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The Cat & The Mouse

Once upon a time there was a Little Boy. Little Boy liked to wear a red baseball cap and sneakers with white laces. But this story is not about him. This is a story about his pet.

Little Boy had a cat. Cat was a furry brown tabby with white whiskers and a black button nose. He liked to run around the house chasing after dust bunnies. He liked to wander outside into the yard and say hello to his neighbors on the farm. He would stop for a chat with the chickens. He would gossip with the geese. He would even pander awhile with the pigs. But he especially enjoyed conversing with the cows because, you see, the cows lived in the barn. And after catching up with the cows, he would scamper up to the barn loft and roll in the soft, sweet hay.

But this story is not about Cat either – or any of the other farm animals.

Little Boy – Do you remember him? He liked to wear a red baseball cap and sneakers with white laces. This same Little Boy had another pet. But this pet was not allowed to play around the house. She was not allowed to play in the yard. She was not allowed to play in the barn or roll in the soft, sweet hay. She was kept in a little cage in Little Boy’s room; for she was a Little Mouse.

Little Boy kept Little Mouse in a little cage by the window. She could see the door of the barn loft. She could look out at the yard and the bustle down below. She could catch a glimpse of the hallway when Little Boy came and went. But even with everything she could see from her cage, Little Mouse was not free.

Little Boy would say hello to her each morning. He would pat her on the head after feeding her. He would scratch her back after changing her water. Every once in awhile Little Boy would even take her out of the cage to run through one of his mazes that he built. After she solved the puzzle, Little Boy would reward her with a piece of cheese. But after the game was done, Little Boy would put Little Mouse back in her little cage.

While she appreciated the cheese and the games Little Boy made for her to play, she knew that he did not love her. She knew what love was. She saw it every day. In the evening Mother and Father would tuck Little Boy in his bed and kiss him good night. She could see how much Little Boy loved Mother and Father. She could see how much Mother and Father loved Little Boy. But most of all, she could see how Mother loved Father and how very much Father loved Mother. There was a special twinkle in their eyes.

When Little Boy looked at Little Mouse, there was no twinkle in his eyes. Little Boy looked at Little Mouse in the same way he looked at his toy truck or his bag of marbles or his rubber rain boots that he wore to splash through mud. Little Boy like Little Mouse very much, but she knew that he did not love her.

More than anything, Little Mouse wanted to be loved. Little Mouse felt her lonely heart was breaking.

One day she could not take it anymore. She pushed at the door of her little cage as hard as she could. It didn’t budge. She tried to squeeze through the bars of the little cage, but even though she was little, she was not little enough. She tried digging her way out, but after burrowing through her bedding she hit Little Boy’s desk and could go no further.

At that moment, one of the geese in the looked up and saw Little Mouse struggling to escape. Her mission was futile, the goose knew. But she was fighting so very hard! The goose thought it was funny and began to giggle. He nudged his other goose friends and they joined in the giggling. It wasn’t long before the chickens were wondering what all the ruckus was about. The geese couldn’t speak through their laughter and simply pointed up at the window. The chickens chuckled and pointed out Little Mouse to the pigs. The pigs joined in the amusement and before long even the cows were cackling.

Little Mouse heard the laughter roaring from the yard. They were all laughing at her. She realized it was useless and she was silly to even try. Little Mouse gave up.

Meanwhile, Cat was up in the barn loft, rolling in the soft, sweet hay when he heard laughter erupting all around the yard. He wondered what the ruckus was about. Cat decided to investigate. Cat asked the cows, but they were still cackling. He moved on the pigs, but they were laughing so hard mud was coming out of their noses. Cat asked the chickens, but they were still chuckling. They were useless.

Finally, Cat came to the goose who started the whole thing. Between fits of giggles, the goose told Cat they were laughing at Little Mouse. The goose pointed up at the window.

Little Mouse looked down on the yard through her window and saw all of the animals laughing at her. She felt tear drops prickling behind her eyes. She felt a hot lump tightening in her throat. But rather than bursting into tears, Little Mouse burst into a song.

“Can anybody find me somebody to love?”

A hush fell over the yard. Cat raised his eyes to where goose pointed and saw Little Mouse in the window. Then he listened along with all the other animals and he heard the loveliest little voice.

“Each morning I get up, I die a little.

Can barely stand on my feet

I take a look in the mirror and cry

Lord what are you doing to me.

I spent all my years believing you

But I just can’t get no relief,

Oh Somebody, oh somebody

Can anybody find me

Somebody to love?

I work hard every day of my life

I run till I ache in my bones

At the end… I take home

My hard-earned cheese all on my own.

I fall to my knees as I start to pray

While the tears flow down from my eyes

Oh, somebody oh somebody

Can anybody find me

Somebody to love?

Oh, Everyday I try and I try and I try

But everybody wants to get me down

They say I’m going crazy

They say I’ve got a lot of water on my brain

They say – It’s so sad. She’s got nobody left to believe in.

Got no feel. I’ve got no rhythm.

