Surprising Stories about the Mouse and Her Sons, and the Funny Pigs. - With Laughable Colored Engravings
Author: Unknown
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Once on a time there lived a Mouse, Sole mistress of a spacious house, And rich as mouse need be: 'Tis true her dwelling, underground, Was neither long, nor square, nor round, But suiting her degree.

No lofty ceilings there were seen, No windows clear, or gardens green, Or rooms with neat division. But, in a corner, she could find Of viands, sorted to her mind, A notable provision.

Her neighbours round esteemed her well, And often in her little cell, Would spend a social hour; Besides, she had a friendly heart, And to the poor she would impart Some of her little store.

Now, Madam Mouse two sons had got, One named Streak,—the other, Spot; She gave them education, And also taught them to excel In all such arts as fitted well A Mouse's occupation.

Two prettier Mice were never seen, So soft, so nimble, and so clean; Their teeth were sharp, their eyes were bright; And when through wood she saw them gnaw As neatly, almost, as a saw, The mother's eyes beamed with delight.

And oft, she said, "My sons, beware The guileful Cat and baited snare, To Mice a sure perdition!" And showed how, caught within the trap They would bewail their dire mishap, With tears of sad condition.

And, in plain terms, she would describe Those terrors of the mousing tribe, In every form and feature; And then she would pourtray the Cat Sworn enemy of Mouse or Rat, A most voracious creature.

Now, being grown both stout and strong, They thought they had remained too long In idleness at home; And now their food they daily sought, And of their mother little thought While they abroad did roam.

One fatal hour, with spirits gay, Far from their home they strolled away, And reached a lone farm-house; Abundance, there, was found to eat; It had been long a known retreat To many a wandering mouse.

But now the housewife saw, dismayed, The waste so many mice had made, And did a trap procure. "And if I catch a mouse," said she, "No mercy shall it find from me; From mice my pantry I'll secure."

Agreeing once to sup at home, A different way the brothers roam; Each finds a different fate. Soon nimble Spot the pantry found, And views the eatables around, With consequence elate.

And in the midst a trap there stood, Made strong with wire and with wood, And baited with fresh-toasted cheese. "Dear me!" said the admiring mouse, "What do I see?—a pretty house, Constructed me to please.

"What silly things these mothers are," Said he, with a conceited air; "What cause is there for fear? This door is very high and wide, Myself and twenty more beside, Might safely enter here."

Then in he rushed, and seized the bait, And soon the dainty morsel ate, Then turned to go away. But, ah! poor mouse, he finds the door, Which he so freely passed before, Compels him now to stay.

Now his kind mother's warnings rise, And place before his weeping eyes, Grim death in every shape. Alas! poor prisoner Spot can see No prospect left of liberty, No chance of his escape.

Now turn we to the kitchen side, And see what fortune can betide Poor Streak, who there is gone; Where by a blazing fire there sat A glossy, well-fed tabby cat, Half sleeping, and alone.

With veneration mixed with awe, For the first time, a cat he saw And thus expressed his mind:— "Can this meek creature prove," said he, "The cat—so oft described to me,— Devourer of our kind."

And now, to have a nearer view, Closer and closer still, he drew, And hears her softly purring; "Ah me!" he cries, "what dulcet note, What music from that downy throat; I'm sure she is not stirring."

The cat now turned her amber eyes, And view'd poor Streak with glad surprise, Then caught him with her claw; Now o'er her head she whirls him round, Then dashes him against the ground, Or strikes him with her paw.

Now lets him run a little way, Now claws him back in cruel play, Or bites through his soft ear; At length, exerting all his strength, He made a leap of wond'rous length, And got away quite clear.

"Why are my sons abroad so late?" The mother said, foreboding fate, And oft she sighed full sore; Just then, she heard a mournful squeak, And soon beheld poor wounded Streak, Come crawling through the door.

With falt'ring voice, and accents slow, He told his little tale of woe, And of his hurts did tell. "Oh! had I been advised by thee, My dearest mother, then," said he, "I had been safe and well.

"Not many moments can I live, My loving mother, pardon give, And let me die in peace." Full many a tear the mother shed Beside poor Mousey's dying bed, And soon his voice did cease.

"Disastrous fate!" the Mouse did say, "To lose both sons in one sad day, Dear objects of my love." But, hark! a well-known step is heard, Each bristle of the Mouse's beard, Began with hope to move.

And soon poor Spot's long nose she saw, And then his little pointed paw, Come gently on the floor. "O, mother, mother," cried the Mouse, "With joy I see our happy house; My peaceful home, once more."

