To the seven churches . . . from Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness . . .

(Revelation 1:5)

Once upon a time there was a mouse named Chicory Cheese. No one in his large family was very famous, except, perhaps, his uncle Chucky, who owned a big string of pizza parlors. But I can tell you this: Chicory was famous in heaven. Whenever the High King sent Chicory Cheese on a mission, all the holy angels quickly gathered round to watch!

One winter’s evening quite close to Christmas, Chicory was walking home after a hard day’s work. On his right, he passed Grandpa Adam’s field. Once again he paused to gaze at the old dead oak, standing all alone in the middle of the barren expanse. The sight of it always made him sad. Years back, Chicory’s uncle Isaiah, the village schoolteacher, had taken a hundred baby mice to play in that field. They never returned. It was the greatest mystery—and the greatest sorrow—in all Hickoryville.