"Mama, Mama!" squealed Eenie, screeching to a halt in front of Mrs. Mouse, tail twitching in excitement. "Guess what, guess what?"
"Slow down, Eenie. What's all this commotion about?"
Eenie's beady eyes danced and glowed. "I just saw Mrs. Jenkins take Fluffy out of the house…in a cage. What can that mean, Mama?"
"That means Fluffy is going to the vet. He'll be gone for some time."
"Really? Meenie, Miney, Moe. The cat's gone. The cat's gone." Eenie sang. "Let's go explore the big house."
The quartet stampeded, pushing and shoving to be first to enjoy the new adventure.
Eenie and Meenie headed straight for the kitchen, nosing around on the floor and counters for crumbs. Miney preferred to follow brother Moe, scampering about the pantry. Without warning he stopped so suddenly, Miney plowed into his backside.
"What are you doing?" She demanded.
Moe ignored her, nose high, whiskers twitching. Slowly he moved forward, following the trail of a most tantalizing smell. What could it be?
Moving slowly between wall and canned goods, Moe at last found the object of epicurean delight; a luscious, generous chunk of cheese, tucked between tomato soup and tuna. His nose and paws quivered with excitement.
"Moe!" Miney screeched. "Be careful! It's in a trap. Remember, Papa described them to us last week. Please, please let Papa get the cheese for us."
Moe's thoughts swirled with possibilities. How exciting it would be to carry the cheese back to Mama and prove he was just as good as Papa. However, he'd never seen a trap before and didn't quite know how it operated. Papa had stressed how very dangerous traps are and even Mama never tried to take cheese from one. After a few long minutes, he decided to go back for Papa. He and Miney scampered back with Eenie and Meenie close on their heels.
"Papa, Papa! We found a huge piece of cheese in a trap. Please, could you get it for us?"
Papa Mouse looked pleased. Not only did his children look up to him as the provider but now Moe showed wisdom in seeking his help first. His children would live many mouse years for such good sense. With a huge grin, he allowed his excited offspring to lead him to the trap, not telling them he already knew the location of every one in the big house.
Soon the party reached their goal. Even Mama had come along for the fun. Quietly Papa circled the trap, and then stepped back. He searched the floor until he found just what he needed. A penny lay forgotten against the wall. Carefully he took it in his mouth, climbed the canned goods, and when he reached a decent level, stretched his body out over the trap…and dropped the penny.
Thwap! His four children jumped in surprise and fear. Moe nervously rubbed his front paws together. How glad he was now that he had called on Papa. He could prove his prowess later. Now, he would join his family for this unexpected feast.
Mama grabbed the cheese and scampered to the living room where the sun shone brightly. The family gathered around her. As Mama doled out cheese tidbits, everyone enjoyed the rare treat of basking in the sun's warmth as well.
After their leisurely meal, Papa led them to every trap in the house, springing each with his new-found penny. He allowed each of his children to carry some bounty back to their cozy nest, Mama following with the priceless penny.
Just as the family reached the safety of their home, they heard the front door open and a loudly complaining Fluffy released to rule his kingdom once again.
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