Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there lived a lady, a little girl and a dog named Sam. They lived in a house with creaky floors and squirrel-some places, and huge park just behind the garden fence. They loved this park for it was home to all sorts of creatures, furry and feathered, big and small. And though they loved to say hello to all the animals on their walks, they never felt compelled to invite them around for tea. Tea for was neighbourly neighbours and not for cuddly creatures. In fact, just one piece of homemade shortbread dipped in tea with a spot of milk could ruin a bunny’s taste for acorns, and grass seeds forever!
The animal leaders were very worried about this given the people’s penchant for serving tea to all around. So they drafted an armistice and asked all those living on the edges of the park to sign. The people agreed to keep tea invitations to themselves. In exchange, the animals agreed to stay out of the peoples homes. And it worked a treat. For many years, the people and the animals lived side-by-side in peace and harmony. Until one day, a very little mouse was born.
This little mouse was very mysterious. He wasn’t like all of his big brothers and sisters. He was spotted and shy and curious of unusual things – particularly the strange habits of people. At first, he watched them on their walks. Then he began to creep away from the park to peer in their windows and watch them eat, and play, and laugh, and love, and cry. He noticed the beautiful, shiny things they used. He caught vague and intriguing scents from their kitchens. In fact, the little mouse missed the annual park meeting that reviewed the park bylaws and the armistice agreement because he was watching old Mrs. Donaldson serve tea to her son and his wife.
Three days later, the mysterious mouse was spying on the lady, the little girl and Sam in their kitchen. Suddenly he knew, he just had to see more. He had to know more. He had to...the back door opened. Out trotted Sam. The back door closed, but not all the way....without thinking the mysterious mouse dashed. And in he went. Oh my goodness. What a scary thing! Up and over and under and whew! Behind the piano went the mysterious mouse. There he sat. Panting. Still. Scared. And amazed. Wow! Look at all the shiny things, stretchy things, curly things. Ribbons and pillows and balloons and flowers. Little animals and candles, lights and balls, and blankets and laces.
The little mouse was beside himself. He had to reach out to touch....he had to have a little...nibble...
‘Mama,’ said the little girl. ‘Why is my red balloon floating on the ceiling without any ribbon?’
‘And Mama,’ she said again. ‘Here’s a broken light.’
‘And your shoes, Mama. The laces are all broken.’
The lady was not very pleased. In fact, she was most upset. It seemed that someone had broken the armistice! And Sam, on coming inside, only sniffed the floor before going upstairs to nap some more.
Suddenly the lady knew. It was time for their little family to grow. It was time for a puppy. A noisy, rascally, guard-the-house, lovable puppy.
Three days later, the park leaders knocked on the lady’s door to apologize for the mysterious mouse. They brought with them the long red ribbon from the balloon and three broken bits of shoelace. The mysterious mouse also brought a nice twig with some red berries and three shiny acorns. The lady laughed and said, ‘No matter. Please meet Harry. I suggest you don’t come in again as he likes mice very much. However, before you go, please do join us for tea?’