Mousekin, the youngest child of really nice parents, woke up early one morning and decided to have an Adventure.
While no one was looking, he made himself a sandwich and placed it carefully in a paper bag, and the bag he hid beneath his shirt. He looked down and saw he had a big lump there right above his belt, so he flattened it out as best he could.
After making sure no one saw him, the little mouse slipped away and began skipping happily down the path leading to the Great Wood.
Along the way, he met Mr. Grasshopper, who wished him a good day. It was a good day. A fine day.
Then he met Mrs. Finch, who was too busy to stop and chat, though at another time she would have.
Later he ran across Johnny Trout, who lived in the stream. Johnny seemed to be a very clean sort, the kind of friend Mousekin's mother would approve of. But it was plain to see Mousekin wasn't going to have many long conversations with him, so our young hero continued on his way.
Growing a bit peckish, he sat on a stump and ate his sandwich. It was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Mousekin's most favorite food. When he was through, and since he was a tidy mouse, he folded up the empty sandwich bag and put it back under his shirt.
All too soon, Mousekin could see through the trees that the sun was going down -- the shadows on the ground were growing longer!
Remembering he'd been very careful to memorize all the landmarks he'd passed, he turned with confidence to go home. But it quickly became so dark he could barely see his paw in front of his face. He realized he wasn't sure in which direction he should go. He might even be lost!
"Oh, rattaroo!" he thought to himself, "I'm in a deep puddle of trouble."
He stumbled on. Every now and again he would trip and fall, and when he'd get up, he felt even more lost than before.
To tell the truth, Mousekin was frightened of the dark, yet underneath it all, he was a brave little rodent.
He summoned all his courage and called out, "Is anyone (ahem!) out there? I need some help here. Please." His mom had told him to be courteous, it was the best way of dealing with others.
"Hello. Yoo-hoo. Anyone there?" he called again.
From a distance he heard a reply, "No one here but us predators and our equally toothy friends." Somehow, Mousekin was not comforted by this.
But he plugged on, determined he'd make it home, and that he'd never worry his mother again.
On he walked. And walked. And walked. Remember, he was doing this in the dark.
He grew tired and sat down. He hadn't eaten for quite some time, and he was hungry again. Opening up his empty lunch sack, he was able to lick up a few crumbs from deep inside the bag. Being a mouse, after all, he could do this and others would still think he was polite.
But when he got up he forgot the bag, which fell to the ground unnoticed.
He began walking again. And he walked. And walked.
Suddenly his foot hit something. He stopped and felt around on the ground to see what it was. On finding the object, he examined it, then gave it a good sniff.
"Oh, cats and kittens." He said aloud. It was that lunch bag -- he'd been walking in a circle.
He sat on the ground, his little face in his paws. He was too big a mouse to cry or do any of that baby stuff, but a small tear did begin to slide down his furry cheek.
He brushed the tear away and opened his eyes.
He saw something, not too far away was a light. A very soft, strange light that blinked on, then off. On, then off. It seemed to be coming towards him.
"What's this?" he whispered to himself.
The light came nearer, and Mousekin couldn't take his eyes away from it. Finally he could see it belonged to a peculiar looking bug.
"Who -- no, what are you?" Mousekin wasn't trying to be rude when he said this, and, indeed, he didn't sound rude.
"I'm a firefly. And what, no who are you?" The strange insect said with a laugh.
"I'm Mousekin, sir, and I'm lost."
"Lost?" said the firefly.
"Lost." said Mousekin sadly.
"Lost you may be, but you're not without a friend. Maybe I can help you." said the firefly. Mousekin noticed that the bug had a very friendly voice... for an insect.
"Well, thank you. Yes, if I could just see where I was going, I wouldn't have any problem." said Mousekin.
And do you know, he was right. The gentle firefly flew before Mousekin, lighting the way, and the little mouse was safely home almost before he knew it.
He thanked his new friend.
Mousekin's mom and dad thanked the firefly, too.
Mousekin's parents were so happy to see him again they forgot to scold him. Instead, with the firefly as guest of honor, they all sat around the fire, eating nuts, sipping hot cocoa, and telling stories about The Good Old Days.
The others talked on and on, but Mousekin soon curled himself up in the corner, and, after only one yawn, fell asleep. As he lay there snoring softly near his mom, his father gently covered him with a warm blanket.
Adventures, it is said, can sometimes make little mice sleepy.