The Christmas Mouse

The Christmas mouse ran through the house, whilst everybody else was asleep. As was his instinct, he began in the kitchen. Oh what a feast! The remnants filled his empty belly til the mouse thought he might burst. After much chewing and licking, he was fully sated, and more than slightly inebriated. To the living room he retired. A tree grew inside, fully six feet tall, though none had been there just one week ago. There was, at its base, a congregation of boxes in shiny paper, so extensively stacked that they served as a staircase. Climbing upon them, the mouse reached up to the tree, and saw himself, oddly reflected, in monstrous silver balls. Upward he climbed, to survey the scene. At the top he was startled, by a woman with wings. Though he bit her in fright, she did not fly away. She stood perfectly still, and retained her fixed smile, despite the needles that prickled her bum. Down again ran the mouse, round a coil of cable, as this was the best-lit path. Back on the ground, he found more companions. Some miniature people stood around a poor stable, smelling of perfume and chocolate instead of muck. From the mantle hung socks, though when inspected, he found them laden with treats and not feet. Many colourful cards lined up above them, though few words were written inside.

To the bedrooms he scampered, to spy the masters of this orgy of gladness. The parents snored so loudly they hurt his ears, so the mouse ran to the children, who only murmured whilst sleeping. “Please Santa, bring this,” and “please Santa, bring that,” was what they seemed to be saying. The hour was late, and he feared they would wake, so the mouse departed for home. The Christmas mouse was a field mouse, and he lived in a burrow past the end of the garden. He ran quickly for it, as the bitter cold snow bit at each of his toes. But before he arrived, he was greatly surprised, by a man wearing a bright red coat. “Hello little mouse,” said the man, though his lips were obscured by his fluffy white beard. The mouse cowered in terror; there was nowhere to hide upon the unbroken white blanket, so he curled into a ball and hoped to be left alone. “Don’t be afraid,” said the man, “I’m the spirit of Christmas, I am.” The man cupped the mouse in his hands, to warm the creature. “Let me tell you a secret: there’s fewer that need me each year, though more that expect my attention. There’s such wealth in this world, that none need ever suffer, but it’s not for me to give them harmony. They’ll find it themselves, if they care to look, so I’m turning my favour to you, and your ilk. From now on, you’ll have plenty of grain, and won’t need to steal from them again. So go back to your burrow, and stay away from the houses, with all their mousetraps and poisons. Let me look after the rest.”

Back in his burrow, the mouse slept fully that night. When he woke, he remembered adventures, but thought they must be a dream. Such a Christmas would fill him with cheer: not an annual party but a life without fear. It seemed impossible to believe. Twas a story for children and the simple-minded. Such things could never be. And yet the Christmas mouse hoped, and that was somehow enough, and he never returned to the house.

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