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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
The Mouse and the Girl

Adrianne rolled her ball across the floor. It bounced off the wall and rolled back to her. Since she had nobody to play ball with, she played by herself all day long. Adrianne's father worked at a shop. He sold food, mouse traps and tools. Sometimes he kept crates at home, especially if there was no room in the back of the shop.

One afternoon Adrianne went into the garage, where her father kept the crates. She threw her ball at them and it bounced off and rolled back to her. “This is fun! The crates are stacked him so the ball bounces higher.” Adrianne tried to hit the bottom crate and then the one above it.  She threw the ball so hard that it went behind the crates and she couldn't find it.

She looked at the crates, trying to decide if she could move them or not. “That one has Swiss Cheese in it. The one on top of it says Mouse Traps. This one has Cheddar Cheese and the top one has catnip. I'll bet a mouse would love to get into these boxes.”

Just then she heard a squeaky voice. “I'm a mouse and I love Swiss cheese. I love cheddar cheese too.”

“Who said that?” Adrianne looked behind the boxes. Nobody was there. When she lifted her head she saw a plump brown mouse sitting on top of the box of catnip. “You found my ball!” In its tiny paws it held the blue ball.

“You need to be more careful where you are throwing this. I was taking a nice nap when the ball hit me.” The mouse tossed the ball at Adrianne.

“I'm sorry. I'll tell you what. If you will play ball with me, I'll open the box of Swiss cheese and give you some.” Adrianne wanted someone to play with.

“You would? I'll play ball with you, but first the cheese.” The mouse licked his lips. “By the way, my name's Marmaduke. I live here in the garage.”

“Hi, Marmaduke. Let me open the crate.” Adrianne found a crowbar and pried open the lid to the Swiss cheese.

“That smells heavenly,” the mouse said.

Adrianne gave him a big chunk. He gobbled it down.

“I want more,” Marmaduke said.

Adrianne gave him another piece and another and before she knew it, the entire crate of Swiss cheese was gone. “I've given you the cheese. Now it's time for you to play ball with me.”

The mouse groaned. “I can't. I ate too much and now I'm full.”

Adrianne looked down at the mouse. She grabbed it by the tail. “If you don't play ball with me, I'm going to open this crate of catnip and every cat in the neighborhood will come right here, to this garage and they can fight over who is going to eat you.”

The mouse gasped. “You would do such a cruel thing?”

Adrianne nodded.

Marmaduke sighed. “All right.” He picked up the ball and rolled it across the floor to Adrianne. She rolled it back. He rolled it back to her. This went on for hours. Finally Marmaduke was so tired that he closed his eyes and fell sound asleep.

Adrianne's father came home from work to pick up the crates. He found crumbs of Swiss cheese all over the floor and the crate empty. He went into the house and found Adrianne sitting at the table reading a book. “Adrianne, I think we might have a mouse and I think it ate all my Swiss cheese.”

She smiled, her grin hidden behind her hand. “A mouse? Nonsense, Dad.”

He stood, scratching his chin. “I wonder how it opened the crate though. You wouldn't know anything about this, would you, Adrianne.”

“Oh no, Dad. I don't know a thing.” Adrianne thought about Marmaduke and how glad she was to have someone to play ball with. “I'm sure it won't happen again.”

From then on Adrianne made sure that she only gave him crumbs and food from inside the house. Both were happy from then on.

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