The Story of a Little Gray Mouse
Copyright 1945 by
GREENBERG : PUBLISHER
This book has been manufactured in accordance with the regulations of the War Production Board.
Manufactured in the United States of America.
Once upon a time
there was a little gray
He lived with his mother and father and nine brothers and sisters in a funny little house in an attic. The house was really an old hatbox with a hat on top of it and a chimney sticking out of the hat.
One day the mother mouse said to the little mice, “Children, now that you are all growing up and aren’t tiny baby mice any longer, this hat-box is getting very crowded. The time has come for you to go out into the world and find homes of your own.”
And the father mouse, who had been reading his newspaper while the mother mouse was talking, put it down now and said to them, “Your mother is right. You are almost grown-up and must go find homes of your own. Goodbye, be good little mice.” And he patted them on their little gray heads.
So the children packed their toys and a clean necktie and a piece of cheese in a handkerchief, and they said goodbye in their squeaky little voices. They promised to be good mice; and off they scampered to find homes of their own.
Now the little mouse that we are telling this story about ran outdoors with the others. But when he got outside he just couldn’t decide where he wanted to live. He walked slowly down the road carrying his handkerchief bundle over his shoulder.
he came to a pond that had lots of beautiful water-lilies in it. He sat down beside the pond to rest. And a big grandfather frog, who was perched on a log, said to him, “Gur-runk, gur-runk!” Which is the way a frog says, “Where are you going, little mouse?”
When the little mouse told him that he was looking for a place to live, the old frog was very polite.
“Come here and live with me on this nice big brown log,” he said.
“Thank you, I will,” said the little mouse. And he jumped quickly from the shore to the log. But when he got on the log he didn’t like it at all. It wobbled every time he moved, and it was very wet.
So the little mouse said politely to the old frog, “Thank you, but I don’t really think logs are very good places for mice to live, although they may be lovely for frogs.” And he jumped quickly back on to dry land and scampered down the road.
The little mouse ran and ran until he came under a big tree and heard a bird say, “Chirp, chirp, chirpee!” Which is the way a bird says, “Where are you going, little mouse?”
When the little mouse told the bird that he was looking for a place to live, the bird said politely, “Won’t you come and live with me in my tree?”
“Thank you, l’d like to,” said the little mouse. And he climbed up the tree.
But when the little mouse got into the tree, and night came and the wind blew and the tree rocked, he didn’t like it at all. He wished he were back in his quiet home in the attic.
“Thank you,” the little mouse whispered very softly so as not to wake up the bird who was sleeping soundly. “Nests in trees may be very nice for birds,” he said, “but they’re not very nice for me!” So he climbed down the tree and ran away.
He slept under a big stone that night. And in the morning, after eating some cheese for breakfast, he began to walk along the road again. Pretty soon he came to a sign that read, “This Way to the City.”
Goody!” he said out loud in his squeaky little voice. “I’ll go to the city. Maybe I will find a place to live there.” So he walked very fast until he came to the big buildings of the city.
They looked awfully big to him. “Gracious me!” he squeaked. “Wouldn’t it be terrible if they toppled over on me!” And he began to feel very little and lonely.
Just then he saw a cellar doorway. It was open and the cellar looked nice and warm and safe inside. “I think I’ll go in there and build a nest,” said the little mouse. So he went in and closed the door behind him.
It was very nice in the cellar and the little mouse was pleased with it. He hunted around for some old rags and wood shavings and began to build a nest in a warm dark corner.
He was so very busy building his nest that he didn’t see a pussy cat that came crawling toward him out of the coal bin.
The little mouse went right on building, and kitty came nearer and nearer. Until what do you think happened? Pussy stepped on a piece of coal that rolled over and made a noise! And the mouse heard it! He looked around and saw the cat’s big green eyes glaring at him!
The mouse jumped straight up in the air! Kitty jumped too, but missed him. “Mercy!” squeaked the little mouse, “I won’t stay here!”
“Yes you will!” Pussy cried.
“No I won’t!” squeaked the mouse, running to the door and slipping safely out through a hole under it.
Of course, the kitty was too big to go through the hole.
So the little mouse got away and ran as fast as ever he could down the street.
He ran right out of the city, past the big tree where the bird lived, past the pond where the frog was. He ran and ran until he came to the house that had the attic where his mother and father lived.
He was so happy to see it again that he said, ”Why did I try to go so far away from home to find a place to live? I can build myself a fine nest in a corner of that big attic right near my mother and father!”
And what do you think he saw when he got there? His nine brothers and sisters — who hadn’t been able to find any other place they liked for a home either — all building nests in different parts of the attic!
Those little mice were so glad to be together again that they all took hands and danced round and round in a circle with their father and mother in the middle. And after their dance they had a fine picnic on bread and cheese. And they never left their home again.