McGuffey Reader and Poetry Story 26

STORY XXVI THREE LITTLE MICE

1. I will tell you the story of three little mice,
If you will keep still and listen to me,
Who live in a cage that is cozy and nice,
And are just as cunning as cunning can be.
They look very wise, with their pretty red eyes,
That seem just exactly like little round beads;
They are white as the snow, and stand up in a row
Whenever we do not attend to their needs;–
THREE  LITTLE  MICE

2. Stand up in a row in a comical way,–
Now folding their forepaws as if saying,
please;”
Now rattling the lattice, as much as to say,
“We shall not stay here without more
bread and cheese,”
They are not at all shy, as you’ll find, if you try
To make them run up in their chamber to bed;
If they don’t want to go, why, they won’t go—
ah! no,
Though you tap with your finger each queer little head.

3. One day as I stood by the side of the cage,
Through the bars there protruded a funny,
round tail;
Just for mischief I caught it, and soon; in a rage,
Its owner set up a most pitiful wail.
He looked in dismay,–there was something to pay,–
But what was the matter he could not make out;
What was holding him so, when he wanted to go
to see what his brothers upstairs were about?

4. But soon from the chamber the others rushed down,
Impatient to learn what the trouble might be;
I have not a doubt that each brow wore a frown,
Only frowns on their brows are not easy to see.
For a moment they gazed, perplexed and amazed;
Then began both together to–gnaw off the tail!
So, quick I released him,–do you think that it pleased him?
And up the small staircase they fled like a gale.

Continue to Lesson 27