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Agnes Taylor Ketchum

The Mouse Family

"I WILL give you a picture from a little country town I was passing over one night. I noticed quite a plain-looking house, painted green. No, it was not a private residence, but the county store, where the men of the town gathered in the evening, after their day's labor, to discuss the village news. As I stopped, for a few minutes, to throw my rays through the dusty window-panes, a strange thing occurred. At one side of the stove was an old chimney-piece; the fire-place had not been used for many years, and the mice had found it a very convenient place to build their nests, high up on the inside of the chimney. Just as I peeped in, a baby mouse fell to the floor; it was a wee, pink creature, no larger than a small peanut, and, evidently, only a few hours old; every one heard it fall, and supposed the tiny creature was killed by the fall, but such was not the case. Presently, the mamma mouse slipped down the chimney, grabbed the baby by the back of the neck, and began to climb up to the nest; but, after going up a short distance, she fell back. She repeated her efforts to reach the nest several times, but with the same result; finally, she laid the baby down, and went home. Papa mouse supposed she had abandoned the little mouse, but after awhile, she re-appeared, accompanied by the papa mouse, who, this time, grabbed the little fellow by the back of the neck, and the mamma took his tail in her mouth, and in this way they succeeded in getting back to their nest with their baby. There was a great uproar in that store, as the men cheered the old mouse, lustily."