Town Mouse and Country Mouse

A Traditional Tale retold

There was once a town mouse and a country mouse who were great friends. Every year Town Mouse would visit Country Mouse on the farm.
“It is very pretty here,” Town Mouse said. “But what is that terrible smell?”

Country Mouse twitched her little nose and sniffed. “That’s just the smell of the farm,” she said. “You get used to it.”
Town Mouse didn’t think he would ever get used to a smell that pungent.
When Country Mouse invited Town Mouse into her home, he was surprised at how small it was. “Where’s all the furnishings?” he asked. There were no paintings, no lamps, no plush pillows. Just a couple of chairs, a table and a fire.
Country Mouse looked around. “We have everything we need.”
Town Mouse flicked his tail. “Well yes,” he said. “You have what you need but what about what you like? The house would look so much better with a nice mirror over the mantlepiece, or a pair of velvet curtains hanging in the window.”
Country Mouse thought that all sounded very fussy, she liked her house how it was.
Town Mouse was very excited about dinner. He was sure with all the fresh produce from the farm and the lovely berry trees growing nearby, that they would have a feast. But Country Mouse served him up a small bowl of berries, a few nuts, a chunk of bread and a very plain looking cheese.
“Is this all there is?” Town Mouse whinged.
“No.” Country Mouse said.
Town Mouse sighed with relief.
“There’s a little more bread you can have.”
Town Mouse ate the bread. But it would have been a lot nicer slathered in rich jams or served with a selection of cheeses. After dinner, Country Mouse yawned. “Time for bed,” she said.
Town Mouse was disappointed. “Is there no singing? No party to go to?”
Country Mouse chuckled. “There’ll be singing in the morning, when the birds wake.”
Town Mouse went to bed thoroughly unimpressed. It seemed to him that Country Mouse lived a very poor life. “I’ll invite her to town,” he decided. “Give her a treat.”
Country Mouse had never been to town before. It was very busy and extremely noisy.
“Don’t worry about the bustle,” Town Mouse said. “You get used to it.”
Country Mouse didn’t think she would ever get used to all the horns and sirens blaring, not to mention everyone rushing and pushing this way and that.
Town Mouse took Country Mouse to his house. It was very grand. With big fireplaces and many, many bedrooms filled with lots of beautiful things that Country Mouse didn’t want to touch, in case she made them dirty. Suddenly, there was a loud MIAOWWWW!
“Quick,” Town Mouse called. “Hide!” He disappeared under the sofa. Country Mouse jumped into a nearby pot and peeped through a crack. A huge cat prowled past the windows, licking its lips and peering inside. Country Mouse had never been so scared in her life.
It felt like forever before the cat moved on and Town Mouse popped out from under the sofa. “Phew,” he laughed. “That was a close one.”
“Does that happen a lot?” Country Mouse squeaked, poking her whiskers out of the pot.
“Oh yes,” Town Mouse replied. “All the time.”
Country Mouse found it very hard to relax after that. All the way through dinner she was worried another cat would come calling. And dinner went on a long time. There was course after course after course. There was so much food Country Mouse thought she was going to be sick and still more food came. Eventually, Country Mouse had enough, “I’m sorry, but I can’t eat any more.”
Town Mouse grinned. “Have you ever seen such a feast?”
Country Mouse had not. “You don’t eat like this every night, do you?”
Town Mouse laughed. “Yes! Isn’t it wonderful!”
That explained Town Mouse’s large tummy, thought Country Mouse. The food had been delicious. But it was late and she was very tired. Unfortunately, Town Mouse wasn’t ready for bed. “Let’s go out,” he said.
Country Mouse didn’t want to disappoint her friend. So she went with Town Mouse to a club where there was music and dancing and lots and lots of mice. It was fun, but exhausting. Country Mouse was glad when they finally left and she could curl up in bed.
BEEEEPP! WOO-HOO! NEE-NAW! NEE-NAW!
Poor Country Mouse didn’t get a wink of sleep. “Don’t these town mice ever stop?” she grumbled. The sun came up and it was time to get up. Town Mouse had a full day planned. They went to a museum, then an art gallery, then to see a show and then to look around a palace, before gorging on another huge dinner and going dancing again.
Country Mouse crawled into bed, exhausted.
BEEEEPP! WOO-HOO! NEE-NAW! NEE-NAW!
She still got no sleep. When the sun came up, Country Mouse was at the door with her bag. “I’m sorry,” she said, “I cannot stay here a moment longer.”
Town Mouse was crestfallen. “But I haven’t shown you half my favourite things to do yet. I have tickets for a concert!”
Country Mouse shook her head, “I’m sorry. I don’t like it here. It’s noisy, scary and exhausting,” she said. “I don’t know how you can bear it.”
Town Mouse frowned. “Well it’s better than the country. The country is smelly, uncomfortable and really, really dull. I don’t know how you can you bear that!”
Country Mouse left in a huff. Town Mouse slammed the door behind her. Neither of them wanted to speak to the other.
“Town Mouse is mad,” Country Mouse told her friends on the farm. “Life in the town is awful.”
“Country Mouse is crazy,” Town Mouse told his friends at the club. “Life in the country is tedious.”
Time passed and Town Mouse and Country Mouse forgot they were angry with each other. After a while, Town Mouse felt tired of town. “It would be nice to have a couple of days in the country with my old pal,” he thought.
Country Mouse felt a bit restless. “A couple of days in town, with my old chum, is just what I need,” he thought.
So Town Mouse went to stay in the country and had a lovely, relaxing time. “It’s very restful here,” he said. “I can see why you like it.”
And Country Mouse went to stay in the town and had a wild, fun time. “It’s a lot of fun here,” she said. “I can see why you like it.”
Although neither Town Mouse nor Country Mouse wanted to change the way they lived, they both looked forward to spending time in each other’s worlds; sometimes a little bit of something different makes life so much sweeter.

The End

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