True Stories About Cats and Dogs by Mrs. Eliza Lee Follen

True Stories About Cats and Dogs by Mrs. Eliza Lee Follen is presented here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy and if you would like to have a copy to print and read offline, right click and save as for a text file of the entire book.

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Mouser Cats’ Story by Amy Prentice


Mouser Cats' Story Cover
Mouser Cats’ Story
by Amy Prentice is from a collection of stories entitled “Aunt Amy’s Animal Stories”. This story comes to you by way of Project Gutenberg complete with illustrations and a frontispiece in colors by J. Watson Davis. The story was originally published in 1906. It is broken up into posts, to make it easier to read, but because of the way blogs work, you actually need to read it by clicking “Previous Post” on the bottom of each page instead of “Next Post”. We are working on making a better way for this to work :) If you would like to read the whole thing yourself offline, you can download the zip file here

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 1

Mrs. Mouser Cat walked up to Aunt Amy with a mouse in her mouth

Mouser Cats’ Story

By Amy Prentice

With Thirty-Five Illustrations and a Frontispiece in Colors

BY J. WATSON DAVIS

MOUSER CAT’S STORY.

On that day last week when it stormed so very hard, your Aunt Amy was
feeling very lonely, because all of her men and women friends in the
house were busy, and it was not reasonable to suppose any of her bird or
animal acquaintances would be out. As she sat by the window, watching
the little streams of water as they ran down the glass, she said to
herself that this was one of the days when she could not hope to be
entertained by story-telling.

Mrs. Mouser Cat

“You don’t seem to care whether Mrs. Man makes the pickles properly, or
not,” a voice from the doorway said, and, looking around in surprise,
your Aunt Amy saw Mrs. Mouser Cat, an animal with whom she was very well
acquainted, but who had never before ventured to speak with her.

Considerably astonished, because it had not come into her mind that Mrs.
Mouser might prove to be as entertaining as any of the other animals she
had talked with, your Aunt Amy asked:

“What about the pickles, Mrs. Mouser?”

“Why, Mrs. Man is putting them up; didn’t you know it?” the cat replied,
and your Aunt Amy said with a sigh:

“Oh, yes indeed, Mrs. Mouser, I know that, and you also know it is not
possible for me to do any work around the house, owing to my illness.
That is why I am idle on this day when the storm makes it seem very,
very lonely.

“You can sit out of doors all the afternoon with a foolish old duck, or
talk by the hour with Mr. Turtle, who hasn’t got sense enough to go in
when it rains, and yet you never invited me for an afternoon’s
story-telling,” and Mrs. Mouser arched her back as if she was angry.

“Do you know any stories?” your Aunt Amy asked, surprised again, and
Mrs. Mouser replied quickly:

“It would be funny if I didn’t. I’ve lived on this farm more than six
years, and have known pretty much all that has happened around here in
that time.”

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WHY CATS CATCH MICE.

“I wish you could think of a story to tell me now,” your Aunt Amy said.
“I am just in the mood for hearing one.”

“It is the hardest thing in the world to stand up and begin telling a
story without anything to start one going,” Mrs. Mouser said
thoughtfully, as she brushed her whiskers with her paw. “After you once
get into it, of course, they come easy enough. How would it do if I
should explain why it is that cats catch mice?”

“Was there ever a time when they didn’t catch mice?” your Aunt Amy
asked, surprised for the third time.

Mrs. Pussy Cat Visits her Cousin

“Oh, yes indeed,” Mrs. Mouser said in a matter-of-fact tone. “All cats
used to be good friends with the mice, once upon a time, and it happened
that because an old Mrs. Pussy, who lived in the city, didn’t have
anything in the house to eat, the cats took up catching mice. You see it
was in this way: A cat that had always lived in the country, made up her
mind one day to go and see her cousin in the city, so she put on her
bonnet and shawl, wrapped some fried fish in a paper, and started.

“When she got there her cousin saw the fish, and it made her ashamed
because she hadn’t anything in the house to offer the visitor, so she
asked, turning up her nose considerably:

“Do you cats in the country eat fish?’ and Mrs. Pussy replied:

“Why, yes, of course we do; don’t you?”

“Certainly not; it is thought to be a sign of ill-breeding to eat such
vulgar food,’ and then remembering that she could not offer her cousin
the least little thing, she said, never stopping to think very much
about it. We eat mice here. They are delicious; you would be surprised
to know what a delicate flavor they have.”

That surprised the country cousin, and nothing would do but that she
must go right out hunting for mice. Of course some one had to go with
her, and then it was that the city cat found she hadn’t made any such a
very great mistake after all, for mice or rats, take them any way you
please, cooked or raw, are very nice indeed.

