BackPorch was a bone-chilling 29 degrees at sunrise. A fine wisp of wood-smoke spiraled from MouseHouse chimney and the aroma of ground-acorn flap-jacks wafted invitingly in the air. Mama Fivelina was up early as usual, preparing a warm meal for her mouselings before bundling them up for school, and sending her hubby off to his shop.
I’m sure her laundry pile is even more daunting then mine this early Monday morning. She has many more members than I to keep in clean clothes. The little bloomers and shirts, pinafores and pants will soon be flapping on Bittersweet Vine-line. She wastes no time after the family is gone for the day.
Little Tatiana and Trieste are growing fast, as mouselings do. Already out of nappies, saving Mama considerable laundry, they are busily learning at her side the homemaking arts of cooking and sewing—the more basic principles of course, but nonetheless important skills. Soon they too will be scampering off to The Village school with their brothers and sister.
There was tragedy in The Village this weekend: a young mouseling found dead, near the schoolhouse, apparently the victim of either Spook Owl or Cat. It appeared he was trying to reach the shelter of Big Rock, but died either of his injuries or exposure.
There was considerable upset, especially among the school children, as they watched the poor young fellow being carried off by some of the VCC’s (Village Care Corps). Miss Winklesnout opened the school for any who wished to gather there to share their feelings. While it gave her good opportunity to reinstate the importance of following safety rules: don’t be out alone at night, be especially vigilant of the whereabouts of Cat and other enemies, among other things, she was equally concerned with helping them cope with the upsetting situation. Hugs were offered freely and tears were amply shed, but in her kind and gentle way, she brought great comfort to them all.
Since no one knew the young chap, they arranged a quiet burial in Hare Hollow Woods. Miss Winklesnout, along with some other members of the school board, arranged a memorial service in the hapless fellow’s honor. The attendees sang somber songs of praise for their Maker, and had a moment of silence in memory of the deceased. Of course, there will be an attempt to discover the young mouse’s identity through the Underground News in hopes of notifying his family.
A somber air pervaded at MouseHouse all weekend; the children were noticeably more clingy and concerned, but again, Mama and Papa Fivel used the opportunity to reinforce teachings that, sadly, often need frequent reminders.
Well… back to Monday morning, the first load of tiny, colorful pinafores has suddenly appeared on Bittersweet Vine-line. How’d that industrious Fivelina get ahead of me!
I must be wasting time here, thinking too much about MouseHouse! Time to hang the sheets!