Mrs. Wood was a childless widow, living tidily and reclusively in a Gramercy Park apartment when she received a Christmas present to alleviate her loneliness: tied up in a package that said ""Behold' I bring you good tidings of great joy:"" was a cage containing a black mouse. How the unwanted pest became a pet, how it drew the world about her through her doorway and brought her back to life is the burden in this small book. The black mouse became the Widow Judith, found a husband in Father Lane's Michael Monk-mouse (whose siring of two litters belied his surname), and with her progeny was the delight of the neighborhood children. The narrator is unsparing in her self-portrait as a crotchety character who learned to care about mice and men and, with au assist from Father Lane and Martin Buber, through ""a small, humble form of life,"" the universe. Her mousetale may be a bit long, even for its large message, but is a generally ingratiating, off-beat inspirational book, particularly for ladies in like circumstances.