Phillip the Mouse: The Lion’s Toothache and The General’s Horse

animal apodemus sylvaticus brown button eyes
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Phillip the Mouse and the Lion’s Toothache

One day Phillip the Mouse was out on the Savannah, watching a lion laying under a tree. He had been warned that lions were dangerous and sneaky creatures, so he remained hidden in the tall grasses and didn’t make a peep. However, though he was hidden from sight, he hadn’t accounted for the lion”s excellent sense of smell.

SNIFF went the lion. “Ahhh,” the lion said to himself. “There is a delicious mouse out there. I wonder how I could get him to come closer?” He suddenly had an idea and he called out “OH LITTLE MOUSE! LITTLE MOUSE, PLEASE COME QUICK! I NEED SOME HELP!”

“He needs help?!” said Phillip, and he scurried out into the clearing. “Help, did you say?”

“Oh yes, indeed,” said the Lion, smiling to himself. “You see, I have the most frightful toothache and there’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t have such clever little paws like you do, mine are much too large and clumsy to reach into my mouth. Here, I’ll open wide and you go take a look inside, please.”

The lion opened his mouth as wide as he could, and Phillip helpfully scurried over, standing on the lion’s tongue he peered back along the row of sharp, pointy teeth. Suddenly he realized that he had stepped into a trap and even saw the lion’s mouth starting to close!

“Oh, lion!” Phillip called out, thinking as fast as he could, “You were right! There’s a most frightful tooth infection here!”

The lion abruptly stopped closing his mouth. “Thewe is?” he asked in surprise.

“Ohhhh, absolutely! It looks like it might soon rot your whole mouth away! We need to get it out straight away. Luckily for you I’m just the mouse for the job.”

“Den pull ih out!” the lion cried.

“I will. But first, your mouth is starting to droop. You’ll need to keep it wide open while I work.”

“Pwop it open wiv somefing!”

Phillip scurried out, grabbed a large stick, and wedged it between the lion’s teeth, forcing the mouth to stay open. “Also,” he continued. “I’d better go get some numbing grasses so this doesn’t hurt you too much.”

“Good ideah!”

Phillip leapt down to the ground, rushed back into the tall grasses, and ran all the way home. For the next few hours the lion lay there with his mouth propped open, unable to do anything but stare around confusedly and repeat “Oh, liwwle mouse, liwwle mouse! Whewe awe you?”

 

Phillip the Mouse and the General’s Horse

One day, Phillip learned that the noble General’s Horse was in town, and he wanted to go and meet this legendary hero. He went into the village and walked through the streets until he found him. The General’s Horse was standing at a post with a crowd of admiring creatures around him. He was tall, strong, and a magnificently wild gray color. But as Phillip was very small, he could not see the horse as well as he would like and he decided to go get closer.

Phillip ran and leapt upwards, grabbing the horse’s tail with his paws and scurrying up it onto his back. Phillip started moving forward to the horse’s front when suddenly the General himself swung into the saddle. Before Phillip had a chance to get off the General clicked in his heels and the horse sprang away! Phillip lost his balance, and fell backwards barely managing to grab the passing saddle bag with his tail. He held onto it for dear life, bouncing upside down and watching as the village raced away behind them.

“Excuse me! Excuse me!” he squeaked out, but his voice was too quiet to be noticed. There was nothing to do but wait until the General and his horse had reached their destination.

After a while the three of them arrived at a neighboring city and the General dismounted and left. Now that things weren’t so rocky Phillip was able to climb back up the saddle bag and all the way across to the horse’s ear.

“Excuse me!” he said into it.

“What? Who’s there?” the General’s Horse asked in surprise.

“My name is Phillip, I’m a small mouse from near the village that you just left. I really do need to get back home, though, I was wondering if you could take me back.”

“Oh certainly,” the horse laughed kindly. “The General won’t need me for a while now.”

The horse turned around, but didn’t move. “Oh dear,” he finally said. “This is all very embarrassing, but you see, the General always steered me which way to go and I don’t always pay attention to all the turns we make. Do you know the way back to your village.”

“Oh, well, I’m not sure…” Phillip started to say. Everything he saw looked familiar, but somehow also different. Suddenly he realized the problem, it was all the wrong-way-up from how he had seen it before! Wrapping his tail around the saddlebag he let himself fall upside down again, and now everything was perfectly clear. “Take a left down that dirt road!” he called and the horse whisked away in that direction. They kept on going, Phillip giving each direction until at last they came back to the village. He felt a swell of pride, thinking to himself how impressive he must look to all his friends and family, swinging into town, hanging upside down from the saddle bag of the General’s Horse.

***

As I said in my Monday post, these two stories are from the bedtime stories I make up for my son each night. It all started when we were still trying to establish a regular bedtime routine, one that would allow him to be soothed and relaxed enough to sleep. One of those times I had the idea to make up one of these stories for him. Apparently it made an impression, and the following night he asked for another story and soon it was a tradition. Every day I have that motivation to be a little creative so I can create a new story for him, and I feel that it has been a very good exercise for me.

Now these two examples I shared are pretty generic adventures for Phillip, but as I’ve had to search for continual sources of new ideas, I’ve found it works very well to draw from my son’s own characteristics and day-to-day experiences. That makes the stories more personalized and he often reacts well when the story winks at his real life. On Monday I’d like to talk about that concept a little more: using a specific individual as the intended audience for your stories. After that I’ll share an example or two next Thursday of how I’ve done that in other Phillip the Mouse stories.

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