With transport she beholds her son, Who, on recovering breath, begun To tell his perils past; And how he had, with tooth and claw, Contrived from out the trap to gnaw, And so escaped at last.


If you do not attend to your parents' advice, You may come to sad fate, like the two little mice.







Once it happened, though when, is not easily said, That a grunter, Jack Pig, took it into his head To quit his good home,—his dear mother to leave, Not thinking at all how for him she would grieve. Said Jack, "Brother Bob for his pleasure has strayed; I'll roam away, too, when I'm nicely arrayed:" Next morn he set off in a hat and wig dressed;— The same that the farmer's son wore as his best.

With snout aloft, he started out, Then on the green he gazed about: He whisked his tail with pure delight, Saying—"I shall not lodge here to-night." The geese came hissing at his heel, But, 'midst their noise he heard a squeal; And looking to see from whence it came, He spied his mother down the lane.

"Her son," said he, "so tall, she'll never know, Dressed smartly as I am, so like a beau." His heart beat quickly as his ma' he passed, But, bowing, "How d'ye do, good dame?" he asked; Then biting from out the hedge a nice cane, And putting his hat on, said "All's right again; Now over the world I'll roam, as fast as I can:" Then he flourished his cane, and onward he ran.

And trotting on briskly, Piggy soon came To a field where some schoolboys were having a game; Said he, "As I'm tired, I'll lie down to rest, And perhaps if I do so, just here 'twill be best: For I should not much like these poor boys to disturb, As they possibly might be so very absurd As to leave off their game, for respect towards me, No occasion for which I can possibly see."

But, just then, a boy spied him, and giving a call, Thus said to his comrades, "Come here, my lads, all." Then they left off their play, and they chased the poor pig, Until he had lost both his hat and his wig. They left him, at last, overcome with fatigue; "Though," said he, "it is not for myself that I grieve, But to think of the manners of these country clowns! Such conduct would never be met with in towns."

To get back his wig, he was greatly perplexed, About which and his hat, he was equally vexed; For the wind, when the boys were hardest in chase, Blew them both in the river, its surface to grace; And they seemed to mock Piggy, as there they did float; "But I'll have you," said Jack, who pushed off in a boat; When his finery reaching, the boat he upset, "I can swim," cried the blade, "and I don't mind the wet."

But, beside his own hide, both his wig and his hat Were wet and deranged; so, to remedy that, "I'll enter this cottage; here's a fire," he said, "I'll hang them to dry, while I lie in the bed." When the dame returned home, as he slumbered so snug, She soon spied the gentleman under the rug, And basted him well with a stick like a log, Turning him and his wardrobe out into a bog.

In the miry mess Piggy long struggled about, Unable to rise; but at last he got out, And crept to a field where fine cabbages grew: "I'm hungry," said he, "I'll indulge in a few." When, just as his snout had a nice plant uptorn, A shot through his ear he had reason to mourn, Discharged from the gun of a lad stationed there, To take care of the crop, and all robbers to scare.

Wounded, weary, and hungry, poor Jack now felt sad, And thought of the home, so safe he once had, Where he'd plenty of food, and clean straw for his bed, And at night, a roof of good thatch o'er his head. He escaped from the field, though he scarcely knew how, And scampered as fast as his strength would allow: In the distance, a town, long and wide he could see; "Ah! ah!" said Jack Swine, "that's the quarter for me."

Then Jack hurried on to the city so gay, Where he walked through the streets in his comic array; But think of his horror, oh! think of his dread, When, hanging immediately over his head, In the first butcher's shop that he chanced to discover, Were the mortal remains of poor Bobby, his brother, "'Tis sad," sighed our Jack, "such a difference should be Between that unfortunate fellow and me."

But now I have hardly the heart to relate To my dear little readers, the terrible fate That awaited poor Jack. Scarce a moment had passed, As he gazed on his brother, while tears trickled fast, When he uttered a loud and a heart-rending wail, For a butcher, in blue, had caught hold of his tail, By which, and one ear, while Jack squeaked for his mother, Away he was dragged, to be slain, like his brother.

The sun rose, next morning, and shed its first gleam, On exact the same spot where his brother had been; But there, in the same place, extended and dead, Hung poor master Jacky, without any head. The head, too, hung near,—but without its fine wig, And was now to be seen as the head of a pig. Many times has the butcher thought of his good luck, But he'll never again capture such a gay buck.

If pigs will walk upright, and strut with fine canes, Stalking in towns, 'stead of roaming in lanes, Misfortunes they'll meet with, no doubt, such as Jack's, Getting shots through their ears, and kicks on their backs.

