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The Christmas Mouse
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Tara Fox Hall
Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Only one creature was stirring,
A Christmas Mouse.
'Sounds lame,' Mouse thought, twitching his whiskers as he looked at the fancy tree and presents beneath it, 'and untrue. I'm nocturnal, which means I like to move around at night, even if it is Christmas Eve. Crumbs wait for no mouse, especially stolen crumbs.'
Mouse paused one more second then shot out across the floor, narrowly avoiding a fallen glass ball ornament.
His passing set it rolling slowly across the floor.
He froze, unmoving, but no one stirred, not even the cat asleep on the couch a few yards away.
'Maybe that poem does have some truth to it,' he thought, as he began again to speedily work his way across the floor to the kitchen.
He reached the cabinets and began to climb slowly upwards, something on the counter smelled wonderful.
He reached the top with a grunt, then fluffed his whiskers with his paws, removing a cloud of dust.
"How long has it been since you cleaned that kitchen floor, humans?" he squeaked aloud grumpily.
He brushed once more then shook his head, he stopped abruptly and began sniffing hungrily.
A plate wrapped in plastic was to his left.
He ran over to it, investigating how best to get under that plastic to the good stuff.
He tried to chew through it first, then spat out the terrible tasting plastic. "Yuck!"
Next, he tried to rip through the plastic with his claws, but the plastic was too strong, and one of his toes got stuck!
With a hearty tug, he yanked it free.
"Ow!" he said, licking his sore foot, "that's not going to work."
Mouse slowly went round the plate, looking for an opening in the plastic. Finding an end, he tugged on it and a sheet of the plastic came off.
"I've got to unwrap it," he said, "like a human unwraps a present."
He worked slowly, pushing and pulling at the plastic.
He got one layer moved aside, then another, but the last layer of plastic was difficult and heavy to move, as it was partly under the first two layers.
He tugged and tugged at it, straining harder by the second, even pushing against the front of the cabinet drawer for leverage.
He wanted those cookies!
There was a tearing sound and all the plastic separated from the dish, coming right at him.
The momentum knocked him off the counter and down into the cabinet below.
He landed hard, then a second snap filled his left leg with pain.
Mouse got up, stunned to see his left rear leg stuck in a mousetrap.
Then he began to cry.
Suddenly he noticed movement beyond the cabinet.
Mouse went still, his heart racing.
"What have we got here?" a man in a red suit with white trim said sternly. "A mouse trying to steal my cookies?"
"You get cookies from everybody, Santa," Mouse replied, tugging at his leg, "that's why you're fat."
"Not anymore," Santa said, patting his lean belly. "Too many mice steal my cookies so I've lost weight."
Mouse gave a last futile tug, then looked up at Santa, "Won't you please help me?"
"Will you ask to share my cookies next time?" Santa asked, "not try to steal them?"
"I didn't think you'd share," he said grudgingly.
"Do you know how many cookies I get this night of the year?" Santa said with a chuckle. "Of course I'll share...if you ask."
"Please?" Mouse asked, "I won't steal them anymore."
"Good," Santa said, scooping down to pick him up, "now let's get you out of that trap."
With a careful touch Santa released Mouse's leg from the trap, and then he broke off some cookie and set it in front of him.
"Thank you," Mouse said, picking up a piece and taking a bite. "You're a good guy, Santa."
"Thank you," Santa said, eating his cookie in a few mouthfuls.
He moved quickly to the tree, adding a few presents to the few already underneath.
"Careful of the dust," Mouse said to him. "There's a lot on the floor."
"You should see their chimney," Santa replied with a knowing look, as he put the last present in place.
"Be good for the next year," he winked, then disappeared up the chimney.
"Merry Christmas," Mouse called after him, grabbing up a pile of cookie bits in his arms.
"And for me, a good night!"
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