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.”
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.
Phillip the Mouse and His Very Special Talent
One morning, Phillip’s father made his special Cinnamon & Cheese Morning Delight for their family breakfast.
“Mmmm!” Phillip’s mother said while chewing her food. “Your cooking is always so delicious, dear!”
Phillip’s father smiled and said “Well of course, that’s my special talent!”
That got Phillip’s mind working. Did he have a special talent, too? He thought he must, but as he sat there, trying to think what it might be, nothing came to mind.
After breakfast he decided he would go out and try to find what it could be, and as long as he was going out, he thought he may as well walk down the road towards the train tracks. He loved going to the train tracks. Along the way he thought about some of the talents his friends had. Marcus the hedgehog could juggle, that was a pretty neat talent. Suzie the duck could memorize long poems and sing beautifully, those were definitely talents as well. Robbie the Sheepdog was very, very strong, and that was a talent, too.
Phillip reached the hill that looked over the trains passing down below, and he sat on a rock to watch them crawling by. He thought about if there were any talents he could do, but all he could come up with were just the ordinary sorts of things. He had learned how to tie knots last summer, but so had all his friends. He could drink from an open cup without spilling now, but all the adults had been doing that for years already.
Phillip was interrupted from his thoughts by the sound of the 507 Freight Train churning down below. The 507 was the biggest and heaviest train that came on these tracks, racing by like a great, red dragon. Phillip loved how the ground churned beneath him as it rolled past. It was always the last train of the day, too, so Phillip stood up and made his way back home.
On his way he passed by the hole of Jane, the rabbit, who was always the smartest one in class. Definitely a talent. Next came the home of Benny, the Tortoise. Everyone always said how patient Benny was. Phillip supposed that was a special kind of talent, too.
“I’m home,” he called out as he walked back inside.
“Were you watching the trains again?” his mother asked and Phillip nodded. “I’m glad,” she smiled. “I always think it’s so special how you love them.”
Just then it Phillip felt a rush of excitement. Could it be that loving trains so much was a talent of his?
He asked his mother and she agreed. She even said “being able to see the beauty in things is one of the best talents of all!”
That night, as Phillip lay in bed, he felt very special indeed. Marcus might juggle, Suzie might sing, Robbie might be strong. Jane might be smart, Benny might be patient. But he knew that not a one of them loved trains as well as he could!
Phillip the Mouse and the Camping Trip
One morning, after Phillip awoke, his parents came into his room with big smiles and told him that they were going camping today! It sounded very exciting…but Phillip wasn’t exactly sure what camping even was.
“It’s a time when the humans leave their homes to come live where we do, so meanwhile we go and live in their house for the weekend,” his father explained.
As soon as they had had their breakfast and got ready for the day, they whisked off to the humans’ big, fancy home. Phillip had never even peeped inside the house before, and he was very excited to see what might be in there. They waited in the bushes while the humans loaded up their car and drove away, then Phillip’s mother and father led him up the outside walls, inside a small hole in the rafters, across the attic to a chewed-through air vent, and from that into the home itself.
There were all sorts of fantastic things for them to do. They pushed something called a “tap” to get water flowing in a large, white thing called a “tub.” Then they could slide down the smooth porcelain into a pool of water and swim all around. There were some other bristly things in the room called “toothbrushes” and Phillip’s parents showed him how to use them to dry off afterwards.
Next came a great, poofy, bouncy thing called a “mattress” that they jumped on for hours and hours. There was a “ceiling fan” they could turn on as well, and they had dangled some “suspenders” from it so they could hold their ends and swing around very quickly. Then they would let go and try to zoom across the room to land in some nice, soft pillows. Phillip missed one time and knocked over a “vase” that shattered everywhere but his parents said not to worry about that.
Best of all, though, was the place they called the “kitchen.” Here there were all sorts of foods Phillip liked. Fruits and vegetables, plenty of cheese, and even new things like “cereal” and “pie.” It was all quite excellent.
After two days of their vacation, Phillip’s parents said the humans would be back soon, so there was one last thing they had to do. They went on top of the end-of-hall door, lowered a string around its handle, and opened it to let out the family cat. Phillip’s parents explained that this way the humans would just blame Mr Tiggles for the big mess. Of course, having now let the cat out, Phillip and his family couldn’t stay around any longer, so they whisked out a window and hurried back to their home, whooping and hollering the whole way.
Phillip the Mouse and Being too Small
One day Phillip found himself with his dad at the home of the Dotty family. The Dottys were his neighbors three-mouseholes-down, and he and his dad were helping Mr. Dotty to dig a new guest chamber. While they were working, Mr. Dotty’s son Felix came in.
