls supposedly make their homes. Indeed, they couldn’t be more conspicuous, and they come to no harm!”

The other mice cheered, and it was resolved that afternoon that they should leave their burrows for the open air where all eye problems would be cured and they could enjoy the beautiful and bountiful trees and grasses and streams and sunshine outside. Furthermore, it was agreed that, come night-time when the owls were most active, they should stride around confidently, making themselves as conspicuous as possible, to dissuade the owls from attacking them.

News of the massacre reached the bright blue frogs within three days and, being a conscientious species, they resolved to make the journey two hillocks east and respectfully bury any body parts that remained.

The End

Edit: It appears, from feedback, that this was a little too obscure, I’ve clearly not struck the right balance between metaphor and clarity necessary for accomplished fable writing.  OH WELL.


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