A good mouse mom knows that, since a mouse’s life is so short, you need to make the most of every moment. Eek had a very smart mom.
“Come outside so I can teach you a game. Come on, all of you.” Mom moved her paw in a circle toward herself.
The youngest mouse looked at his mom standing in the sunshine. She looked like she was glowing. He followed the other mice outside. The sun was so bright he almost closed his eyes. His nose sniffed the new smells. The large space felt scary, but one look at Mom and all was well.
Mom clapped. “Okay, the game is called Hide and Seek. One of you waits for the others to hide, and then you have to find them. Who wants to be first to seek?”
Eek sat back as the others jumped at Mom.
“Me, me, me…I wanna go first!”
Mom looked at the other son. “A true gentlemouse lets a lady go first.”
Eek’s brother shook out his fur, then scampered over next to Eek.
The two sisters continued pulling on their mom’s fur.
Mom pushed them back. “We’ll let the older one be first.”
The younger sister rubbed her paws over her face. “She always gets to go first. Why can’t I be first once?”
Mom put a paw on the younger sister’s shoulder. “Don’t worry. Hiding is as fun as seeking, sometimes funner.”
Mom gathered everyone around. “Now, your sister will cover her eyes while the rest of you find a good place to hide. Don’t make any noise or she’ll be able to find you with her ears and her eyes.”
The mice all giggled. The oldest sister covered her eyes. Mom waved her front paws. “Okay, find a good place to hide.”
Eek looked around. He saw a leaf growing close to the ground so he scurried under it. A long bug ran away. He folded his ears back to keep them from being tickled. His tummy felt cold, but he stayed quiet. He lifted the leaf up to peek at his mom and sister. He hoped they couldn’t see him back and scrunched lower into the cool dirt.
Mom waited for the other mice to hide. “Okay, I’m going in to fix lunch. Let me know when you find everybody.”
The oldest sister uncovered her eyes. “This won’t take long, Mom. I’ll help you with lunch when I’m done.”
Mom smiled. “Don’t be so sure of yourself. They found some very good hiding places.” She scurried inside their hollow log.
Eek’s sister scampered away from him behind a tree.
He giggled. “She’ll never find me,” he whispered.
Suddenly, one of his whiskers twitched. Then something pushed down on the leaf. It felt like something was moving across the leaf so Eek stayed still. Then it stopped. Eek heard his sister scream. The leaf shook, then it was really quiet.
Finally the thing on top of the leaf slid off and what looked like a very big mouse tail slithered away from him.
Seconds later Eek’s mom came out. “The game is over. I need everybody to come here. Now!”
Eek pushed the leaf up and scampered to his mom. “Momma, what was that?”
The other two mice that were hiding came to her and asked the same question.
Mom looked at each one of them. Her eyes were wet. “That was a snake. I looked around a lot to make sure there weren’t any snakes out here, but sometimes they come when you don’t expect them.”
Eek pulled on his mom’s fur. “Momma, where’s sister?”
A tear rolled down her cheek. “She’s gone.”
Brother stood up. “When will she come back?”
Mom shook her head. “She isn’t coming back. The snake ate her. She’s dead. When God made mice, He made them so other animals could eat them so they can live. That’s just the way God made things work. Everybody has to die sometime. Now was her time.”
Everybody was quiet. Mom turned toward home. “Let’s go inside. Lunch is ready.”
Brother sat still. “I’m not hungry.”
Mom kept walking. “I know. Let’s go inside.”
They all followed her in.
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