A Mexican story of a mouse in the house creates a father son moral dilemma

Estimated read time 3 min read

A recent re-exposure to a classic Mexican short story my late father often recounted about how a son deals with a mouse potentially ravaging his father’s office has me reflecting about the father son relationship and morality. When I first heard the story I was a son but now being a father who has experienced sixty plus years of life I appreciate it even more.

As the son of a loving but authoritarian father and then as the father of two sons and a daughter I have certainly experienced trials and rewards. The Bible story of the prodigal son promotes a father’s love should be forever regardless of how a son may have strayed. Conversely, Moses instructed us the righteous shall ” honor thy father and mother .” In every child’s life there inevitably comes a point in Christian’s formation , noted by the Apostle Paul, where his internal sense of morality will guide one’s action even if it seems in conflict with traditional authority.

My father was an immigrant from Mexico who was definitely a man of letters in both English and Spanish. As a young man he attended a liberal arts college before medical school. Many times when I was growing up he would recount some of his favorite works. Recently my father’s widow happened upon one of his favorite books, Cuentos, Leyendas, y Poemas, an anthology collect by one of Mexico’s literary academics, Miguel Salinas.

Along with this book which she sent me, there was also a photo of my late father and I together at my graduation from Harvard Medical School almost 4 decades ago. Like many sons and father’s our relationship had many stressful moments.

The first story told by Rafael Delgado, Mi Única Mentira, ( Spanish audio or download PDF text) deals with dilemma of having an invading mouse with a taste for the academic treasures of literature and music on his father’s desk. The protagonist who is normally an obedient child is beset with moral conflict when ordered by his father to kill the creature who has no sense of the crime he is committing. On the surface the morality might seem simple but when we dig deeper into understanding the questions posed by the author the reader can perhaps come to the conclusion that morality is not always so clear.

The boy is fascinated with watching the mouse who is doing what a mouse does and has no understanding or intention of doing evil. He considers the options of employing a cat, mouse trap, or his own hands to end the beast. He admits while he has some fear of the creature this does not perhaps warrant ending it’s life.

I will the leave how the story ends for your own reading. But one message I got from re-reading this story is that the “disobedience” of the son was really due the morality he had learned from his father to care for animals. It was an obedience to what he had been taught before.

Professor Tony Magana https://myfindinggrace.com

Dr. Tony Magana is Professor Emeritus in Neurosurgery who spent many years doing international teaching and research including 10 years in Ethiopia. Over the past 15 years he concomitantly intensified his Christian faith through study and worship through the Episcopal Church. He grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Attended Texas A&M University, Harvard Medical School, and trained at the University of Miami. Additionally he took the University of South Education for Ministry as well as attending the Southeast Florida Episcopal Diocesan School for Christian Studies.
Professor Tony Magana, a seasoned neurosurgeon, has not only dedicated his life to medical practice but also embarked on a profound spiritual journey. Over the past 15 years, he has deepened his Christian faith through study and worship within the Episcopal Church. His experiences span international teaching, research, and a decade of service in Ethiopia
Dr. Tony Magana’s writings blend faith, compassion, and wisdom, inviting readers to explore the intersection of spirituality and the human experience. His journey serves as an inspiration for those seeking deeper connections with faith and humanity.

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