THE GRAYMOUSE FAMILY
THE GRAYMOUSE FAMILY
NELLIE M. LEONARD
CHAPTER I THE GRAYMOUSE HOME
CHAPTER II UNCLE SQUEAKY
CHAPTER III TREASURES FROM THE PLAY-ROOM
CHAPTER IV MOTHER GRAYMOUSE KEEPS SCHOOL
CHAPTER V LIMPY-TOES IS LOST
CHAPTER VI BUSTER AND THE CHOCOLATES
CHAPTER VII SILVER EARS' ADVENTURE
CHAPTER VIII VISITING MRS. FIELD-MOUSE
CHAPTER IX MOVING DAYS
CHAPTER X THE CHRISTMAS TREE
That Wicked Thomas Cat is prowling about and I had to be careful
The little Graymouse children greeted Uncle Squeaky gleefully
"I might manage to tell one more Story" he chuckled
There was a pretty daughter who loved Bright Ribbons
The door flew open and in ran Ruth and Robert Giant
How shall we ever manage to get it home?
"That cross old Norah"
Buster folded his paws in his lap and sang very sweetly
"How nice the Apples smell" said Buster
"My poor dear Limpy-toes" she sobbed
"Tell us all about it?" they begged
It was a hot summer day
Grand-daddy Whiskers with a pan of warm biscuits under his arm
The only food in sight is set around on the pantry shelves in traps
A busy little procession marched to the barn
"Jolly little mice are we"
THE GRAYMOUSE HOME
Mother Graymouse with her family lived in a cosy attic which was as
snug and comfortable as any good mouse could wish.
Her children were named Limpy-toes Silver Ears Buster Teenty and
Tiny and Baby Squealer. Although they had many faults upon the
whole they were good children and made a happy family.
On pleasant mornings the sun shone in bright and warm through the
dainty cobweb curtains of their east window. In the summer-time
robins and orioles sang sweetly among the green branches of the maple
tree which shaded the west window. Even when it stormed Mother
Graymouse and her little ones enjoyed the patter patter of the
rain-drops upon the roof and window-panes. They were thankful for
such a good home.
The house in which they lived belonged to a family of giants. There
was Mr. Giant his wife and two little Giants. The little girl was a
pretty child named Ruth with blue eyes and long yellow curls. Her
brother Robert looked almost exactly like her except that his
yellow curls were shorter he wore bigger boots that made more noise
and instead of playing with dolls and tea-sets he liked balls and
bats and air-rifles.
After Mr. Giant had fitted up half of the attic for his children's
play-room life was much jollier for the little Graymouses. The steam
heat from the play-room came through the cracks and made their home
as warm as toast.
Limpy-toes and Silver Ears worked busily away until there were three
holes through which they could steal softly in and watch Ruth and
Robert at their play.
Since Christmas the attic had become a merry noisy place.
"I wonder how those young Giants manage to make such a racket?"
grumbled Mother Graymouse. "I've been trying for an hour to rock Baby
Squealer to sleep and the poor dear is wide awake now. Such a din
I've seldom heard."
"It's their Christmas presents Mammy" replied Silver Ears. "Ruth
has a toy piano."
"And Robert blows his new cornet and beats his drum" finished
"He must like to work so hard" drawled Buster.
"Oh it's jolly fun!" cried Tiny.
"It's jolly fun" echoed her twin Teenty.
"Maybe it is" said Mother Graymouse "but I'd like to chew a hole in
those toys that would let out all the noise. With their racket and
Squealer's howling I'm almost crazy. Here Silver Ears sit by the
cradle and amuse the baby. I must try to find something for our
supper. Buster I want you to help the twins set the dishes on the
table while I am gone. Don't shirk now. Even if Limpy-toes is so
lame he helps me far more than you do. See the nice dish he is
carving out of a walnut shell for me. I shall cook his favorite
pudding in it to-morrow as a reward for his patient toil. Aren't you
ashamed to be idle when your poor crippled brother tries so hard to
help his mother? Now be good children and don't quarrel." She slipped
on her gray coat and the bonnet trimmed with blue ribbons and whisked
out of sight down a hole in one corner of the attic floor.
Silver Ears left little Squealer to cry himself to sleep while she
stood on tiptoe before the old cracked looking-glass and tied a pink
ribbon in a bow under her chin.
"Where did you get that ribbon Miss Prinky?" asked Buster.
"In the play-room" laughed Silver Ears. "It used to belong to the
doll but now it belongs to me."
"You look very sweet Silvy" lisped Tiny.
"You're sweet Silvy" chimed in Teenty.
Silver Ears made them a charming bow. "I thank you twinnies! I'll
bring you both something nice from the play-room some day. Now hurry!
Mammy will soon return and you haven't even laid the table-cloth. Run
and get the spoons from the cupboard Buster or I'll tell Mammy to
put you to bed without any supper. Oh that baby! Can't you jiggle
the cradle Limpy-toes while you finish digging out the dish?"
Mother Graymouse looked very sober when she came home. She took a
cracker and some stale cake crumbs from her pocket.