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 3

THE KITTY WHICH THE SNOW BROUGHT.

“Do you think that is a true story?” your Aunt Amy asked, and Mrs.
Mouser replied:

“I can’t really say; but I think it is as true as that the snow brought
a white cat to Dolly Man.” Your Aunt Amy knew Miss Dolly’s kitten very
well; but she had never heard any such thing as Mrs. Mouser intimated,
therefore, as a matter of course, she was curious regarding the affair,
and asked that it be explained to her.

“I was in the house when this happened, so there is no mistake about the
story part of it,” Mrs. Mouser began. “It was snowing one day, and
Dolly, standing by the window, said to her mother that she wished the
snow-flakes would turn into a pretty, little, white kitten, so she could
have something to play with. She hadn’t hardly more than spoken, when
they heard a cat calling from out of doors, and Dolly ran into the
hallway, believing the snow-flakes had really turned into a pet for her.
Now it is kind of odd, but true just the same, that when she opened the
door there stood a white kitten, the same one we call Kitty Snow.

“She was the forlornest little stray kitten you could ever imagine, and
as white then as she is now, from her nose to the tip of her tail, but
so nearly frozen when Dolly took her in, that they had to wrap her in a
blanket, and keep her near the fire two or three hours before she thawed
out.”

“I believe that you and Kitty Snow are not very good friends,” your Aunt
Amy said.

Dolly and Kitty Snow

“Well, I can’t say that we are,” Mrs. Mouser replied thoughtfully. “That
white cat has been petted so much that she really isn’t of any very
great service about the house. I don’t believe she has caught a mouse in
six months, and yet I heard her tell Mr. Towser Dog no longer ago than
yesterday, that she was of more value around this farm than I. Just
think of it! And it has been proven that I have a good deal more sense
than Mr. Fox, cunning as he thinks he is.”

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 4

WHEN MR. FOX WAS FOOLISH.

As a matter of course, your Aunt Amy asked her what she meant, and Mrs.
Mouser sat down at one side of the fireplace, as if making ready for an
afternoon of story-telling.

Mrs. Mouser Flatters Mr. Fox

“It was like this;” she said. “I was down in the meadow looking for
field mice one day, and met Mr. Fox. You know some animals think that he
and I are relations; but whether we are or not, we have always been good
friends. So he sat down for a chat, and we talked of first this thing
and then that, until finally I said, just to make myself agreeable:

“‘Do you know, Mr. Fox, I think you are very smart.’

“Well now, would you believe it, that puffed him way up with pride, and
he said, grinning in a way that was enough to make any cat laugh:

“‘Indeed I am, Mrs. Mouser. There isn’t an animal around here who can
hold a candle to me for smartness.’

“‘What about the dogs?’ I asked, thinking to joke him a little, and he
turned up his nose as he said:

“‘I don’t give a snap of my claws for all the dogs there are around this
place! Even if four or five of them should come right up here this
minute, it wouldn’t bother me any. You may not think it; but Mr. Towser
is actually afraid of me.

“Well now, do you know that made me laugh again, because in the first
place I knew it wasn’t true; but what was the use of saying anything of
the kind to him? He was swelled way out with pride, so I changed the
conversation, and began talking about mice, when suddenly there was a
terrible commotion down the lane, and up came Mr. Towser, Miss Spaniel
and four or five other dogs, barking and yelping.

“Oh me, oh my, how frightened I was! Up a tree I scurried as fast as my
legs would carry me, and not until I was safe on the highest limb did I
look around to see Mr. Fox, who didn’t care the snap of his claws for
dogs; but, bless you, he was going toward the meadow with his tail
hanging straight out behind him, while the dogs were gaining on him at
every jump. Mr. Towser told me afterward that they made Mr. Fox just
about as sick as Mrs. Toad made the bugs.”

“What was it Mrs. Toad did?” your Aunt Amy asked, and Mrs. Mouser
replied with a grin:

“Perhaps you never heard that Mr. Crow is a great hand at making
poetry?”

Mr. Crow

“I have indeed,” your Aunt Amy replied, and it was only with difficulty
she prevented herself from laughing aloud. “I have heard of his poetry
from every bird and animal around this farm.”

Mr. Fox forgets how bold he was as the dogs chase him through the field

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 5

A WET-WEATHER PARTY.

“Then perhaps you don’t care to hear any more?” Mrs. Mouser said
inquiringly.

