Humble Mouse is small and quiet, but she searches for answers to big questions. She often gazes at the sky and wonders, "Where do stars come from? Why are they so bright?" Humble Mouse wants to learn everything about the never-ending forest in which she lives, and about the mountain she climbs when the sun comes out. The sun - she is most curious about the sun, and the rays of light that shine from it.
"Where do all of these things come from?" she asks her friends.
"Humph!" snorts Gruff Bear, when Humble Mouse asks him this big question.
"Why would I need to know that?" Gruff Bear continues. "All I need to know is which berries are tasty, which make me sick, and where I should sleep in winter. Go away now, and stop thinking about silly things."
Every morning, Humble Mouse wakes up excitedly in her home, which is nestled in the trunk of an old pine tree. Eagerly, she scurries up her tree and plops herself on a thick branch, where she waits to meet the first ray of sun.
She remembers what her Grandmother shared with her before she passed away. "She told me that if I sit quietly and look closely, I can meet the first ray of sun, and it will give me answers to my questions!"
Before the first ray appears, Gruff Bear and Worker Deer stroll by the pine tree and see their friend staring at the sky. Humble Mouse tells them her plan, but Gruff Bear teases her, "All you're going to get is sunburn on your nose!"
Worker Deer says, "Look, Humble Mouse, life in our forest is simple and everything is so beautiful. Why question it? I gather food for my family and make sure they are safe. You should just do the same."
Gruff Bear adds, "The sun will not speak to you - you'll only be disappointed. Besides, if the sun did speak, it would talk to bigger animals like me or Worker Deer. It won't see you. You're too small!"
Even though Humble Mouse is small and quiet, she has a big heart and a lot of courage. She sits still on the branch and tries to hide her tears from her friends as they walk past her.
One morning, Humble Mouse sees soft streaks of yellow and orange light outside her window. She jumps out of bed and rushes to her branch. "This morning," Humble Mouse says to herself, "I will meet the first ray of sun."
She patiently looks up at the sky. Suddenly, she sees the most wonderful thing that she has ever seen. The first ray of sun has come! Not only does she see it, she feels it, and it's like nothing she has ever felt before. As Humble Mouse sits on her branch with a big grin, Worker Deer and Gruff Bear pass by the pine tree again and wonder about Humble Mouse's strange look.
Worker Deer says, "What are you doing now, Humble Mouse? You look different. What happened to you?"
"The first ray of sun came to me!" exclaims Humble Mouse.
"Not that again," says Gruff Bear. "The rays of the sun fall on everything in the forest. It's nothing special."
"You don't understand," Humble Mouse explains gently. "The ray came directly to me. It touched my heart. The ray of sun spoke to me, like Grandmother said it would."
"What did it say, Humble Mouse?" asks Worker Deer, who is now curious.
"It spoke without words. The ray of light connected me with the forest, the mountains, and the sun," says Humble Mouse. "The ray said that, because I opened my heart, I could really learn about where all things come from. It told me that there is a Maker of all things, Who is both gentle and strong, but is unseen, like the wind."
Worker Deer and Gruff Bear look at each other, and then they look at Humble Mouse with curiosity. Worker Deer asks, "Will you show us how to meet the first ray of sun?" Gruff Bear nods his head and adds: "I want to learn about this ‘Maker,' too."
"I will show you where you can find the first ray of sun," replies Humble Mouse, "but only you can open your heart to it."
(by Alesia Lopatina, adapted from a Russian fairy tale. Art by C. Aaron Kreader; ‘The Brilliant Star’ magazine, May-June 1999)