I just keep loosing my beat.

I’m okay. I’m alright.

I ain’t going to face no defeat.

I’ve just got to get out of this prison cell.

Someday I’m going to be free!

Oh…

Can anybody find me

Somebody to Love?”

Cat gazed up into the window and there was a twinkle in his eye. For a moment, he stood there, transfixed. But he soon snapped out of it and scampered as fast as he could into the house. He went to Little Boy’s room, nearly tripping up the stairs. He nudged open the door.

There on the desk in her little cage, Little Mouse wept.

“Why are you crying,” asked Cat. “And what caused to raise your beautiful voice with such a sad, lonely song.”

“Because I am sad and lonely,” Little Mouse said. “I want somebody to love. I need somebody to love. Without love, what is the point in waking up each morning? What is the point of going through the day’s work? What is the point in even living?”

Cat looked at Little Mouse and through her sobs and tears, Little Mouse saw the slightest twinkle in his eyes. She met his gaze.

“I think I love you Little Mouse,” said Cat.

She sniffed a little sniff and wiped away her tears.

“How could you love me?” asked Little Mouse. “You don’t even know me.”

“I heard how you sing,” said Cat. “Your heart has such a longing like I have ever known. I want to make your wish come true and I want to share my life with you.”

Little Mouse was overjoyed. She had finally found love. And from the twinkle in his eyes, she knew it was true. But she was still in her little cage and he was free to roam the wide world.

“The first thing we must do,” said Cat, “Is get you out of this little cage.”

Little Mouse looked up at him sadly.

“I’ve already tried as hard as could,” she said. “But all of my efforts have yielded no good.”

Cat examined the latch on the door. There was no lock. Opening the little cage only required lifting the latch. The latch was much too big for Little Mouse to lift on her own. But Cat was much bigger and stronger.

“I’m going to put my paw under the latch and lift it,” said Cat. “When I lift the latch, you need to push on the door. It should open and you will be free. Are you ready?”

“I’ve already tried pushing on the door,” said Little Mouse. “But I will do it again if you think it will work. I trust you.”

Cat placed his paw under the latch and lifted. Little Mouse took a running start for the door. When she reached the door, she burst through it with ease and tumbled out, flew off the desk and onto the floor.

“Are you alright?” asked Cat worriedly.

Little Mouse looked up at him and smiled. There was a twinkle in her eye.

Cat returned her smile and said “Now to find you a new home. And it just so happens I know the perfect place.”

Little Mouse climbed up on to Cat’s back and nestled down in his fur.

“Hold on,” said Cat. “Are you ready?”

“Ready?” replied Little Mouse. “I have been waiting for this day since I was locked away in the little cage.”

Cat walked out of the room into the hallway. Little Mouse looked around in splendor. It was such a big hallway. Cat tip toed gently down the stairs. She held on tightly. For as smoothly as Cat tried to trot it was a bumpy ride.

“Such a very big staircase,” she thought.

Cat nudged through the door of the house and stepped out into the yard. Little Mouse was overwhelmed.

“It’s such a very, very big world. Isn’t it Cat?” she asked.

“Yes, it is a very big world,” he replied. “But you haven’t even seen the best part yet.”

All the animals in the yard stared in amazement at the unlikely pair as Cat carried Little Mouse on his back across the farmyard and into the barn.

“Up there is where you will make your new home,” said Cat, gesturing to the loft.

Little Mouse climbed off his back and scurried over to the ladder. She scampered up and was greeted by stacks and stacks of golden grass.

Cat came up behind her.

“Does this please you, Little Mouse?” he asked.

“Does it ever,” she replied. “I have never seen such grass. And it’s so very soft! It smells so sweet. I can make a lovely home here.”

They looked at each other, smiling. In that moment, the both jumped into the soft, sweet hay and rolled and rolled and rolled until they were dizzy with joy.

“Little Mouse,” said the Cat, “I would like to marry you. Now that you are free, we could make a nice life together for ourselves.”

Little Mouse enthusiastically accepted the proposal. The very next day all the animals in yard gathered for the wedding. And while they all thought it was strange, they were happy for Cat and Little Mouse, nonetheless. For they all saw the twinkle in the eyes of Cat and Little Mouse.

So do you think the moral of this story is that love can conquer all?…That the love between Cat and Little Mouse overcame their natural roles of predator and prey. Well, this is not the end of the story.

Cat and Little Mouse lived happily together for quite some time. They would eat together from the dish of kibble Little Boy gave Cat each day. They would groom each other after every meal. They would play together in the house, chasing dust bunnies. They would run around the yard together and stop for chats with the neighbors. And when the day was done, Cat and Little Mouse would climb up into the barn loft. Little mouse would nestle into Cat’s fur and Cat would curl up around Little Mouse. Together they would fall asleep.

Days passed and soon, winter came. But Cat and Little Mouse were not in want of anything. Little Boy – Do you remember him? He liked to wear a red baseball cap and sneakers with white laces. This same Little Boy – continued to feed Cat everyday. The neighbors were as friendly as ever. And though the nights were cold, Cat and Little Mouse kept each other warm up in the loft amid the soft, sweet hay.

