Sir Fivel tucked himself away soon after we arrived at the motel that afternoon, curling up inside one of my fluffy black slippers. I was relieved to know he was safe now and that we’d get him back home to his family on the morrow.
So leaving him to rest and recuperate from his adventures, we made ourselves a quick supper and then headed back for the night service.
Later, we sat snug in our jammies, there in our little suite, sipping bedtime tea. I’d left my slippers where they sat earlier, assuming the weary mouse-gentleman was still asleep.
While my daughter and I discussed the highlights of the day, I noticed a dark-something inching its way through the bedroom door—one black slipper propelling itself across the floor! Further investigation revealed two little mouse feet trudging along—step-tug-step, the slipper held high above his head, the rest of him hidden beneath it.
“Sir Fivel!” I exclaimed, more shrilly than I meant to.
The slipper tipped over on its side and a woeful whiskered face appeared... “Sorry Ma’am… I didn’t mean to sleep so long and take your slipper from you. I meant to get it back to you…” He tugged on his vest to straighten it, then folding his hands across his rotund little belly he continued.
“Guess you want the story now, huh? Well, you see, Ma’am… I was collecting spider webs for Fivelina the other afternoon, she uses them to baste her Oak Leaf quilts, you know, and I saw these fluffy black slippers hanging on your clothesline. I was so tired, I thought I’d just slip into one for a short nap. I had no idea you were planning to pack them for your trip! You don’t usually wear these, do you?”
I shook my head. “No, you’re right, Fivel… I only wear them when I’m traveling.”
He scratched his head in confusion. “Ohhhh…”
“Go on…” I encouraged.
“Well, next thing I knew I was stuck inside this dark, stuffy place and couldn’t get out. It was so black in there, and for such a long time. I tried and tried to get out, but couldn’t find a way. Soon the whole place began moving, I tumbled around and bumped into things, and still it was so dark! I heard engine sounds and felt that we were moving for hours. Oh Ma’am, I was dreadful scared!”
Yep. I surely had left those slippers on the line overnight. Who would’ve thought!
“You were in the slipper when I packed them into the suitcase. Oh dear. I’m so sorry, Fivel. I never would’ve thought to check. And yes, it would’ve been mighty dark in that suitcase, and you’d surely get an awful jouncing when Papa Hare loaded the luggage in the trunk. Yes, it must’ve been a terribly long hard trip stuck in there in the dark. I’m so sorry you had to go through all that!”
He jumped up on the arm of the chair, patting my hand soothingly. “Oh no, Ma’am. It’s entirely my fault. I should never have snuck into that slipper in the first place.”
He searched my face for understanding, then kindly added, “Would you like your slippers now, Ma’am?”
“Thank you, no…” I assured him. I’ve nice warm socks on and I don’t need them right now. Do you feel like telling me how you got over to the convention today?”
He blushed slightly. “Well, that’s even more embarrassing, Ma’am. Are you sure you want to know?”
I nodded encouragingly.
“Well, I stayed here in your motel the first day, and it was so lonely and I was feeling so worried for Fivelina—what she must be thinking when I didn’t come home that night! I thought if I just stayed quiet and didn’t bother anyone, I could hop into your purse and ride home unnoticed, and no one would ever know of my foolishness. But when I saw you were staying for Friday too, I couldn’t bear staying here alone all day. So I crept into the pocket of your tote-bag so I could go with you to wherever you were going. If I’d just stayed near you, it would’ve been fine, but I wandered around a bit, you see…” He wrung his hands anxiously with the memory.
“And then I couldn’t find you or the tote-bag anywhere. I looked and looked, but there were just so many strange feet and noisy people. Then everyone left, and it was so dark in there when they shut off all the lights that night. I spent the night under some stranger’s chair-pad…”
I murmured in sympathy. “Well, I’m glad you finally found me, and hey, that was pretty slick finding your way to the tote-bag through all the feet while everyone was praying!”
He grinned slightly and then chortled. Now have you ever heard a mouse chortle? It’s a most delightful little sound actually, and it was a relief to see him more light-hearted now.
“Well, here’s the plan. We have one more service tomorrow morning, and then we leave for Hare Hollow. Don't be getting into my suitcase, okay? You can find a much more comfortable place for the ride home."
He rode home with us, snugly tucked into a fluffy black slipper that surely didn’t get put in the suitcase that time.
And oh the reunion at MouseHouse! You can only imagine!