A tale (or tail) of true character and resilience:
The story of the Muscliff Mouse
Frequently, I am asked why Muscliff Primary School has so many mice! Why do we have a mouse as our school logo? When other schools wear lions or eagles on their sweaters, we have the tiniest and most timid of creatures.
At Muscliff Primary School, we pride ourselves on developing children who have the character and resilience needed to succeed in modern Britain. We develop the ‘whole child’ – not just the academic side. The story that follows underpins our school’s ethos: “we place success within the grasp of all of our children, but they will need to stand on tiptoes to achieve it.” This means that children need to be challenged. Sometimes things might not be easy – and this is a good thing. Through perseverance, our children will develop resilience and courage and these are key life skills necessary for our children to prosper in modern Britain.
What follows is a short story that explains the story of our Muscliff Mouse. I’ve told it to my own child (who is lucky enough to attend our school) and I urge all parents to share this story - and discuss the moral of the tale - with their own children at bedtime. Enjoy!
Long ago, before there were any houses built in this area, before you lived here or I lived here and even long before our school was even built, Muscliff and Throop were just open fields. Fields stretched for as far as the eye could see and the only few buildings were Throop Mill (which has been here for hundreds of years) and a few farms. One of those farms was a dairy farm.
The cattle that lived on the farm would graze contentedly and produced the most delicious milk and cream. Once the cows had been milked, the farmer stored their cream in huge milk churns.
But the cows were not the only animals that lived on the farm. Nestled into the straw within an old barn lived a small mouse – the Muscliff Mouse!
One evening, after the farmer had dropped off his milk churns, the mouse awoke and popped his tiny whiskers out of his cosy little burrow. He could smell fresh cream! Being a curious little creature, he quickly began to explore his surroundings and was particularly interested in anything new that the farmer brought to the barn. What luck – the farmer had left a lid off of one of the milk churns! Licking his whiskers in anticipation, the mouse stooped down to sip some of the delicious cream but disaster stuck. In the blink of an eye, the mouse slipped on the edge of the milk churn and fell into the cream with a SPLASH!
Now mice are not the strongest of swimmers and this mouse was no different. He spluttered and splashed and desperately tried to climb up the inside of the churn. But it was no use; he was stuck. And to make matters worse, the milk was terribly thick and creamy and seemed to be pulling him down. The mouse would surely drown.
Kicking and swinging his tail with all his might, this mouse refused to give in. He showed true resilience and, even though his tiny paws ached, he would not stop. He was determined to get out of that milk churn. After an hour or so, his tail hurt. After two hours, his tail had gone numb. And after three hours, he thought his tail had dropped off! But with all of the kicking and thrashing, something interesting had happened to the cream. The more he kicked, the thicker the cream became and the harder it was to kick. By now, kicking his tiny legs felt almost impossible. This mouse, however, had the strength of character to persevere. In the face of adversity, he showed true determination.
With all of the thrashing, the mouse had churned that cream into butter. It was now solid. With one last heave, the mouse was able to now step out of the milk churn.
He had succeeded.