Elgin was born in a woodpile in a big back yard of a big house in New York State. He was a happy little field mouse. His mama taught him all the things he had to watch out for in this big world that he was born in.

Mama warned him about Sammie the snake that slithered around during day light hours looking for little mice to eat. She also told him to watch out for the big dog and the kids playing out there. She told him they wouldnít eat him, but they might step on him and squash him. She also taught him to be real careful during nighttime because of Ollie the Owl who would swoop down from the big tree and catch him and feed him to her babies. And he had to watch out for the many cats that wandered around after dark. Elginís world was full of many dangers, and he learned to survive by watching all of his brothers and sisters taken by the many dangerous creatures in this big back yard.

One morning Elgin woke up and his mother was gone, and it was pretty cold outside. He looked in his yard and he could not see Sammie anywhere and he noticed the ground was covered with all the leaves from the big trees, and he said ď neat now I have lots of places to hide.Ē So the next couple of weeks he had lots of food and he did not worry about being eaten. He was very smart and he learned to look in, the now, bare trees and see if Ollie was around. The leaves on the ground crinkled whenever any of the cats were out, so he felt pretty safe in his woodpile. But then one day he woke up and saw that his big yard was covered in some cold white stuff. And then the daddy from the house came out and took a big armful of wood from Elginís woodpile. Now this was very upsetting for him because he knew that without his woodpile he would freeze to death. So now he had to find another home.

He looked at the big house for a long time. He thought if he could just get into the house he would find a warm place to stay and probably lots of food. But he was a bit scared, for he knew that in the big house there were cats, kids, and a big dog. So he figured out if he could just get in he was sure he could find a place to be safe, after all he was just a tiny mouse and was very fast.

Then one morning his chance came. He was under the porch looking for some food when he heard the door above him open. He looked up and saw one of the kids going out to his woodpile and he had left the door opened just enough for Elgin to scamper up the step and into the warm house. He was in this big room with a table and a stove and all kinds of cabinets that he could hide in. and he could smell something good to eat. Elgin thought he was in paradise. Now all he had to do is find the food.

In the corner by the sink he saw two big shiny bowls, one had water in it and the other was empty. What he didnít know at this time, he was looking at the big dog food and water bowls.

All of a sudden he heard a lot of feet running and they were all coming his way. So as any smart mouse would do he ran and hid behind one of the cabinets. While he was there he watched breakfast at this big house. There were lots of kids and they were noisy. And most important of all he saw some of the kids accidentally dropping food on the floor. But as fast as his hope grew they were just as quick to fall, because the big dog was there to get any morsels of food that were left on the floor.

After breakfast was done all the kids left and other then the mommy and the big dog the room was empty. As he was watching he saw the mommy open a big can and put it into the other shiny bowl. After she did this she took everything off the table and put them in a funny cabinet that made a big noise when she closed the door. She walked out of the room and the big dog followed her. Now was his chance. He had figured out that the mommy had just finished feeding the big dog. So he rushed over to the big shiny bowl and found some food that the big dog had left. Elgin now filled his tummy and found a hole not too far from the shiny bowls. Once he got use to the noise he knew he had a nice secure and comfortable home. But he still hadnít found where the cats were so he still had to be very careful. So Elgin curl up in a ball and fell asleep.

In a little while he woke up and looked out of his hole, and he saw two of the cats walking over to the shiny bowls. But about the time the cats got there the big dog saw them and chased them away. So Elgin thought to himself, hmm, it seems like the dog didnít like the cats to come anywhere near his food or water. That meant that as long as the dog was around then he would have little problem getting any water or scraps of food.

After all day exploring all the spaces in walls he could get to Elgin had found many holes he could squeeze thru and many other big rooms to explore. He even found where the cats were fed and where they spent most of the time. It was a room with lots of windows and lots of sunshine coming in. This was something he would remember and avoid.

After a couple of days living in the big house, Elgin had found all of the places he could get into and all of the places were there was food. But his favorite place was by the shiny bowls. There was always a lot of food for him there. One day after all the kids and daddy left the mommy started to bake some homemade bread. And the smell drove Elgin to carelessness. When the bread was done the mommy put it on the table and the aroma drove him to seek a way to get on the table. When he got there he was about to take a big bite out of one of the still warm loaves when the mommy came back to the room. He was lucky this time because she didnít see him and he was able to get back to his hole. But he was very scared. And he vowed not to do that again. He would be happy just getting what he found on the floor and the scraps of the big dog's food.

This went on for a long time. And Elgin started getting fatter and fatter. Then one day in the early spring it happened. Elgin had just finished eating from the shiny bowl when the mommy saw him. By then Elgin had gotten too fat to get into his favorite hole and he thought he was a goner. But the mommy didnít want to hurt him and she covered him with a glass and transferred him into a big jar. She put him out on the back step and turned him loose. He ran under the porch. And for the next couple of days he would stand up at the back door and try to get in. Then one day he was sitting under the porch and looking at a new wood pile when he saw a little girl mouse making a nest where his old home was. He waddled over there and introduced himself to her and then they settled down. It would be his job from now on to make sure that the babies knew all about Sammy the snake, Ollie the owl, the cats, the big dog, and all of the kids. And they lived happily ever after. For how long that would be is anybody's guess.

© By Jack Long (jacjenlong@aol.com)





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Icy Tracks

Grandma's Trunk


Back Then

My Heart Belongs To Sammy

The Bag

I Can't Imagine

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