Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Vision (08/03/06)
TITLE: The True Story of the Three Blind Mice
By Jan Ackerson
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So—let me start with that first line. Three blind mice… Yes, there were three of us, but we were hardly blind. Granted, Maximilian squints a bit; it runs in his family. But Alexander and I—our eyesight is just fine, thank you very much. No, it’s not lack of sight that got us into trouble, but lack of foresight, of vision. Everything that happened to us was a result of rash action. My mother always used to say “Bartholomew, never go into a hole too small for your whiskers.” But we rushed into our grand scheme without thinking of the consequences.
What can I say? We’re mice. Our brains are the size of a morsel of cheese, a crumb of bread.
Pardon me while I sniff out a snack.
Where was I? Oh yes, our grand scheme. See how they run. Well, naturally we were going to run. We knew the time of day when the cat (that vile creature) was most likely to be taking a long nap. I’ll admit that we forgot another famous mouseish proverb: A cat sleeps with its eyes closed and its ears open. The plan was to run quickly past her on our journey into...The Promised Land.
There were rumors, you see—rumors of pies, of treacle tarts, of chewy bread with enough crustiness to trim an old mouse’s incisors. There were rumors of muffins, of peanuts, of cakes. And did I mention cheese? Oh, there were rumors of veritable mountains of cheese in The Promised Land, so Maximilian and Alexander and I ran toward it…
…but the cat woke up.
With an unholy noise, she bounded after us. Luckily we three scampered in separate directions, confounding the horrid beast. Cats are stupid and distractible; we were fortunate that Tabby lost sight of us when she stopped to lick a paw.
They all ran after the farmer’s wife…I take umbrage at this. Tiny brains or not, no self-respecting mouse would chase a human being. We ran to escape that giant hairball; is it our fault that the only escape route took us into the room where the farmer’s wife was sewing? We regrouped in a shadowy corner, our hearts fluttering madly. There was a certain amount of anxious squeaking on Alexander’s part.
Of course she screamed. Why do humans screech so? She was in no danger from us. She’d be wiser, I think, to scream when Tabby enters the room; I’ve seen the way that the cat unsheathes her horrible claws while gazing malevolently in the woman’s direction.
But I digress. Pardon me—there’s a crumb under the table that I must investigate. If it’s edible, I need to claim it before Alexander spies it. Alexander cannot be trusted.
Back to the farmer’s wife…there we were, Maximilian, Alexander, and I, paralyzed with fear at the woman’s shrieks. Tabby was lurking nearby and we were nowhere close to The Promised Land. And just at that moment, the farmer entered the room to investigate the cause of his wife’s terror.
We were trapped.
She cut off their tails with a carving knife. Again, this is not strictly true. The poor terrified woman flung her scissors at us as we cowered in the corner, and by virtue of an unlucky bounce, they nipped off a bit of Max’s tail. It was a piece no larger than the tip of his nose—but these stories grow with each retelling. Max is fine, save for the injury to his dignity; a mouse’s tail is his pride. “Guard your tail, boy,” my father always said. “Without it, you’re nothing but a hamster.”
Did you ever see such a sight in your life as three blind mice? Of course you didn’t. As I said earlier, it was vision, not sight that we lacked. We still hope one day to achieve The Promised Land, and I’m devising a new scheme to get there. I’ve seen the dog walking freely there and back, and I’ve decided that we should befriend him I think he can be useful to us. After all, we have a common enemy.
I don’t see how this plan can possibly fail.
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