The Mouse Farmer/A Short Story

THE MOUSE FARMER

Gwen E Campbell
Copyright © 2013 Alexis Campbell Jansky
Published by Solopress II

The Mouse Farmer was one of your typical farmers, being plump and bewhiskered. However, unlike other farmers his work was easy, leaving him with abundant leisure time and a congenial nature.

That is not to say he didn’t have problems for he was a farmer after all, and plagued by time, weather and season. Nevertheless, with great luck he had chosen to farm a commodity that has never known a crop failure. As a matter of fact his main problem was surplus. Now this may surprise some, for after all he was of the feline persuasion and at first glance it might appear that surplus would be desirable. But consider the human element. There was deep antipathy between human and mouse, and more than once the Mouse Farmer was threatened over this very surplus.

“Get rid of those mice or we’ll get another cat,” they said and “We’ll put out poison and traps” said they.

The humans begrudged the hay eaten by the mice and overlooked the fact that even mice need food and shelter, just like anybody else. They were not sympathetic about grain eaten and holes in harness’ either, so it was a constant worriment to the Mouse Farmer – this business of maintaining an adequate crop without creating a surplus.

He did this in his usual calm manner. He merely moved into the barn where he could keep an eye on things. But life is never simple and as soon as he relinquished the back porch, the mice took over and he was constantly being awakened and summoned to work back on the porch. This not to say he didn’t like the house and the human inhabitants for in truth he could have lived in the house all year without a qualm. It all came down to a matter of time and season. The humans wanted him in the house when they wanted it, and out when they didn’t want it. He was expected to travel back and forth in sleet and snow, in daylight and dark, which as everyone knows is most unpleasant.

Then, too, there was the matter of the dog. He had been hired on as a watch dog but to tell the truth, the only thing he actually watched was the Mouse Farmer. Oh he was sly about it, running hither and yon barking his fool head off at imaginary trespassers, but when the humans weren’t looking, he delighted in disturbing the quietude of the Mouse Farmer.

To make matters worse, he was unbelievably agile for a dog, able to race up the sides of the bales of hay in the barn while filling the air with horrendous yelps, and scaring the Mouse Farmer half out of his wits, and inciting a big chase. Now the Mouse Farmer was never truly worried about the dog, but how would you like to be awakened in such manner? Then to make matters worse the humans thought the whole thing funny.

Mouse farming definitely had its ups and downs. He had tried bird farming but with little or no success. He was afraid of heights, the birds laughed at him and the humans scolded him. “Don’t hurt the little birdies.” The humans liked birds? Life certainly is a puzzle.

He had even tried weaving too. His human mother was in fact the only mother he remembered, because she had rescued him from Certain Death at a tender age. And Mother was a weaver. Ah, how he loved the many and varied colors. What fun to run his claws through the threads. But Mother wouldn’t have it. “I don’t need any help, and if I did you’d be the last one I’d call on,” but she always laughed.

More than once he had heard her tell the other humans, “He is the only one that even offers to help!”
He had tried spinning as well but all he succeeded in doing was pulling the thread off the spindle instead of putting it on. My, life is perplexing.

So that is how he came to settle on Mouse Farming. Furthermore he was quite good at it. He had won praise from more than one for his ability. All in all life was good. If you couldn’t be a human weaver the next best thing just had to be a feline Mouse Farmer.

If you have enjoyed this story, email us at: solopress2@charter.net
And let us know.

Thank you for reading the works of Gwen Campbell

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