“Indeed I do,” your Aunt Amy replied, “if it is anything new, and I
surely have never heard of a wet-weather party.”

Mr. and Miss Cricket

Mrs. Mouser stroked her whiskers a moment, and then began to repeat the
following:

  A little Black Ant was journeying home
    From a marketing visit to town,
  When down came the ram, pitter-patter, so fast,
    It threatened to spoil her best gown.

  She wandered about till she quite lost her way,
    Till at last a big Toadstool she found,
  ”Ah, here I can rest!” said the little Black Ant,
    And she wearily sank to the ground.

  And as she sat resting, a light she espied,
    And a Glow-worm came twinkling by.
  ”Dear me!” exclaimed he, with a gasp and a sob,
    ”I don’t think I’ll ever be dry!”

  ”Come in, sir, come in,” said the little Black Ant,
    ”Here is plenty of room, sir, for two.
  Pray bring in your light, sir, and sit down by me,
    Or else you’ll be surely wet through.”

Mr. Stag-Beetle and the Newspaper Reporter

  The Glow-worm agreed, and soon brought in his light,
    When a cricket appeared on the scene
  With her fiddle and bow (she’s a minstrel, you know)
    –To a concert in town she had been.

  ”Come in, ma’am, come in!” said the little Black Ant,
    ”Here is shelter and light for us all!
  And if you could play us a nice little tune,
    We might fancy we were at a ball.”

Mr. Beetle Arrives

  ”Hear, hear!” said the voice of the Stag-Beetle bold,
    Who just then was passing that way;
  ”And if there is dancing, I hope, dear Miss Ant,
    That you will allow me to stay!”

  ”Come in, sir, come in!” said the little Black Ant,
    ”The more, sir, the merrier we!
  And here, I declare, is my friend Mrs. Snail,
    As busy as ever, I see!”

  ”Come in, Mrs. Snail,” said the little Black Ant,
    ”Come join our small party to-night!
  Here’s the Beetle and Cricket all quite snug and dry,
    And the Glow-worm to give us some light!”

  So the Snail came and joined them, still knitting away,
    And the Cricket her fiddle got out;
  And then–well, you just should have seen how they
      danced,
    How they jumped and all capered about!

Mrs. Toad Breaks up the Party

  The Little Black Ant did a skirt-dance quite well;
    The Beetle a gay Highland fling;
  And as for the Glow-worm, he just jigged about,
    And danced really nothing at all.

  But all of a sudden a croaking was heard,
    And who should appear but a Toad,
  Who hoarsely demanded their business, and why
    They were all gathered in her abode?

  Then what a commotion! The little Black Ant
    Went from one fainting fit to another;
  The Snail simply shut herself up in her house,
    And thought she’d escape all the bother!

  The Beetle and Glow-worm soon took themselves off,
    And the Cricket and Ant with them too,
  And once more these poor creatures were out in the rain,
    And didn’t know what they should do.

  But they presently came to the trunk of a tree,
    And there they all stayed for the night;
  But they never forgot that old, cross Mrs. Toad,
    Who gave them so dreadful a fright!”

“Mrs. Toad certainly succeeded in raising quite a disturbance,” your
Aunt Amy said, feeling it necessary to make some comment, and Mrs.
Mouser replied thoughtfully:

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 6

MR. THOMAS CAT’S NARROW ESCAPE.

“Yes, almost as much as Mr. Man did when he tried to drown Mr. Thomas
Cat the other day. It seems that Mr. Thomas had been out in the stable
stealing the food which was left for Mr. Towser, and one of the maids,
seeing it, told Mr. Man, so then and there it was decided that Mr.
Thomas must be drowned. Mr. Man called him up, as if he was the best
friend he ever had, and when Mr. Thomas got near enough, he caught him
by the tail, starting off at once for the stream.

Dragging Mr. Thomas to his Fate

“‘What are you going to do with me?’ Mr. Thomas cried, and Mr. Man said:

“‘You wait and see. I’ll teach you to steal Mr. Towser’s food! You are
no good, that’s what’s the trouble with you–you are no good!’

“So he took a rope out of his pocket and tied it around Mr. Thomas’
neck, after they got near the water. Then bent down over the bank to get
a big rock, when his foot slipped, and in he went splashing and howling
until you might have heard him on the next farm, for he couldn’t swim a
stroke, and the water was deep where he went in.

“Of course Mr. Thomas wasn’t able to do anything to help him, so off he
started for the house the best he knew how, with the rope dragging on
behind, and when he got there, Mrs. Man couldn’t help seeing him.
Knowing what her husband had counted on doing she mistrusted that
something was wrong, so down she ran to the stream, getting there just
in time to pull Mr. Man out of the water before he drew his last breath.

