The story of Millie the Harvest Mouse
A children’s fable by Jan Luthman
Millie was a harvest mouse.
Her proper name was Millicent, but that was just for special occasions.
Most of the time she was called Millie.
Millie lived with her mother in a nest right in the middle of the meadow, in amongst the tall grass and great big ox-eye daisies.
They’d built their nest together, weaving it out of grass and the stems and leaves of flowers they’d found in the meadow, and had fixed it carefully to the strongest stalks so it wouldn’t blow away, not even in the fiercest gales.
The nest was round, like a ball, with just one little door at the side, sheltered from the rain and snow and winds. Millie’s mother and Millie had lined the inside of their nest with the softest thistledown, so it was dry and snug and warm in the winter.
Millie and her mother didn’t have much money, but they were content. She may not have had the latest and greatest toys, and her dresses may have been a little old and worn, but she really didn’t mind; she was happy at home
In fact, everything in Millie’s life would have been fine if it hadn’t been for Matilda.
Matilda was also a mouse, but a different kind of mouse from Millie: she was a House Mouse.
A house mouse is bigger than a harvest mouse, so Matilda could push Millie around. Millie didn’t mind that too much: what really upset her was that Matilda was very unkind. For Matilda was rich, and always had the best and latest dresses, and loved flaunting them in front of all her classmates, and taunting Millie about her plain clothes and worn shoes.
One Friday, Matilda was particularly nasty. A rich uncle had given her a great big box of expensive sweets, and Matilda was letting some of her classmates have one each. But she only gave sweets to those she thought would say how wonderful she was.
When Matilda saw Millie come into the classroom, she sighed loudly.
“Oh, how boring,” Said Matilda wearily, “Here comes that dreadfully dreary little harvest mouse.”
The other mice who were gathered around Matilda tittered nervously. They didn’t really like her very much, but were a little bit afraid of her because she was so big and bossy.
“Millie’s so mean,” Matilda closed the lid on her box of sweets, “I bet she’s never given any of you such nice expensive sweets.”
Millie hung her head and said nothing: she wasn’t mean. She would have given all she had to anyone if she thought it would help, and would have loved to be able to give presents to everybody. But she didn’t have lots of expensive things: all she had was a kind heart. Millie walked quietly away: there was nothing she could say.
Jonathan had overheard what Matilda had said, and slid gently up to Millie.
“Don’t listen to her,” He said comfortingly, “She’s horrid. We all like you very much.” Millie gulped.
“Thank you, Jonathan,”She answered,”You’re a very kind and thoughtful snail.”
Jonathan blushed, and his feelers wobbled a little.
“Will you be coming to the school party at the end of term?” He asked.
Millie nodded unhappily.
“Yes,” She answered in a small voice.
“I’ll be wearing my best braces,” Said Jonathan proudly, “They’re blue.” Suddenly, Millie burst into tears.
“I haven’t got a best anything,” She cried, ” All I’ve got is my school clothes, and they’re not pretty at all, they’re just boring.”
Jonathan was very upset; he hated it when anyone was unhappy.
“But you’re not boring,” He said reassuringly, and that’s what really matters. Not what you’re wearing.”
Millie sniffed, and smiled a rather damp and watery sort of smile. She thought Jonathan was such a nice snail.
“I suppose so,” She said, but she didn’t really sound convinced.
They came to the school gates. Jonathan turned to Millie.
“Are you going to visit Old Mrs Spider tomorrow?” He asked.
“Mmmmmmm ” Nodded Millie, “She’s nice; I like her.”
Go to Chapter 2 of this story of
Millie the The Harvest Mouse
Millie Visits Old Mrs Spider