J)-' LrUUGHbIN EIROTHERS. NEW-YORK
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3~ 9~~8 ~^i.
THE GRATEFUL MOUSE.
I WISH that all the little boys and girls who read
this story could see Grandmother Puss; but as they
cannot, I will tell you something about her. She is a
very large, and handsome old cat of grave aspect,
and solemn manners. Her face is black, with white
marks around the eyes, and across the nose, which make
her look as if she wore spectacles; and she has a grand-
son called Peter, who lives with her.
When Peter was but six weeks old, he Was left an
orphan; for some very, very wicked dog had killed his
mother! Grandmother Puss at once took the lonely
kitten to her heart, with many tears, sharing her milk
with him; and as he grew larger, giving him the fattest
and most tender mice, she could catch.
I think she spoiled him, as other Grandmothers do.
He never watched for mice, and did nothing to earn his
own living, but passed his time chiefly in chasing his
own tail, and other vain and foolish amusements. Now,
there was an old gray rat who lived in a hole, in the
cellar. He was always up to some kind of mischief-
had spoiled a great deal of milk, and carried off all the
cheese he could get his paws on--once he was even
seen trying to get away with an egg, which he was
rolling gently toward his hole!
He did so much harm, and was so very knowing and
sly, that at last Grandmother Puss declared, with tears
in her eyes, that she would neither taste, touch, nor
handle a single mouse, until she had caught the old gray
robber. And she kept her word. She sometimes sat
a whole night, watching for the old rogue, but although
she often saw him, she could never catch him.
There was also a cunning little mouse, who livednear
by. He was called Cooky, because he was once seen
lugging off a whole cooky, to give to his lame sister.
Now,'the wicked old rat tried nearly as hard to catch
poor Cooky as Grandmother Puss did to get the old rat;
and Cooky was more afraid of the grim old rat, than he
was of the cat herself. One night Cooky saw the rat
at one end of the cellar, very busy, eating a piece of
cheese that he had stolen. So Cooky betook himself
to the other end, where he had seen some fine apples,
and he was very fond of apples, indeed.
So he crept softly up to the heap, and was just
about to taste a fine, juicy one, when the cat saw him.
"I said, I would not touch, or taste a mouse," she said,
" but I did not say I would not scare one, and I cannot
see these nice apples spoiled-so here goes." With
these words, she made a rush for the mouse, making all
the noise she could; which is not usual with cats, you
know, which go very softly, in order not to scare the
mice before they can catch them.
Cooky, of course, darted away to his hole in a hury,
anl there peeped out carefully. "Now," said he to
himself, that cat has a kind look; I've a good mind
to try, and make a bargain with her, so that I can get
something to eat once in a while. Perhaps I can make
her promise not to eat me, but it will do no harm to try,
and everybody knows that Grandmother Puss is a cat
of her word." So just as Puss was about to start for
the other end of the cellar, for a tussle with the old
rat, she heard a small squeaking voice, which said,
"Please, Grandmother Puss, I want to make a bargain
with you." "A bargain with me!" said Puss, looking
about in surprise for the small voice. "What do you
Why, I want to come into the cellar whenever I like,
and eat whatever scraps I can find, besides taking away
a little for my poor, lame sister. Now, if you will let
.. I, -" .
The Old Rat Stealing Cheese.
me do so, and promise not to hurt me, I will do anything
in the world that you ask me to do-that is rig!dt-and
that I am able to do."
This was a big speech for a little mouse, but Grand-
mother Puss only thought how Cooky could help her in
Death of the Old Rat.
the matter of catching the old gray rat. She turned it
over in her mind for some time, keeping one eye on
Cooky, who, in his eagerness, had come outside his
hole, and at last said: Do you know Mr. Gray Rat,
Cooky?" "Yes, Madame," said Cooky, with great
politeness. "Do you know where he is now?" pursued
Pussy. "Yes, Madame, I think I do," replied Cooky,
growing bolder every minute. "Well," said Grandmother
Puss, solemnly, "that rat has caused my good mistress
a great deal of trouble, and if you can in any way
tempt him within my reach, so that I can catch him, I
promise never to harm you, or to allow my grandson,
Peter, to do so." "It's a bargain," said Cooky, "you
hide here behind this box, and when you see me run
by, with the rat after me, you can give one spring, and
catch the rogue; but please be quick about it, or he
may catch me."
So Puss hid behind the box; Cooky went as near old
Gray Rat's hole as he dared, then, giving a frightened
squeak, as though he had just caught sight of his
enemy, turned and ran with all his speed toward the
place where Puss lay concealed. The old rat heard
Cooky's squeak, and was after him in a moment squeal-
ing out, "I'll have-you now, master Cooky, and you'll
make me a nice supper." But long before he could
reach Cooky, Grandmother Puss pounced upon the
gray old rascal, and tore him to pieces in a trice, though
I fear she found her prize too tough for dinner! Then
Puss told Cooky to come and drink milk from her
dish, which he did, and then ran off, well pleased, to
his hole, taking some bread with him to feed his poor,
Although Grandmother Puss thought her grandson,
Peter, much too lazy to try and catch Cooky, still she
thought it safer to forbid him to go near him, or to
disturb him in any way. Now Peter didn't want to
catch Cooky, or any other mouse, so long as he was
free to do so.
But as soon as Grandmother Puss told him to let little
Cooky alone, and never to go near her, or frighten
her; Peter was at once seized with*a violent wish
to do that very thing. I am sorry to say, that many
little children who should know how to behave much
better than Peter; very often feel the same desire to
do what they know is wrong. So Peter now thought
that Cooky must be the sweetest and tenderest mouse
alive. The more he thought of him, the more his mouth
watered for him. He did not believe his Grandma
would punish him much, even if she found him out.
He even tried to persuade himself that his Grandma
was merely fattening Cooky up for her own use; 'and
intended to eat him herself as soon as he was in good
This went on for some time, until at last Peter's
desire to taste Cooky grew too strong for him. So one
day, he went softly down the stairs and hid himself, to
wait for Cooky's daily visit to the box. He thought he
was alone in the cellar, but he was mistaken-Grandma
Puss was riot far off, watching for any stray rat who
might come that way.
She saw Peter, and wondered what he was about.
She soon found out. In a short time poor Cooky came
out to get his dinner, with no thought of danger in his
mind. Quick as a flash, the wicked Peter grabbed him!
Luckily for Cooky, Peter thought he would worry his
victim a little before eating him, as cats often do; and so
while he was letting. poor Cooky run a little way, and
then catching him again; Grandma Puss, who had seen
the whole thing, crept slyly up, and in a moment, the
astonished Peter was rolling upon the floor, from the
effects of a box on the ear from his enraged Grand-
Cooky, of course, got back to his hole with great
speed. He was not much hurt, and as soon as he felt
himself safe, he looked out, and saw Puss giving Peter
a cuffing and shaking that didthis little heart good; and
which Peter remembered as long as he lived. Grandma
then told him, that in future he must catch his own
mice, and as that gave him plenty to do, and kept
Grandma Puss. punishes Peter.
wicked thoughts out of his mind, he grew up to be an
an ornament to his race. He is a smart cat now,
catches mice for his Grandma as well as himself; and is
much thought of in the very highest circles of society.
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