“‘How did you know where I was?’ Mr. Man asked after the water had run
out of his mouth.

“‘Why the cat just the same as told me, when he came back with a rope
around his neck.’

“‘Well, he was some good after all,’ Mr. Man said.’ I had begun to think
all cats were useless, but it seems Mr. Crow was right in that poetry of
his, after all.’

“Then Mr. Man went up to the house, and since then Mr. Thomas has been
allowed to stay round the farm, just as he pleases.”

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 7

MR. CROW’S FANCY.

“What did he mean by saying Mr. Crow was right?”

“Oh, that was on account of a piece of poetry he wrote about me. There
isn’t much of it, and perhaps you had just as soon I would repeat it.”

Then, without waiting for permission, Mrs. Mouser recited the following:

  Some people love the gay giraffe
  Because his antics make them laugh
    (I’ve never found him witty),
  Others prefer the cockatoo–
  He does things I should hate to do;
    He’s vulgar–more’s the pity!

  An ostrich draws admiring throngs
  Whenever he sings his comic songs,
    And, really, it’s no wonder!
  The dormouse has been highly rated
  (and justly) for his celebrated
    Mimicking of thunder.

  I know some friends who’d journey miles
  To see a bat’s face wreathed in smiles,
    They say it’s grandly funny!
  To see a buzzard drink port wine
  Another eager friend of mine
    Would pay no end of money.

  But that which most appeals to me–
  I know my taste may curious be–
    Is–not a mouse in mittens.
  It is to see a homely cat,
  Dressed up in an old battered hat,
  A-walking with her kittens!

Mrs. Tabby and Her Kittens

“One would think from the verses, that you and Mr. Crow were very good
friends,” your Aunt Amy suggested, and Mrs. Mouser said with a purr of
content:

“We have always got along very well together, and I hope we always
shall, for really, say what you please about that old bird, it wouldn’t
be pleasant to have him making sport of you in his verses. We are
neither of us as much in love with ourselves as were the peacock and the
crane, therefore I don’t fancy we shall ever have any very serious
trouble.”

Mouser Cats’ Story Page 8

A QUESTION OF BEAUTY.

“What about the peacock and the crane?” your Aunt Amy asked, not
disposed to let slip any opportunity of hearing a story.

“Oh, that’s something very, very old–why, my grandmother used to tell
about it. You know the crane thinks he has got a pretty tail, and I’m
not saying anything against it, for it is handsome; but this crane my
grandmother used to tell about, had the idea that he was the finest
looking bird who ever came out of an egg. He went around making a good
deal of such talk as that, and one day he met with a peacock for the
first time. Strangely enough, he had never heard about such a bird, so
he strutted back and forth as usual, and after they had talked a while
of the weather, and all that sort of thing, Mr. Crane said:

As Mr. Peacock spread his tail, Mr. Crane flew off in disgust

“‘People tell me I am one of the handsomest birds that ever lived.
There’s nothing in this world that quite comes up to my tail feathers,
and that much I can say without risk of being thought vain.’

“‘You have some very pretty feathers,’ Mr. Peacock said, keeping his own
tail folded up so it couldn’t be seen very well. ‘But do you really
think they are more beautiful than can be found on any other bird?’

“‘I don’t think so, I know it,’ Mr. Crane said, spreading the
long plumes of his tail out so they would show to the best advantage,
and just then Mr. Peacock unfolded his tail to its full size.

“If you ever saw an astonished bird, it was Mr. Crane. He looked at the
beautiful feathers spread out like a great, big fan, and then started to
fly away.

“‘Where are you going?’ Mr. Peacock asked.

“And Mr. Crane answered, while he was in the air:

“‘Off somewhere to hide until I have got sense enough to hold my tongue
when I don’t know what I’m talking about.’

“Since that time I have never heard any of the cranes doing very much
bragging, and it is a pity that there are yet others around this place
who ought to get just such a lesson, for many of the animals here need
it sadly.”

“You among the rest?” your Aunt Amy asked laughingly, and Mrs. Mouser
Cat replied:

“Thank goodness, I am not proud, and perhaps it is because I haven’t
very much to take pride in. But I have lived long enough in this world
to know that one of us is of just about as much importance as another,
and the animal or the bird who thinks this world couldn’t move very well
without him, is making a big mistake. There is nobody whose place cannot
be filled when it becomes necessary; there would even be somebody to run
this farm as well as Mr. Man does, if he should die to-morrow.”