"This is all I could get to-night my dears" she explained sadly.
"That wicked Thomas Cat is prowling about and I had to be careful. It
is snowing and the drifts are very deep so I did not dare go across
the street to the store. Ah well we shall not starve."
"Never mind Mammy" said Limpy-toes. "Crackers and cake crumbs are
[Illustration: That Wicked Thomas Cat is prowling about and I had to
"By and by it will be summer Mammy and then we can all go out to
hunt for food" added Silver Ears cheerfully.
"But I want some cheese with my cracker" whimpered Buster.
"When your poor Daddy was alive we had cheese or meat for every
meal. He was a wonderful provider. And so clever! What other family
has a cradle like ours? And my rocking-chair--I'm quite proud of it.
He made 'em all--every stick of furniture we have with his own
clever paws. Poor Daddy I miss him so! It is a cold world for a lone
widow to be left in with six small children." Mother Graymouse sighed
and wiped a tear away with her handkerchief.
The five little mice tiptoed to their places at the table very
quietly for Limpy-toes had rocked Baby Squealer to sleep at last.
They ate their supper in silence. Only Tiny and Teenty whispered and
giggled softly to each other.
Suddenly there was a great scrambling and scratching outside.
"It is Uncle Squeaky!" cried Limpy-toes.
"He's coming up the elevator" decided Silver Ears.
"Oh how lovely to have a visit from Uncle Squeaky on a snow-stormy
night!" and the twins ran a race to the attic entrance.
"Boo-hoo!" cried Baby Squealer.
The little Graymouse children greeted Uncle Squeaky gleefully. Silver
Ears took his fur cap and cane Limpy-toes hung up his great-coat
and the twins captured both his kindly paws and danced back to the
chimney corner with him.
Buster was such a fat lazy fellow that he just sat upon his little
stool and waited for his uncle to come to him.
"Howdy do Uncle Squeaky?" he said as the others drew their little
red-painted stools into a half circle before Uncle Squeaky's
arm-chair. "Have you any peppermints in your pocket?"
"And will you please tell us a real exciting story?" begged Silver
Uncle Squeaky laughed until tiny wrinkles came all around his
twinkling black eyes and he looked ever so pleasant.
"Just listen to that Ma Graymouse!" he cried.
[Illustration: _The little Graymouse children greeted Uncle Squeaky
"Just listen to that! One would think I was a walking candy store and
a story book all in one. Very sorry Buster Boy but I haven't a
single peppermint in my pocket. I think you ought not to eat so much
candy. You are too fat already. As for stories you kiddies have
heard every tale that this old gray head holds time and time again."
He watched the five sober little faces as they sat upon their
red-painted stools with their paws folded primly in their laps. Then
he winked slyly at Mother Graymouse. "Oh well if you are going to
feel as bad as all that perhaps I might manage to tell you one more
story" he chuckled. "But I think Silver Ears will hardly call it
exciting. And I wonder if you little folk could make some
He drew forth a handful of pink candies from his pocket and gave them
"Bless my stars how that little Squealer does squeal! Here Ma
Graymouse stuff his mouth with this candy and I will begin my
[Illustration: "I might manage to tell one more Story he chuckled."]
"Once upon a time away up in an attic so high that it made their
fat old uncle puff to climb up to their dwelling there lived a widow
and her six children. Their father met a sad death a short time ago
and so her children had to be very brave and work hard to help their
"Sniff! Sniff!" went Mother Graymouse behind her handkerchief.
"Boo-hoo!" cried Baby Squealer.
Uncle Squeaky passed Mother Graymouse another checkermint for the
baby and went on with his story:
"The oldest son was much like his Daddy very wise and clever at
making things. He was somewhat lame as he had lost the toes of one
foot in a trap when he was a small mouse too small to be wise."
"Limpy-toes!" they cried in a chorus.
"And a great comfort he is to be sure" put in Mother Graymouse
[Illustration: There was a pretty daughter who loved Bright Ribbons.]
"And there was a pretty daughter who loved bright ribbons and spent
quite a good deal of time dancing before the looking-glass. But she
was good-natured and helpful with all her gay ways and dainty
habits and every one who knew her loved her."
"Silver Ears of course!" shouted the others.
"The third little fellow resembled his Grand-daddy Whiskers"
continued Uncle Squeaky. "He was fat as a butter ball so he could
not squeeze through holes to hunt for food with the others. He ate so
many goodies that he was too tired to do much work so he had to sit
on his little red stool most of the time. But he could sometimes sing
the baby to sleep which was a great blessing. He was a sweet singer
and now he is going to sing us a song. Wake up Buster Boy and give
us a right good tune."
Buster blinked sleepily.
"It is rather warm in this chimney corner" excused Mother Graymouse.
"Now Buster sing your newest song for Uncle Squeaky; that's a good
Buster rubbed his sleepy eyes and began:
"Cheese oh! Merry oh!
Apple pie and cream;
Cheese oh! Merry oh!
Pudding that's a dream.
"Heigh oh! Merry oh!
Spice cake's very nice;
Heigh oh! Merry oh!
