One day, a mouse saw that a farmer and his wife had just put out some mouse traps. In a panic, he ran out into the farm yard and told the other animals of the predicament he and his family were in.
The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, "Mr. Mouse, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me; I cannot be bothered by it." The mouse turned to the pig, hoping he would receive greater sympathy, but to his dismay, although they had shared meals and fun in the past, seemed uninterested in his story. "I am so very sorry Mr. Mouse," said the pig, "unfortunately there is nothing I can do about it but pray; be assured that you are in my prayers." The mouse, amazed at the lack of concern among his friends, told the cow, but she replied: "Mr. Mouse, a mouse trap is no danger to me."
So the mouse returned to the house, head down and feeling alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house - a mousetrap catching its prey. The farmer's wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer's wife. The farmer rushed her to the hospital. She returned home with a fever.
Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup's main ingredient. His wife's sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them, the farmer butchered the pig. The farmer's wife did not get well, in fact, she died, and so many people came for her funeral the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide meat for all of them to eat.
So the next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when the least of us is threatened, we are all at risk. We go through our days without realizing we are connected – directly or indirectly – to all there is, but the tragedies befalling anyone have the power to create a domino effect that will touch many lives including our own. The larger animals in the story could not be harmed by a tiny mouse trap, but the ripple effects affected them nonetheless.
Regardless of how distant a predicament appears to be, we should never assume we are completely shielded from its reach, as the boundaries we have created could easily fall and leave us vulnerable.
Life is no different than a birthday party – it is wonderful to enjoy our new toys but we would have no fun celebrating alone.