The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse Part 1

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The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse is a Webnovel created by Thornton W. Burgess.
This lightnovel is currently completed.

The Adventures of Danny Meadow Mouse.

by Thornton W. Burgess.

I

Danny Meadow Mouse Is Worried

Danny Meadow Mouse sat on his doorstep with his chin in his hands, and it was very plain to see that Danny had something on his mind. He had only a nod for Jimmy Skunk, and even Peter Rabbit could get no more than a grumpy “Good morning.” It wasn’t that he had been caught napping the day before by Reddy Fox and nearly made an end of. No, it wasn’t that. Danny had learned his lesson, and Reddy would never catch him again. It wasn’t that he was all alone with no one to play with. Danny was rather glad that he was alone. The fact is, Danny Meadow Mouse was worried.

Now worry is one of the worst things in the world, and it didn’t seem as if there was anything that Danny Meadow Mouse need worry about. But you know it is the easiest thing in the world to find something to worry over and make yourself uncomfortable about.

And when you make yourself uncomfortable, you are almost sure to make everyone around you equally uncomfortable. It was so with Danny Meadow Mouse. Striped Chipmunk had twice called him “Cross Patch” that morning, and Johnny Chuck, who had fought Reddy Fox for him the day before, had called him “Grumpy.” And what do you think was the matter with Danny Meadow Mouse? Why, he was worrying because his tail was short. Yes, Sir, that is all that ailed Danny Meadow Mouse that bright morning.

You know, some people let their looks make them miserable. They worry because they are homely or freckled, or short or tall, or thin or stout, all of which is very foolish. And Danny Meadow Mouse was just as foolish in worrying because his tail was short.

It is short! It certainly is all of that! Danny never had realized how short until he chanced to meet his cousin Whitefoot, who lives in the Green Forest. He was very elegantly dressed, but the most imposing thing about him was his long, slim, beautiful tail. Danny had at once become conscious of his own stubby little tail, and he had hardly had pride enough to hold his head up as became an honest Meadow Mouse. Ever since, he had been thinking and thinking, and wondering how his family came to have such short tails. Then he grew envious and began to wish and wish and wish that he could have a long tail like his cousin Whitefoot.

He was so busy wishing that he had a long tail that he quite forgot to take care of the tail he did have, and he pretty nearly lost it and his life with it. Old Whitetail the Marsh Hawk spied Danny sitting there moping on his doorstep, and came sailing over the tops of the meadow gra.s.ses so softly that he all but caught Danny. If it hadn’t been for one of the Merry Little Breezes, Danny would have been caught. And all because he was envious. It’s a bad, bad habit.

[Ill.u.s.tration]

II

Danny Meadow Mouse and His Short Tail

All Danny Meadow Mouse could think about was his short tail. He was so ashamed of it that whenever anyone pa.s.sed, he crawled out of sight so that they should not see how short his tail was.

Instead of playing in the sunshine as he used to do, he sat and sulked. Pretty soon his friends began to pa.s.s without stopping.

Finally one day old Mr. Toad sat down in front of Danny and began to ask questions.

“What’s the matter?” asked old Mr. Toad.

“Nothing,” replied Danny Meadow Mouse.

“I don’t suppose there really is anything the matter, but what do you think is the matter?” said old Mr. Toad.

Danny fidgeted, and old Mr. Toad looked up at jolly, round, red Mr. Sun and winked. “Sun is just as bright as ever, isn’t it?” he inquired.

“Yes,” said Danny.

“Got plenty to eat and drink, haven’t you?” continued Mr. Toad.

[Ill.u.s.tration: _”Got plenty to eat and drink, haven’t you?”

continued Mr. Toad_]

“Yes,” said Danny.

“Seems to me that that is a pretty good-looking suit of clothes you’re wearing,” said Mr. Toad, eyeing Danny critically. “Sunny weather, plenty to eat and drink, and good clothes–must be you don’t know when you’re well off, Danny Meadow Mouse.”

Danny hung his head. Finally he looked up and caught a kindly twinkle in old Mr. Toad’s eyes. “Mr. Toad, how can I get a long tail like my cousin Whitefoot of the Green Forest?” he asked.

“So that’s what’s the matter! Ha! ha! ha! Danny Meadow Mouse, I’m ashamed of you! I certainly am ashamed of you!” said Mr. Toad.

