The House Guest

The House Guest
Part of the Frewyn Fables Short Story Collection
by Michelle Franklin

ISBN: 9781311031532
Pages: 17
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Age Category: Children's
Genre: Fantasy
Cover Art: Twisk

At the end of Broadwood Lane, where the low boughs of evergreen were hung round with heavy snows, in the oldest hawthorn tree lived a family of mice by the name of Sniffles. Mice seldom ever took the trouble of giving their children first names, for they were far too busy fussing and flumping over the cleanliness of their doorstep, gathering the leftover grain in the threshing field, and maintaining the loveliness of their whiskers. They were distinguished by their appearances more than they were by titles and ranks, and when the mother and father Sniffles had their only daughter after many years of trying all that superstition could do, all her claims to distinction were her large ears, a forward tooth, fine grey fur, and rather too much pink in her hands. Pink-hands or Large-ears would have done well as far as names were concerned, but as the parents could not be bothered to decide which of the names would be much best, a simple “my dear” was how they addressed her. They lived as any other mouse family lived: disdaining the long and frigid winters, begrudging the liberty of the barn cats on Farmer MacDaede’s neighboring land, searching and snuzzling for food, and eating far more cake crumbs than was good for them. Their daughter grew just as any other young mouse daughter did: learning how to tell oats from wheat, developing her talents at sewing, and practicing her innocent looks to be used on Farmer MacDaede should she ever be caught wandering about his kitchen in quest of crumbs.

Time passed on: winters and summers and winters came and went, and at last the Sniffles parents were grown too old to bear the harsh snows and gelid gales of the kingdom’s most unforgiving season. They must move elsewhere if they were to be always warm and comfortable in their old age, and when their daughter reached her middle of life, they packed their bindles, took some of the cheese and biscuits, and set off for the Sahadin Desert.

“We are going to Lucentia,” the father eagerly sniffed. “We hear there is excellent property there. Newly vacant by some family who went north to the islands. Madness, I tell you, to cross the sea. Humph! What respectable mouse would cross the sea?”

When winter comes early to Frewyn and the first snowfall of the year traps a young mouse in her home, fate brings an old mole to her door, but is the young mouse prepared for all the challenges that catering to a fussy house guest can bring?