Tiger Tales #79 - The Intellectual Mice

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"The Intellectual Mice"
By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Author of Ozoplaning with the Wizard of Oz, "The Wizard of Pumperdink", "King, King! Double King!", etc.

Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 23, 1918.

There was once a family of mice who lived in a bookcase - that almost never was dusted! Undisturbed and happy, they pursued the even tenor of their way and, living as they did among books, became every day more erudite. (Whatever that is). Father Mouse got it out of a book of essays - and used it upon every occasion.

The books belonged to a young bachelor, who, I am sorry to say, seldom referred to them, having got them from a grand-uncle. As he said often and often to his friends, they looked uncommonly dry.

Every evening the young mice would gather around and Father Mouse would laboriously open one of the books. Perched upon a little ladder he had made for the purpose, he would read for hours and hours. Madam Mouse, who had her own troubles making both ends meet (students make but poor husbands), would slyly nibble bits of the margin. It did very well for cereal.

One night as they were thus engaged an astonishing thing happened. Madam Mouse, returning from a visit to the bachelor's kitchen, unexpectedly encountered the bachelor himself. "Ha!" quoth the bachelor, and seizing a magazine threw it as hard as he could right at the little mouse lady. She was too quick for him, however, and, dropping her market basket, rushed for the bookcase as fast as she could patter - which was pretty fast.

"So that's where you live!" Down on his knees went the bachelor and next minute - before Mother Mouse had a chance to warn the family - out came a book - over tumbled Father Mouse and his step-ladder and all the little mice!

"Run for your lives!" squeaked their agitated mother; but their more conservative father cried, "Wait!" Not wishing to offend either of their parents, the little mice blinked and did nothing, and while they were doing that nothing at all happened.

Mother Mouse peeked cautiously around the edge of the bookcase to see what was going on. The bachelor was on his knees beside the book that had fallen out, staring as if he could not believe his eyes. No wonder! The book had fallen open and there between the leaves was the fattest package of banknotes that particular bachelor had ever seen in his bachelor life.

Next minute he was flipping over the leaves and out fell more banknotes and also a letter which read:

"To my dear nephew whom I always have known was a student at heart!"

"Caesar!" wheezed the bachelor. "And I might never had read 'em; why, if it hadn't been for the mouse I would never have even thought of looking at the books. Good little mice! Why, confound it, they shall have a pound of cheese for this and a home in the bookcase forever!"

"Will you just put that in writing?" Father Mouse stepped forward gravely, the four little mice behind him. You see, having read so much, he understood perfectly the bachelor's speech. But the bachelor was not up on mouseish, so was obliged to shake his head. Reaching in his pocket he found a small cigar and a package of chewing gum. The former{sic} he gave to the little mice - it kept them busy for the rest of the evening, and after that Mother Mouse worked on them. As for the cigar, Father Mouse immediately went into the tobacco business and made enough retailing it to mice of his acquaintance to put by a tidy little sum for his old age. And after that the mice were never molested, and each evening found some contribution toward their housekeeping back of the books.

As for the bachelor, that's all I know about him; what he did with the money I have no idea.

By Ruth Plumly Thompson
Originally published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger, June 30, 1918.

Some Rhyming Riddles

The Forgetful Poet's answers for last week were: Knee caps, elbows, eyelids, crown of the head, roof of the mouth, eyebrows, insteps, walls of the heart and other organs, finger nails and chest, ear drums and two palms, two calves, and the bridge of the nose.

Can you finish these verses for the dear fellow?


The game of golf is very fine;
I drive off well, dears, but
I never seem to have the skill
Required, dears, in the ------

At tennis I am more or less
Bewildered - I forget;
Sometimes a ball may be returned
And rather near the ------!

Now baseball is another thing
I seldom ever play.
After I his the ball - somehow
I seem to lose my ------!

[Answers next time.]

Copyright © 2007 Eric Shanower and David Maxine. All rights reserved.

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