mouse. The smallest of all beasts; a little animal haunting houses and cornfields, destroyed by cats.
The eagle England being in prey,
To her unguarded nest the weazel Scot
Comes sneaking, and so sucks her princely eggs;
Playing the mouse in the absence of the cat.
 Albrecht Dürer, Adam and Eve (detail), 1504, engraving.
 Ganesh sits affectionately with his vahana, Mushika, the giant mouse (carved and painted ivory plaque, later 1900's).
 Once, a long time ago, mice terrified me, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. I learned that they were lovely creatures and what came to terrify me was the regular, horrifying occurrence of one of my cats, doing what comes naturally to them: pouncing, eviscerating, etc., one of these dear creatures and leaving the remains for me (to find first thing in the morning) as a sort of heavily-broken-in-prize-toy. I can hardly blame Rose and Pansy, both American short-hairs, for pursuing what has been their family trade since long before the Pilgrims brought them to America on the Mayflower as onboard exterminators. But they really didn’t need to train Claude, the pansy-faced Persian, in the art/craft. I suppose they were simply making him feel one of the family. Because we live in a country house, we sometimes have mice. We try to find them before the cats do and protect them by removing them from harm’s way. The fact that Claude doesn’t see as well as he used to doesn’t slow him down at all. He may look cherubic, and he’s as soft and cuddly as can be, but he’s a mighty male and using his other senses, he participates in world events with a fierce understanding of cause and effect, truth and consequences.
 “Mouse” definition from Johnson’s Dictionary, A Modern Selection by E.L. McAdam, Jr. & George Milne, New York, Pantheon Books, 1963.