Herald-Journal Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 11, 1998

Making friends with a very small mouse

By OPAL "GRANDMA " HABISCH

Coming home from school, I reached the door and heard Mother screaming, "Don't come in. There is a mouse sitting right in front of the door!"I opened the door to find my mother standing on a chair, well away from the little mouse.

"Oh, mother, he is so small. I want to catch him," I said. I went to get my butterfly net, opened the door, and scooped up the mouse.

The little mouse was cold and scared. I talked to him and petted him. Somehow he must have known I would not hurt him because as I held him, he went to sleep.

I got a shoebox and put some holes in it for air. I put the mouse in the box, got him some cheese to eat, and brought him to my room."What should I call him," I wondered.

As my mother climbed down from her chair, she said, "Call him Pippi. It means 'small one' in French. And be sure that he doesn't get loose. I don't want to see him running around in here again."

The next morning I got up and looked in the box. The mouse was gone. I looked all over for him but I couldn't find him. As I left for school, I hoped he wouldn't scare my mother again.

When I got home from school, there was Pippi, sitting on the steps in front of my house. I put down my hand and he crawled right into it. I took him back to his box and went down to the kitchen to get him some cheese and water. After he ate I held him and he went right to sleep.

The next morning he was gone from his box again. When I came home from school, there he was, waiting for me again. But this time he had a friend with him. I put down my hand and both of the mice crawled into it. I took them up to my room and got them something to eat.

The next morning both of them were gone from the box. By now I knew that they would probably be waiting for me when I came home from school. And sure enough, Pippi was there on the steps waiting for me. This time he had his friend with him, and also two other smaller mice. I decided that this must be Pippi's family.

I brought all of them to the box in my room. It was too small for so many mice. I went to the kitchen to get them some food.

Mother said, "This has got to stop. We will have all the mice that live around here in our house. Why don't you put the box outside by the woodshed?" And so I moved the box outside.

After that, Pippi was always there to see me off to school and welcome me when I came home again.

Then one day, Pippi wasn't there. I didn't see him for a whole week. When I saw him again, he was with a girl mouse and there were four babies.

Pippi told me that these were his children and their mother. They were going away and they just wanted to thank me for bringing them food and water. Then Pippi stood up on his hind legs and waved good-bye.

The next time you see a mouse, say hello. It just might be Pippi.


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