Tales of Fur and Feathers: A Collection of Short Stories

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The Mouse with Five Wives

There was once a young mouse lad. He was a very handsome mouse, with carefully brushed whiskers and shiny black eyes that reflected everything before them. His coat was the color of whipped cream, making him stand out against the night sky.

It so happened that this mouse, whose name was Tiddler, was getting his little mouse-hole ready for Christmas. He shoved his messes into corners to make room for decorations, and snuck into the human’s kitchen to steal uncooked rice and threaded them onto string to use as holiday lights. He set up a little Christmas tree, which was really just a leafy branch, and put out lots of lovely little snacks on his table.

Finally, it was Christmas Eve.

Tiddler didn’t have any family. He was an only child, and his parents died when he was young, and so the handsome little mouse was left to live in his mouse-hole alone, without any company.

As anyone knows, this is a very sad thing to happen on Christmas Eve. Without any company, Christmas can become quite dismal. And Tiddler had no one to give him any presents!

As the mouse was settling into his easy chair to enjoy a nice drop of peppermint tea, there came knock outside his hole. For a wild moment, Tiddler thought it was the cat, but the sound was much too tiny and delicate to be from a mere feline. Setting down his mug, the mouse went to investigate.

He crawled over to his hole, which he kept hidden behind a wooden building block. Nudging it aside with his head, Tiddler peeked behind the cube. There, waiting patiently to be let in, was another mouse.

It was a lady mouse, and she looked rather skinny. She was nearly flesh and bones, but if she had perhaps eaten a little bit more, she would have been pretty. As it was, she had white and brown spotted fur, with wiry whiskers and sharp red eyes. Her tail was pink and greatly resembled a fat worm, for it seemed that the flesh she lacked in her body had been collected in her tail.

“Why, hello,” Tiddler said politely. “May I ask who you are?”

“Oh, yes, of course,” the lady mouse replied with a high voice that sounded a bit like a bird. “I am Rah-Mouse. Might I please come in? It’s dreadfully cold out here, and there’s also a cat.”

Tiddler stepped aside so Rah could enter. He knew very well about the dangers of the dreaded household feline.

Rah settled down on Tiddler’s easy chair and took his cup of peppermint tea, which he had been sipping just moments before. “I’ve come here on business,” she said seriously, slurping the tea and making an atrocious noise. “As you know, it’s Christmas Eve, and you appear to be living alone, so I--”

There came another knock at the door.

“One moment,” Tiddler said in an apologetic voice as he scampered towards his entrance. Sliding the wooden cube away, he saw another lady mouse in front of his door. This one was very fat, and brown all over. She patted her stomach continuously, as if soothing it.

“I’d like to come in,” she said in a jolly voice. “I’m Shell, by the way. Move aside, handsome!” She pushed past Tiddler, who, puzzled, followed her back inside.

He wasn’t halfway back down the entry tunnel when there came another knock at the door. Extremely frustrated and growing impatient to finish his tea, Tiddler opened the door. This time, there were two more girl mice, both of them tiny. One was black and the other grey, and both had deep blue eyes that looked gentle and observant. Not wanting to be impolite, Tiddler invited them in. Slowly, not daring to hope, he made his way back into the living room when there came on last knock.

Grumbling some awful-sounding words, Tiddler opened his cube and found yet another lady mouse, this one white just like tiddler, though her eyes had a greenish tint instead of black. Hoping with all his heart that this was the last girl he would meet on that December day, Tiddler let her in, lest she be eaten by the cat.

When he finally made it back to his den, the five female mice were arguing like nobody’s business.

“Now hold on!” the fat one said angrily. “I’m biggest, so I get first dibs.”

“Now, but I’m oldest!” the black mouse said.

“I’m stronger,” said Rah. “Come now, let me have him!”

“What are you talking about?” Tiddler asked. “Why have you all barged into my home like this? I was enjoying my tea until you lot came tumbling in like an avalanche.”

Rah stepped forward and bowed her head. “I’ve come to marry you,” she said. “Will you do so? Please accept my offering, kind Tiddler.”

“Naw, I’m bigger and better,” the fat one proposed. “Marry me! You shall never be alone!”

The grey and black mice too bowed their heads. “We’ll do all the housework for you!” they squeaked eagerly. “And we’ll cook and clean.”

The white one smiled and brushed back her whiskers. “I’ll love you,” she said. “All the time.”

Tiddler looked at all the mice, all with eager faces and hopeful eyes. Each one thought he would pick them--and if he only picked one, there would be fighting. Too much fighting. They would argue amongst one another.

Taking a deep breath, Tiddler began to speak. “Rah, I’ll marry you out of the kindness of my heart,” he said. “Shelly, I shall marry you so you’ll never be alone. Black and grey mice, you may marry me so you can clean up my house. And white mouse, I will marry you for your love.”

He gazed at the white mouse fondly, knowing that though he promised the other mice marriage so they wouldn’t fight, the white mouse would love him and nothing else mattered.

And the two white mice remained, to this day, still in love, whilst the other mice cook and clean and scrub for Tiddler.

And that is the story of the mouse with five wives.

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