Once Upon a Time….

karendowdall

Bella, The Winter MouseSome time ago, I befriended an adorable winter mouse, I named Bella, who wandered into my yard one day and became my friend for one long lonely winter.  Little Bella first caught my attention by peeking out from behind a wooden rocking chair on my back porch one cold December morning as I worked busily cleaning away cobwebs and dust from window panes and dusty corners.

I pretended to ignore this curious little field mouse. I was hoping that she would scurry away as almost all little critters do to avoid the murderous intent of larger critters.  As I continued dusting and sweeping, I kept stealing glances to see if the little  mouse with the large pink-ears was still watching me from its hiding place behind my old rocking chair.  As I furtively turned my head to get a better view, I was taken-aback to see the funny little brown mouse standing up on its hind legs with its little hands clasped in a pleading gesture as she stared at me.

My heart went out to the furry little winter mouse and I reached into my jacket pocket for the small package of peanut butter crackers I had accidentally left in my pocket the day before.  I opened the package , stepped off the porch (making sure the little mouse saw what I was doing) and placed a peanut butter cracker on the frozen winter grass.  I felt sure this would appease the determined little mouse to take the cracker and scurry back its winter nest, preferably far away from my back porch.  I then stepped back into my house and shut the door behind me allowing the little mouse to know it was now safe to scurry away with the peanut butter cracker.

The next day, as I gazed out of my backdoor window I saw my neighbor’s old Tom Cat on my back porch. He had apparently cornered something behind my old rocking chair. All at once, I knew Old Tom had cornered the little winter mouse who, no doubt, had returned for another peanut butter cracker.  I quickly stepped outside with broom in hand and shooed Old Tom away giving the frightened brown mouse with the large pink ears time to escape. It was the least I could do seeing how it was my fault the furry winter mouse had returned for more peanut butter crackers.

This time the little winter mouse scurried underneath the wooden porch and dashed away, but where to, I wondered. Surely, Old Tom would catch it now and it would be my fault.  Sadly, there was nothing I could do—this was nature, the natural cycle of life and death. I sighed deeply and bowed my head as I turned away from the window.

Little did I know Bella was quite familiar with all the hiding places around my house as I found out one chilly morning in the wee hours before dawn a few weeks later.   While snuggled up in my bed, underneath a quilted coverlet, I reached over to turn on the lamp on my nightstand.  As I did, (to my dismay) my winter mouse stood before me on my nightstand.  Her tiny hands were clasped tightly in front of her, grasping a peanut butter cracker I had left on the nightstand.  Her pink belly and soft brown fur trembled in the bright light.  We stared into each other’s eyes, nose to nose, for what seemed like a long time before she suddenly dashed, cracker in mouth, to wherever she had made a home – in my house.

Well, I thought, a friend it one thing, a Boarder is quite another.  So, early that morning, I crept, as quite as a mouse, with my flash light in hand to find the freeloader’s hideaway.  And find it I did. Apparently, my little curious winter mouse liked music, because I found her and her nest behind my credenza.  Her little brood of six pink baby mice seemed quite comfy— snuggled up in one of my missing fluffy slippers.

Well, enough is enough, I thought.  One winter mouse is tolerable for a winter, but not Bella’s brood of six baby mice.  I found myself in dilemma of what to do with Bella and her babies.  There was the mudroom, I thought, and that presented another dilemma. The mudroom already had several guests.

The injured red flying squirrel was healing well in a shoebox on the third shelf, Tabby, my 12-year-old tabby cat, somewhat incontinent and nearly blind, slept there each night on top of the filing cabinet, Fluffy, my snow white Tibetan Lhasa Apso also preferred to sleep there where his food was kept, like wrapped around the 25lb bag.  (You should know that Lhasa’s are very protective of their people and their food.)

I had no choice. Bella and her babies were going into the mudroom, in a covered shoebox, secured with tape and with small holes for air.  I placed the shoebox on the floor very near the mudroom backdoor that had a small bit of daylight between the door and the floor.  Every day I would leave one peanut butter cracker for Bella on the back porch. It didn’t take long before she waited for me every day at the backdoor, standing up, her little hands folded across her tummy and I would hand the peanutbutter cracker to her. She would reach out with her tiny hands, and grasp it and hold it to her chest before dashing away. She was the sweetest mouse. Her cute little personality and her big brown eyes were so expressive.

In early spring, I went to the backdoor and there was no Bella. I hurried to the mudroom and found the shoebox empty. They were gone. Bella, my winter mouse had gone back to the corn and alfalfa fields with her young.  I hope they all survived, but I would never know. I never saw her again. I still think of her sometimes, on a chilly winter morning when I turn the light on.

 

 

 

 

 

24 thoughts on “BELLA THE WINTER MOUSE

    1. Hi Andrew, I am still trying to find the time to continue reading your wonderful book, Mystical Greenwood (One with Nature). Dermot is a great character and his life is so harsh, but that is the way it was in the middle ages. I love stories about woods and forests and fantasy like this, and this story feels real. I hope to continue it this weekend. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I hope you continue to enjoy it, and that you’ll consider posting a review to Amazon and/or Goodreads. Hope you’re doing well and that your writing’s coming along.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Andrew, absolutely I will do a review. It is a beautifully written fantasy with great characters, It takes a while for me to read a book because of my eyesight problem.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you. Take your time. It’s okay.

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      4. Andrew, I finishing reading your book and I am about to do a review. This book, Mystical Greenwood (One with Nature), is great for boys who would love a fantasy adventure with so much action, soldiering, danger, and wizardry. Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Andrew, my pleasure. I doubt that I will ever forget Dermot and the story you weaved together so heartfelt and beautifully. Karen 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I’m truly touched. Thank you again. Happy Holidays!

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  1. A sweet black crow visits our balcony railing each morning hoping for some peanuts, today she flew in from the tall chestnut tree one street over after observing me looking out our window. It is raining hard so I put the peanuts closer on the driest part of the railing when suddenly, she hopped so close, my nose and her sharp beak were almost touching. Just like your lovely Bella, we looked into each other’s eyes and I swear, I could feel the love! Your whimsical title caught my eye and I’m so glad I stopped to have a read…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kim, thank you so much. I drew the picture of the mouse and like your story it really happened. It was so precious and your sweet black crow sounds so adorable. I have another story about her. I will have to write that one first though. I could feel the gratefulness of that little field mouse.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would be a lovely series!

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      2. Kim, that is a great idea! Thank you so much and I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I really enjoyed your story! I have to admit that your darling drawing at the top of the post predisposed me to like Bella instead of viewing her as a rodent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz, she also had 6 tiny mice born in my mudroom (she got in that room somehow) and so with a shoebox and a old fluffy house slipper, she got on well with the cat, Tiger, and my wee little doggy, Fluffy. It was quite a winter that year. In the spring she and the babies (all healthy) left for sunnier times in the Spring. Karen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    A delightful story, Karen! I would have felt the same way, except when she was on your nightstand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jennie and it is a true story. She was the sweetest little field mouse and then she had 6 tiny ones too. She found a way to get into my mudroom and an old shoe box. I also had baby flying squirrels, a cat, named tiger, and a wee little doggy named Fluffy. they all really got along. Shocking! I loved it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennie says:

        I think it is wonderful! 😍

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jennie, thank you so much! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Jennie says:

        You are very welcome, Karen! 😀

        Like

  4. frenchc1955 says:

    Karen, thank you for this wonderful story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure and thank you so much for liking it too.

      Like

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