“Dad!” he said. “The fair just opened in town this morning! Can I go?”
Mr. Dotty thought, and then said that would be alright. Phillip thought the fair sounded very exciting, so he tugged his dad’s paw and asked if he could go, too.
“I don’t think that would be a good idea,” Felix said quickly. “The fair is for us big mice, you are too small to go.”
“Felix…” Mr. Dotty said sternly. “Phillip has been being a big help to us, and the fair is for everyone. If Phillip’s father says he can go then you’ll take him with you.”
Phillip’s dad said it was fine for him to go, which Felix wasn’t too pleased with. Even so, he had to mind his father, and the two of them set off down the country road to town. They went along silently, following the road through a grove of trees until they came to a part where they came to a narrow point between two cliff faces. Here a recent rockslide had fallen across the way, and was blocking their path forward.
Felix looked left, then right, and then up at the obstacle for a moment. Next he crouched down and waggled his tail, jumped up high, and grabbed the top edge of the nearest rock. With a little scrambling he pulled himself onto the top, and then leapt for the next boulder. Phillip tried to copy him, looking left and right and up, crouching down, waggling his tail, and leaping! But he fell far short of the rock’s edge and fell back on the ground. After trying a few more times it was clear he just couldn’t make the jump.
“Wait, help!” He called out. “I can’t reach.”
Felix looked down and shook his head. “I told you that you were too small. If you’re not big enough to reach that first rock, then there’s no way you’ll make it over this whole pile. You’d better head back home.” Then he turned and continued on his way.
At that Phillip sat down and cried. Maybe Felix was right, maybe he really was too small. And now would miss out on all the fun. But as he sat there, drying his eyes, Phillip happened to notice a hollow log that had fallen underneath the rockslide, laying on the ground with its end pointed towards him. He scurried over and saw that it ran all the way to the other side of the rockslide and, even better, was just the right size for him. Phillip bolted through, and then laughed the rest of the way to the fair.
Some time later Felix managed to get over the rockslide, down the other side, and finally arrived at the fair. He was amazed to see that Phillip had not only made it there himself, but also beaten him to it!
“Maybe you are bigger than me,” Phillip admitted. “But I’m just the right size for me and I can get where I need to go!”
Felix nodded sheepishly and apologized, then the two of them went and had a lot of fun.
Phillip the Mouse and the Terrifying Frog
Phillip the Mouse was out exploring in the marshes one day. Whenever he came to a little stream he would hop across the lily pads to the other side, and if there weren’t any lily pads he would climb the tall grasses until they bent over and made bridges for him. He was imagining that he was a great explorer, traveling into a deep and ancient forest. Who knew what sorts of monsters might be lurking just around the corner?
To Phillip it had just been a pretend game, but then, as he lifted a leafy branch, he found himself actually face-to-face with one of those monsters! It was a low, hulking, green creature with giant, bulging eyes. Even as Phillip was staring at the creature it started swelling up bigger and bigger, getting even larger than Phillip! Phillip could feel his heart racing and his whiskers twitching. He felt very afraid, so he dropped to all fours, puffed up his fur, stood his tail out straight, and opened his mouth wide to show his teeth. “Hhhhkkk!” he hissed threateningly.
If there’s one thing you don’t expect a monster to do, it’s to cry, but that was exactly what this one started to do. The creature’s whole body deflated, and Phillip could see now that it was shaking. “Stop it!” the creature said with a small voice. “Why are you being so mean?!”
Phillip felt a little ashamed and his fur smoothed down a bit. “What? I’m not being mean. You’re the one who’s a scary monster!”
“I’m not a monster!” the supposedly-non-monster sobbed. “I’m just a little frog. And if you’re not being mean, then why am I the one who is crying?”
Phillip realized the little frog had a point and he stood back up on his back paws and stopped baring his teeth. “I’m sorry,” he said. “I didn’t want to be mean, I was just trying to protect myself when I saw you puffing up there.”
“Oh… did that frighten you? That’s just what I do when I’m startled. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first saw you.”
Phillip paused, a thought bubbling up inside of him. “Maybe we were both being mean and scary,” he finally admitted, “but we only did that because we felt frightened of each other.”
The frog thought this over. “Yes…I think that happens with people sometimes. But…I’m not really afraid of you anymore.”
“Me either. I’m Phillip, by the way, and I’m a mouse. What’s your name?”
“Chester. What were you doing here anyway?”
“I was exploring,” Phillip said proudly, “and looking for exciting secrets in the marshes.”
“Like me?” Chester laughed. “Well, you know, I live here and I know where some more great secrets are. Would you like me to show you?”
