One fine Saturday morning, a mouse sat looking wearily over the edge of a large pit. The pit itself was several fathoms deep and many more times wide, and the mouse, having need to cross the cavern at this very point and having already been on a very long journey that had worn him to the bone, simply stared at the pit with sad eyes.
About midday, a hedgehog scurried by. Seeing the mouse sitting on the lip of the pit, he spoke up. ‘A good day to you, Mr. Mouse. And tell me, whatever are you waiting for?’
‘I’m waiting for this pit to be filled, Mr. Hedgehog,’ the mouse replied wearily.
The hedgehog’s eyes went wide with surprised. He then let out a little laugh. ‘Tut, tut. You’ll be waiting a long time,’ he said, and then went about his business.
A few hours later, evening had just arrived, and a mole was ambling by the edge of the pit. When he saw the mouse staring forlornly at the giant chasm, he said chattily, ‘The sun is about to drop, young mouse. What is it that you’re waiting for?’
‘I’m waiting for this pit to be filled,’ the mouse returned with a tired sigh.
‘Ho ho,’ chortled the mole. ‘I think you’ll be waiting for a long time,’ he said, and then kept on his way.
It was a few hours later, nearing twilight, that a badger tumbled past and saw the mouse sitting with a hunched back and drooping eyes.
‘What are you waiting for, Mouse?’ the badger asked.
‘I’m waiting for this pit to be filled,’ the mouse replied.
At the mouse’s answer, the badger put a claw to his face, thought a moment, then left quickly. But before the mouse could wonder at the badger’s sudden exit, he had returned with a shovel. And without another word, the badger began to dig.