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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Stories for Younger Children
Itís Much Better To Be Tidy

Itís Much Better To Be Tidy

Michael Mouse lived in a mouse hole with three other mice. The others were neat and clean. They always picked up their clothes and put their dishes in the sink, but not Michael. He was messy. He left his dirty socks on the floor. Sometimes the other mice tripped on them and fell down. Michael never put his dishes in the sink. He left them on the table for the other mice to clean up. "Youíre too messy, Michael," said Angela. "We donít want you to live in this mouse hole any longer. Go and find another place to live."

Michael gathered his things and left, feeling rather sad that theyíd asked him to leave. He didnít think he was that messy. As he walked around looking for another place to live, he spotted a ripe, juicy apple lying in the grass. "That looks delicious!" he said and began to nibble away at the peel. "I donít like the peel." He spit it out on the grass. He ate the apple until there was nothing but the core left. "Iím still hungry, but I donít like apple seeds." Whenever he came to a seed, he spit it out onto the ground. Soon there was a huge pile of black, sticky seeds. After Michael had finished eating the whole apple, he lay down on the grass. His tummy was full and plump.

Molly Mouse came walking by. She was Michael lying there. "What are you doing, Michael? Why arenít you at home in your mouse hole?"

"They wonít let me live there any longer. They said Iím messy. Do you think Iím messy?" he asked.

Molly took one look at the pile of seeds and the peel that Michael had spit on the grass. "Yes, I think youíre very messy. I wouldnít want you to live in my mouse hole either." She ran off.

A few minutes later Martin Mouse ran by. "Michael? What are you doing lying in the grass?"

"I have nowhere else to go. I canít go back to the mouse hole. Theyíre all so clean and neat. They think Iím too messy."

Martin looked at the pile of sticky black seeds and the peel on the grass. "You are messy. I donít want you to live in my mouse hole either," Martin said and ran off.

Michael looked at the seeds and the peel. "Maybe I am messy. Maybe I should try to be neat like the others." He gathered all the seeds up and buried them in a pile under the ground. He picked up the pieces of apple skin and threw them in the bushes, under the leaves. He took the apple core and carried it to the vegetable garden and laid it next to a pumpkin. When heíd finished cleaning up, he lay back down on the grass. His tummy was still full of apple. Maggie Mouse came running by. "Hi, Michael. What are you doing lying on the grass?"

"Iím full of apple. I worked hard cleaning up the mess after Iíd finished. Iím very neat, you know," Michael said.

Maggie looked around. She didnít see any seeds, or peel, or even the core. "Michael, you can come and stay in the mouse hole with me and the others. We like neat mice that clean up after themselves. Or do you want to go back to your own mouse hole?"

Michael sat up. He was happy. "Iíd love to come to your mouse hole. I promise to clean up after every meal." He ran off with Maggie. From then on he never left a mess. Heíd learned itís much better to be neat and tidy than to be sloppy and messy.

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