Piggy left a good sty, And went out, like a guy; But think you, who chide him, How many beside him, By false pleasures are won, Like the Prodigal Son.

And while smiling at Piggy, think, too, of the woes That attend, more or less, every wanderer who goes, Leaving behind him his true friends, to roam, In search of those pleasures found only at home.





In a certain farm-yard, not a hundred miles off, Some pigs were enjoying themselves at a trough; They were having their dinner, or if 'twere too soon, It might be their breakfast,—it scarcely was noon, And, as pigs of fashion, their ears it might shock To talk about dining before twelve o'clock.

Well,—let us suppose it was breakfast,—and they With their delicate noses were grubbing away, When up came their master, whose looks, to my thinking, Betokened a love for good eating and drinking; And 'tis not unlikely the pigs thought so too, For they never so much as said "How do you do?" But went on in silence to finish their feeding, Which certainly was not a mark of good breeding; But as they thus acted, I must tell the truth, Though I'd rather my pigs had not been so uncouth.

However, the master looked on at his leisure, And seemed to regard them with infinite pleasure, And no ill intent,—'till he happened to see One fat little lady pig, white as could be. Then his mouth fairly watered, as he thought how nice, With sage, onion, and apple sauce, would be a slice Of that nice tempting piggy,—so, calling to Joe, Who also was fond of roast pork, you must know, Said, "Joe, you had better that little pig kill, Before she gets bigger." Said Joe, "Sir, I will."

The pigs heard this order with great consternation, And grunted, quite clearly, their disapprobation; But master and man took no heed of their sorrow, And Miss was to die the day after the morrow. The rest, who were all in her fate interested, Now offered such comfort as pity suggested: "They won't hurt you much," simpered one tender swain, "I've heard that this killing is scarce any pain; Pray take some more wash, and this cabbage-stalk bite." "No, thank you," said Piggy, "I've no appetite."

At night, when she laid herself down in her sty, In vain she attempted to close her bright eye: Not a wink could she get through the whole of the night, And wept till she made herself look like a fright. She turned first on one side, and then on the other, And two or three times thought of waking her mother; But this was not easy, for pigs are sound sleepers, And not very willing to open their peepers.

At last morning dawned, and mamma pig awoke, When thus poor Miss Piggy with much spirit spoke: "Dear mother, it certainly is a great pity, To kill me while I'm so young and so pretty; But if they can have such bad taste as to do it, I really don't see why I should submit to it. No one in their senses, I think, would remain When they know they are soon to be cruelly slain; There are more sties than this in the world, I dare say, So I think I had better at once run away."

"Alas! my dear child," said her mother, "I fear You may as well make up your mind to stay here, For 'tis likely the very first person you meet, Would carry you off, and then kill you to eat. Wherever you go, there is just the same danger; You had better be killed by a friend, than a stranger. To tell you the truth, I am sadly afraid, It is for man's eating that we pigs are made. The thought is not pleasant, yet, what we can't cure, As the old proverb says, we must learn to endure."

Then a grave-looking pig, of respectable age, Who was always considered remarkably sage, Said, "Ladies, allow me to offer a word Respecting the orders we yesterday heard. It seems that Miss does not approve of the plan Proposed by our master to Joseph, his man; Though such we all come to, at one time or other: Last week I thus lost my affectionate brother, And next week, perhaps, I myself may be taken, For this is the season for making of bacon; However, as Miss Pig objects thus to be Cut off in her prime,—and we all must agree It is very unpleasant,—there can be no doubt of it,— I've thought of a way by which she may get out of it: Now, if she had not been so plump and good looking, They would never have fancied her ready for cooking; But if she'd get rid of these charms, I am thinking, By living awhile without eating or drinking, And hides herself up in the loft, 'mongst the hay, They'll think that somebody has stole her away. And when she comes back, she will be so much thinner, Depend on't they'll no longer want her for dinner."

Mamma thought this scheme was uncommonly clever, But her daughter indignantly answered, "No, never! What! lose all my beauty? I'd much rather die for it; If that's my last chance, I am sure I shan't try for it; To be called thin and ugly,—I never could bear;— The thought makes me nervous. I vow and declare. I should be neglected, and not have a lover: I'd rather be killed, half a dozen times over. 'Tis a comfort to know, since my life I'm not able To save, I shall look very well on the table."

Poor Piggy was killed on the very next day, And all who'd the pleasure of tasting her, say That she was so nice, they should never forget her, The Queen and Prince Consort could not have a better.


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