Have you ever had a feeling of overwhelming guilt and heartache when you realise you have unintentionally harmed someone or something in the process of trying to do a good deed?
Today my heart is heavy and I feel I should do penance. I am not religious but I hope there is a little country spirit who will forgive me.
We have a mouse problem. At night we hear the patter of tiny rodent feet amongst our life in boxes and so far we have lived together amicably. But porridge oats, French bread and maize meal are on a mouse menu and our little bags of tasty mouse cuisine were getting chewed. They carry disease. Period.
Husband buys a trap. I am upset by catching anything. It’s bated with cheddar. That evening we hear the sharp snap of the traps door shutting and squeeking. I am not scared of mice in the least. He is caught only by his tail. I am horrified, remove him and he runs to safety.
Big debate. We can’t share the house. What about rats? I get it. The traps set again. Mouse is caught and husband removes mouse and trap to our little house to take him away tomorrow to new pastures. Again I protest. This is scary for mouse. We have to block holes and stop them getting in. Not trap them.
Poor little chap. He must be terrified. Today we take the mouse to a field near a farm with geese as there is straw, grain and vegtables. He is agitated and chews the end of his tail. The van is jolting and noisy.
We leave little mouse in a leafy spot. He seems a little disconcerted and dizzy on his feet.
Returning shortly after visiting the grain depot in the hamlet, little mouse is still next to his cheese. I take some leaves to cover him. I think he has died.
I burst into tears. I feel horrible. I feel human selfish. I run through how little mouse must have felt. Had he left a family? How scared he must have been? Why did we not free him sooner?
My husband felt sad too. We will learn to do it better next time he says.
In the future the mice will be encouraged to our wild garden where mouse seeds and garden food will await. Secluded places for mice will mean they won’t venture to the house. A pro- active mouse removal I can deal with. Trapping mice I can’t deal with.
Call me sentimental and an unrealistic country dweller. That’s fine. I can be practical but I don’t have to be callous or plain uncaring.
I hope the country spirit revives little mouse. If not, then I hope he knows I feel terribly sorry. I posted this in rememberance of a little wild soul.