Early one morning, Little Boy packed his bags for a trip. Mother and Father also packed their bags. They were going on a family trip to visit Little Boy’s grandparents for Christmas. Even though Mother told him that he would be getting new toys, Little Boy packed his toy truck. He also packed his marbles. He even packed his rubber rain boots because they were great for running through the wet snow. As Little Boy was packing, he looked at the little cage sitting on his desk. The door was still open.

Little Boy had held on to the hope that Little Mouse might come back someday. But after many months, he knew she would not. Sadly, he shut the door to the little cage and closed the latch. He heard Mother calling for him to come to the car. Quickly, Little Boy grabbed his bag and bounded down the stairs and out into the car. Mother helped Little Boy put his pack into the car and put on his seatbelt. Then Mother seated herself in the passenger seat next to Father. Father put the car in drive and away they went.

A few miles down the road, Little Boy bolted up in his seat.

“Mother!” he cried, “Mother! I forgot to leave out food for Cat!”

“He will be okay,” Mother reassured Little Boy. “We are only going to be gone for one day. Besides, there are surely mice in the barn and it’s good for Cat to hunt for his dinner once in awhile.”

Later that morning, Cat and Little Mouse went down to the dish where Little Boy left the food every morning. But there was nothing there. They were both puzzled. This had never happened before and they didn’t know what to do! They decided to wait.

They waited…

And waited…

And waited…

But the food never came and Cat and Little Mouse were getting hungrier. They decided to go into the house to see if they could find food inside. Cat nudged his way in and Little Mouse followed. They searched the house from top to bottom, but not a morsel was to be found.

Little Mouse and Cat looked at each other. They were both very hungry by this time! They decided to check on the other animals and see how they were doing.

The geese and chickens had been left stacks of corn to nibble on and offered to share. Cat and Little Mouse gratefully accepted their offer. Little Mouse bit into a kernel and chewed hungrily. Cat tasted a kernel, but spat it out. Corn is not cat food.

The pigs had been left plenty of slop in the trough and they offered to share. Cat and Little Mouse gratefully accepted their offer. Little mouse sipped at the slop. Cat lapped up a taste, but spat it out. Slop is not cat food.

The cows had been left lots of soft, sweet hay – just like the hay up in the loft. The cows offered to share. Little Mouse politely declined their offer. After having her fill of corn and slop, she was finally full. Cat, however, was hungrier than ever! Corn is not cat food. Slop is not cat food. Hay is certainly not cat food, no matter how soft or sweet it is.

Little Mouse could see how hungry Cat was. But since there was nothing for him to eat, she suggested that they go up into the loft and rest awhile. Cat agreed. Little mouse nestled into Cat’s fur and Cat curled up around Little Mouse. Little Mouse fell fast asleep.

But Cat could not! He tried to sleep. He closed his eyes and counted sheep. He sang a lullaby to himself. He even told himself a bedtime story. But through it all, he could feel his stomach clamping down tightly on itself. He had not had anything to eat all day! Soon, he was day dreaming about the meaty kibbles Little Boy used to leave him. Even though it had only been one day, it seemed like so long ago when Little Boy last left him food.

Cat’s mouth started watering. His stomach began growling. It growled so loudly that it woke Little Mouse.

Little Mouse opened her eyes and looked up at Cat. He looked back at her with wild eyes, crazy with hunger! The twinkle was gone. Little Mouse felt her heart pumping faster as it filled with terror!

“Little Mouse I love you,” said Cat slyly. “But I think I must eat you.”

Little Mouse screamed for help as she scurried down from the loft. Cat was close behind her. The animals could only watch as Little Mouse ran across the yard into the house, squeezing under a crack in the door. Cat barged in after her.

Terrified, Little Mouse scampered up the steps. Cat was barreling close behind.

Little Mouse ran to Little Boy’s room, up the desk and climbed to the top where her little cage sat. If only she could get inside, she would be safe! Cat was far too big to get her between the bars. Little Mouse ran to the little cage, but the door was locked! She pulled and pulled at the door, but it was no use. If only she had more time, there might have been a hope. But Cat came in close behind her and ate Little Mouse in one gulp, leaving no trace.

With his belly full, Cat returned to the barn loft with the soft, sweet hay and fell fast asleep.

The next day, Little Boy and Mother and Father returned to the farm. Little Boy got out of the car and excitedly ran up to his room. In his hands he held a little box. He set the little box on his desk and opened it. Sitting in the corner was a new Little Mouse that Little Boy had received as a gift from his grandparents. Little Boy opened the door to the little cage, lifted Little Mouse out of the box and placed her gently in the cage.

“Welcome to your new home,” said Little Boy. “I hope you like it here.”

Meanwhile, down in the yard, Cat looked up into Little Boy’s window.

There was a twinkle in his eye.

The end.

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