“What good would a long tail do you? Tell me that.”

For a minute Danny didn’t know just what to say. “I–I–I’d look so much better if I had a long tail,” he ventured.

Old Mr. Toad just laughed. “You never saw a Meadow Mouse with a long tail, did you? Of course not. What a sight it would be! Why, everybody on the Green Meadows would laugh themselves sick at the sight! You see, you need to be slim and trim and handsome to carry a long tail well. And then what a nuisance it would be! You would always have to be thinking of your tail and taking care to keep it out of harm’s way. Look at me. I’m homely. Some folks call me ugly to look at. But no one tries to catch me as Farmer Brown’s boy does Billy Mink because of his fine coat; and no one wants to put me in a cage because of a fine voice. I am satisfied to be just as I am, and if you’ll take my advice, Danny Meadow Mouse, you’ll be satisfied to be just as you are.”

“Perhaps you are right,” said Danny Meadow Mouse after a little.

“I’ll try.”

III

Danny Meadow Mouse Plays Hide-and-Seek

Life is always a game of hide-and-seek to Danny Meadow Mouse. You see, he is such a fat little fellow that there are a great many other furry-coated people, and almost as many who wear feathers, who would gobble Danny up for breakfast or for dinner if they could. Some of them pretend to be his friends, but Danny always keeps his eyes open when they are around and always begins to play hide-and-seek. Peter Rabbit and Jimmy Skunk and Striped Chipmunk and Happy Jack Squirrel are all friends whom he can trust, but he always has a bright twinkling eye open for Reddy Fox and Billy Mink and Shadow the Weasel and old Whitetail the Marsh Hawk, and several more, especially Hooty the Owl at night.

Now Danny Meadow Mouse is a stouthearted little fellow, and when rough Brother North Wind came shouting across the Green Meadows, tearing to pieces the snow clouds and shaking out the snowflakes until they covered the Green Meadows deep, deep, deep, Danny just snuggled down in his warm coat in his snug little house of gra.s.s and waited. Danny liked the snow. Yes, Sir, Danny Meadow Mouse liked the snow. He just loved to dig in it and make tunnels.

Through those tunnels in every direction he could go where he pleased and when he pleased without being seen by anybody. It was great fun!

Every little way he made a little round doorway up beside a stiff stalk of gra.s.s. Out of this he could peep at the white world, and he could get the fresh, cold air. Sometimes, when he was quite sure that no one was around, he would scamper across on top of the snow from one doorway to another, and when he did this, he made the prettiest little footprints.

Now Reddy Fox knew all about those doorways and who made them.

Reddy was having hard work to get enough to eat this cold weather, and he was hungry most of the time. One morning, as he came tiptoeing softly over the meadows, what should he see just ahead of him but the head of Danny Meadow Mouse pop out of one of those little round doorways! Reddy’s mouth watered, and he stole forward more softly than ever. When he got within jumping distance, he drew his stout hind legs under him and made ready to spring. Presto! Danny Meadow Mouse had disappeared! Reddy Fox jumped just the same and began to dig as fast as he could make his paws go. He could smell Danny Meadow Mouse and that made him almost frantic.

All the time Danny Meadow Mouse was scurrying along one of his little tunnels, and when finally Reddy Fox stopped digging because he was quite out of breath, Danny popped his head out of another little doorway and laughed at Reddy. Of course Reddy saw him, and of course Reddy tried to catch him there, and dug frantically just as before. And of course Danny Meadow Mouse wasn’t there.

[Ill.u.s.tration: _Danny popped his head out of another little doorway and laughed at Reddy_]

After a while Reddy Fox grew tired of this kind of a game and tried another plan. The next time he saw Danny Meadow Mouse stick his head out, Reddy pretended not to see him. He stretched himself out on the ground and made believe that he was very tired and sleepy. He closed his eyes. Then he opened them just the tiniest bit, so that he could see Danny Meadow Mouse and yet seem to be asleep. Danny watched him for a long time. Then he chuckled to himself and dropped out of sight.

No sooner was he gone than Reddy Fox stole over close to the little doorway and waited. “He’ll surely stick his head out again to see if I’m asleep, and then I’ll have him,” said Reddy to himself. So he waited and waited and waited. By and by he turned his head. There was Danny Meadow Mouse at another little doorway, laughing at him!

IV

Old Granny Fox Tries for Danny Meadow Mouse

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