We are happy mice."
"A voice just like his poor Daddy's" sighed Mother Graymouse "and
so he is a comfort too."
"Then there was a pair of twins" resumed Uncle Squeaky. "The two of
'em wouldn't make one good sized mouse. But it did not take much
stuff for their dresses and they could steal through the tiniest
teentiest holes which was often very handy for the whole family."
How they all clapped for Tiny and Teenty!
"Hush!" cautioned Mother Graymouse. "If we make too much noise the
Giant may be angry and turn us out of our cosy home."
"Then there was a small baby; he was rightly named Squealer" added
Uncle Squeaky dryly. "Well one stormy night when the snow was packed
against the windows so you couldn't even peep out their old uncle
made them a visit. He reminded them that once again it was New Year's
Eve." He paused solemnly.
"And so we must make new resolutions" smiled Silver Ears.
"Very good" agreed Uncle Squeaky. "Suppose you begin."
"I will obey my mother" said Silver Ears.
"I will try to take poor Daddy's place" said Limpy-toes.
"I will mind the baby" said Tiny.
"I will mind baby too" said Teenty.
"Your turn Buster" reminded Uncle Squeaky.
"I will try to wake up mornings" said Buster.
"And not eat so much my boy. And do a little more work; it is good
exercise" advised Uncle Squeaky in a rather severe tone.
"Now that is fine. Good little mice are always obedient and helpful.
I think Ma Graymouse that you ought to be very happy and contented
this year with such dutiful kiddies. Now it is getting late. I must
tell you the good news which was my real errand and then be gone.
Granny and Grand-daddy Whiskers have met with great good fortune.
They have moved up one flight into the pantry closet. They say the
air there is very fine--all sorts of delicious odors. And food! Why
it is hard to choose the bill of fare there's so many goodies laying
around! Granny wishes you to visit her and bring all the
kiddies--especially Buster" he grinned. "Good night. A happy New
Year to you all!"
"Happy New Year Uncle Squeaky!" they called in chorus. "Bring your
fiddle next time uncle" coaxed Silver Ears as he pulled his fur
cap down snugly.
"And don't forget the checkermints" drawled Buster from his little
TREASURES FROM THE PLAY-ROOM
Tiny and Teenty were inquisitive little twins. One fine day when
Mother Graymouse had taken Baby Squealer down cellar to call upon
Aunt and Uncle Squeaky and Limpy-toes had been sent to the store
across the street they planned a pleasure trip of their own.
"Silvy and Limpy-toes often visit the playroom and have a lovely
time" whispered Tiny. "Let's go you and I."
"Let's go!" agreed Teenty clapping her paws.
"We'll stay just as long as we wish" planned Tiny.
"So we will. It will be good fun" answered Teenty.
Silver Ears heard them whispering and giggling together but she was
busy making herself a blue velvet hood from some pieces that Mother
Graymouse had found in an old trunk. So she never noticed when Tiny
and Teenty slipped through a hole that led to the play-room.
"Oh isn't it grand to come all by ourselves!" whispered Tiny.
"Isn't it grand!" echoed Teenty.
"Mammy Graymouse will think we are old enough to look out for
ourselves if only we can find something nice to take home to her"
went on Tiny. "Oh see Teenty they haven't thrown away their
Christmas tree yet! I smell goodies. Why it is pop-corn! But I
never saw it growing on a string before. Hurry and pull it off before
the young giants come."
Tiny and Teenty cut the strings of pop-corn with their sharp teeth
and they fell softly to the carpet.
All at once the door flew open and in ran Ruth and Robert Giant.
Tiny and Teenty scrambled out of sight under the sofa pillows and sat
tremblingly holding each other's cold little paws while their hearts
[Illustration: The door flew open and in ran Ruth and Robert Giant]
"Norah must throw out this tree to-day" said Ruth Giant. "It has
stood here nearly a month. The hemlock is falling all over the
"Even the pop-corn is falling" laughed Robert. "I am going to draw a
picture of the tree and color it with my new paints."
"And I will read another chapter in my book before papa comes back
with the auto."
It was so still in the play-room that the poor scared twins under the
pillows were afraid the Giant children would hear their hearts
beating pitty-pat! pitty-pat! It seemed a long long time before Maid
Norah's freckly face appeared in the doorway.
"Your pa says you're to hurry if you want to ride in the auto with
him" she announced.
Flying footsteps slamming doors and then the play-room was
Tiny and Teenty crept shyly from their hiding-place feeling very
"Oh see Teenty!" cried Tiny. "There's a bag of Christmas candy away
up in the tree. The young Giants did not find it." Up among the
branches she scrambled almost to the tip-top of the tall tree.
Her sharp white teeth cut the string arid with a bang down fell
their prize. Then Tiny swung herself nimbly to the floor.
"Such a lot of candy! Won't Buster grin" laughed Tiny as she caught
up a string of pop-corn and started for home.
Teenty took another string and followed after her sister.
"See Silvy what a nice lot of pop-corn we have brought" said Tiny.
"See my nice pop-corn too" echoed Teenty.