Nearly thirty years ago – I’m not sure exactly when (either third or fourth grade, I think) – I found a book in my elementary school’s cafeteria/library during “library hour” and began to read it. I had never heard of it, but it looked somewhat promising. It was called, The Mouse and His Child. I’m pretty sure I devoured it during that hour; although I may have checked it out and taken it home to finish. Regardless, I remember a particular incident with that book.
Up until that time, I had simply read books for pleasure without realizing the enormity of their inherent power. Sure, I had read textbooks which taught me things that would change my life, but “pleasure reading” was simply that – fluff for fluff’s sake. This time, though, things changed.
I discovered something truly mind-blowing.
As I sat reading, I imaged the story in my mind. At one point, I became fully entrenched in the story. What I remember now is one simple scene that introduced me to the greater reality of stories – they can teach you about Truth while still retaining their fictions. The scene as I think about it now really could not have been as profound as my nine or ten year old brain made it out to be, but it has stuck with me through the years.
A little mouse had sunk to the bottom of a creek or pond and stood before an empty can of dog food. On the can was a picture of a dog holding a can of dog food upon which was a picture of a dog holding a can of dog food, and it continued for as far as the little mouse could see, always a smaller dog and can.
I kept trying to figure out when the progression would stop until I finally came to the realization that it might not ever stop.
Wham! Welcome to the concept of infinity!
Sure I had heard of the concept before in church or on PBS, but I hadn’t ever really considered what it meant.
This revelation of the immeasurability of infinity blew my mind – in a good way.
I finished the book, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I soon forgot the title and could not find the book again. I didn’t really think of the book again until I had children of my own; although, I did often remember that scene.
Finally, a few years ago, I determined to find the book and spent much time searching the internet for more information. After a while, I figured out the title.
Recently, my wife, knowing my high regard for the book, bought it for me and the kids. They haven’t read it yet. I want to read it first.
My plan is to write about my new adventures with this book after thirty years. How have I changed? How are my perceptions of it this time around? What can I learn from it now?
I did read the first chapter last night, but I’ll talk about that later. In fact, I think I’ll take it chapter by chapter – so I’ll write more soon.