Phillip thought that sounded wonderful. Exploring the marsh together was going to be a lot less frightening if he had a friend along with him, and unless he was very much mistaken he had just made one.
Phillip the Mouse and His Mask
One fine Summer day Phillip the Mouse was outside stacking some blocks on the ground. He was so busy trying to build it as high as possible that he didn’t notice when Baxter, the local bully, came over by his side. “Hey, watch out!” Baxter shouted, and then he punched the tower apart with a laugh. All the blocks went flying and one of them hit Phillip right on the nose. Phillip was both surprised and hurt, and before he knew it he was sitting back on the ground crying. Baxter looked a little uncomfortable about that, but he shook his head and said, “Why are you screwing your face up like that? It makes you look all ugly!” Then he stomped away.
Phillip felt very self-conscious and ashamed. He tried to stop crying but it was very hard. He didn’t want to just sit there and look ugly, so he thought of what he could do. Suddenly he had what seemed to be a wonderful idea. Without a word he stood up and rushed into his house. He found some paper and string, markers and glue, and he set to work making a mask. He made a beautiful mouse-face and drew the biggest smile on it that he could. It looked perfect. He tied it on and decided to wear it forever.
Later that day Phillip’s mother came home and gave him a big hug. She smiled at his mask and asked him how his day was.
“It was great!” Phillip tried to say enthusiastically, but there was a little shake in his voice.
“Are you sure?” she asked compassionately. Phillip wasn’t sure why, but there was something about her soft voice that made him feel his sadness growing behind the mask.
“It was okay,” Phillip said, and wet tears were starting to show through the paper of the mask.
“Phillip, can you please take your mask off?” she asked.
Phillip shook his head and stepped back. “It’s a good mask,” he said. “It’s always happy and handsome, it never scrunches up or cries.”
“Phillip,” she said gently. “I like your real face more, I’d always rather see that.”
“Even if it’s ugly and crying?”
“Always,” she repeated. “And it’s never ugly.”
Phillip slowly took the mask away and his Mommy saw how sad he really was. She gave him a hug and just held him for a while. Then he told her about what had happened with the blocks and Baxter. That made him cry even more and she held him for all of that, too.
“I’m so sorry that happened to you today, Phillip,” she told him. “Thank you for telling me, that was a very brave thing to do. Phillip…I want you to always remember that you never need to be ashamed of your tears. Your face is the most beautiful thing I know and always will be.”
And with that, Phillip smiled. A real one this time.
Phillip the Mouse and His Grandfather’s Kite
One gray and windy day Phillip was feeling very confused. His parents had told him that his grandfather was very sick, and that he might not get better. Phillip didn’t understand this. Every time Phillip got ill his parents just gave him rest and maybe some medicine and then he felt better soon enough. Why was it different with grandfather? Phillip’s parents said it had to do with being very old, and that grandfather might need to leave them, which was also confusing to Phillip. Phillip didn’t want his grandfather to leave them.
All of this had made Phillip think about a fine kite that he had made with his grandfather just last summer. They had decided to make it on a blustery day like today, but by the time the glue set the wind had died down and they hadn’t been able to fly it. Phillip’s grandfather had said he would come back another time to fly it with Phillip, but that day had never come. And so, Phillip now decided he had to fly it by himself. For some reason that seemed like a good thing to do with this concerning news from his parents.
Phillip went outside with his kite and soon he had it soaring through the air. It really was a very good kite. It caught the wind easily and held its position very straight and strong. Phillip never had problems with it swirling down or crashing into the ground. As Phillip continued to fly it the wind started to become even stronger. Soon he could feel the kite pulling hard against the reel in his hands. He gripped it tightly, and decided he better pull the line in before the wind picked up anymore. Phillips started turning the reel, pulling the line down as a sudden gust of wind came, pulling the line up.
The string broke in two and it tumbled lifelessly to the ground at Phillip’s feet. Phillip stared down at it for a moment, then back up to the kite. He expected the kite to fall as well, but it didn’t. It swayed around for a little bit, and then a wave of the wind carried it up higher and higher towards a cloud. Phillip felt very strange. Sad… but not like he needed to cry. As he watched, the kite slowly faded into the cloud until he couldn’t see it anymore. Phillip kept watching the same spot on the cloud for a while, just thinking and feeling.
As Phillip turned to walk home he still felt sad, but also alright. It wasn’t the happiest thing to lose grandfather’s kite, but at least he knew where it was. Any time a cloud would pass its shadow over him he couldn’t help but wonder if grandfather’s kite was there, watching him from afar. Somehow that made everything okay.