Once upon a time, there lived a curious little mouse, and as it is with most curious creatures, he wasn’t very good at keeping it to himself.
His name was Oliver Button, and he was the last born of the three Button babies, which alone was most of his problem.
The rest of problem was the wall.
You see, the Buttons all lived together in the woodpile behind the shed. And behind the woodpile was the garden, which Oliver had been through hundreds of times, and behind the garden was the Haystack, which Oliver had also been through hundreds of times, and behind the haystack was the wall, and Oliver had never, ever been beyond there in his whole four months of being a mouse.
Oliver often wondered what was behind that wall. He wondered when he helped Mama and Papa in the garden, and he wondered again when he chased the butterflies all the way to the haystack, and he wondered when he ate supper with the rest of the Buttons, and he even wondered when he lay in bed at night.
One day he asked, “Mama, what’s beyond the wall?” And Mama Button said, with a shrug, “I don’t know, I’ve never been. But I imagine it isn’t much different then what’s on this side”.
So Oliver asked Papa Button and he said, “I don’t know, I’ve never been, but I imagine it’s probably the same as what’s on this side.”
But Oliver wasn’t happy with these answers. After all, why would one build a wall if all that’s on the other side is the same as the side before?
So one day, Oliver went in search for his answers.
It was a bright summer morning when he found his solution, and it was quite by accident.
He was in the garden, chasing those butterflies all by himself, and all the sudden a great, round, bright, blue ball came floating by.
Oliver thought it was the oddest thing he’d ever seen. It weighed practically nothing. It just sort of floated by and landed right there in the middle of the garden, and it sat there, all swelled up.
Oliver walked up to it, because if you remember, he was a curious little mouse, and curious creatures can’t keep it to themselves. So he wasn’t at all frightened when the wind brushed against that balloon and sent it floating into the air again.
Well, perhaps he was a little frightened. Just a little.
Oliver watched how that balloon went floating away into the air, a long string that was tied to one end of it brushing the ground as it slowly drifted away, and suddenly he had a grand idea, the kind of idea only a very curious little mouse would think up.
Oliver bounced on his tippy toes and grabbed hold of that string, wrapping his tiny little paw around it. And away he went, bouncing towards the wall before he even really had time to think of what he was doing. And with every bounce the wind pushed that balloon and sent it a little higher, until finally Oliver was only a few inches away from the top of the wall, so close his whiskers were practically touching.
Only a few inches!
And then, quite suddenly, a strong gust of wind came, and Oliver cried out with a frightened squeak as the balloon went twisting and turning in the opposite direction.
It rose higher and higher, that balloon did, and Oliver watched the ground spin around and around beneath his little feet. Everything was going so fast and it was all so blurry that Oliver thought he might be sick!
Oliver began to think what a terrible thing he had done and how perhaps he wasn’t a very clever little mouse. But there was nothing to be done now, except that he held on.
So that’s just what he did.
And as the balloon slowly stopped spinning, and the wind became calm, and everything settled to a slow gentle drifting, Oliver looked down upon the garden, and the shed, and the woodpile and the haystack and the wall he had never been beyond. And in that moment Oliver thought that his home really was quite beautiful, especially when he saw all of it together like this. And suddenly that curious little mouse was wondering why he ever wanted to see the other side of the wall.
Why indeed when he had everything he could possibly want right here?
In fact, he was wondering about this so hard that he hardly noticed when the balloon began to slowly drift downwards and his little paws brushed the ground.
And finally, when his feet were solid against the ground again, Oliver let go of that balloon, and he watched the wind carry it away, away over the wall that he had never been beyond.
But that was alright, because today Oliver had truly seen the other side.