A fellow received a mouse for his birthday and he loved it so much that he never parted with it. He took this mouse everywhere, to work, to parties, to the opera....
One day, a good friend of his died and so he went to pay his respects at the funeral parlor. Naturally, he took the mouse, which was perched on his shoulder. On his way home, he suddenly realized that the mouse was gone!
He retraced all his moves for the day and realized that the last place he had seen the mouse was at the funeral parlor. He raced back across town, but arrived too late. The body had been removed and was already being transported to the cemetery in the hearse. The mouse must have jumped off his shoulder onto the casket and gotten carried into the hearse along with the casket.
Probably frightened, the mouse must have sought shelter in the closed casket! It was too late.... The mouse was being buried alive.
Filled with grief, he remembered an old adage his mother had told him time and time again as a kid ... Never lock a gift mouse in the hearse.