Some of my readers may remember the Ballad of Brave Monty Mouse from the early days of My Telegraph. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this small rodent, well done! But he does amuse small children and even some of their parents, so thank you, Monty for being the inspiration for this story.
Aloft at night, and on the prowl,
Softly glides this wise old owl.
The mice stay quivering in the corn,
How can they feed before the dawn?
A brilliant Harvest moon shone bright over fields of ripening grains waiting to be safely gathered in. To the small harvest mice, their small tummies distended with the results of their foraging, replete and snug in their nest, it was also a time of danger. But not tonight. They sensed the faint whisper of wings as the owl glided low over the ripe grains but with such a bountiful harvest they did not need to feed just yet. They slept contented but only Monty, their brave leader, contemplated the dangers ahead.
With fearsome growl the monster woke
The air was filled with dust and smoke.
Distant still but menace clear
It froze the mice in total fear.
The grains they collected were now consumed and Monty called a meeting. They crowded close whilst the little ones nibbled on the last ears of corn, as the nest reverberated with the sounds of the distant combine. This monster potentially was far more of a threat than the owl and with each sunny day it was drawing ever closer to the terrified mice.
So Monty now must have a thunk,
Or rodents are indeed well sunk.
The family hopeful, to a man,
Convinced that Monty has a plan.
Monty’s little paws were working furiously as he googled on his phone. He’d researched this monster all night, spurred on by memories of dying screams of rabbits as they were slaughtered by this horror, he was determined to fight. His nest would not share their fate. This brave little mouse did indeed have a plan.
He broadcast a meeting to his contacts and soon every mouse within a radius of three miles of the farm responded to his call.
So sugar was the vital clue
Enough to stuff into its flu.
To stop the beast and kill it dead,
Or so our brave young mouse had said.
Sugar was needed in vast quantities and in the dead of night, larders were raided and sugar bowls emptied by thousands of small rodents.
Monty co-ordinated the raid and even persuaded the farm cats to turn a blind eye when they realised their supply of mice and baby rabbits may be diminished by this monster. They traded instant gratification to ensure their future food supply was protected. Rabbits were recruited, bitter about those who died, but grateful for the chance to fight back.
So, in the dead of night, lit by the harvest moon, small mammals, cheek pouches full, delivered the sugar to Monty stood by the sleeping Combine in the middle of the field. Young Chloe, the farmer’s daughter had been recruited and appeared on schedule in her nightdress clutching the key to the fuel cap. She removed it and patiently allowed all the mice and rabbits to scamper up her into her arms then she lifted them to deposit the sugar into the tank. It took most of the night but they when they had finished they crept back exhausted to their warrens and nests.
The sun rose once more and Monty awoke to the sound of the Combine starting up. And with an anguished roar, it spluttered, coughed its last and died.
Well done Monty you’re the best.
Squeak all the family in the nest.
Modestly he takes a bow:
Sleep is what is needed now.
They snuggled close and settled for the night. Monty was aware that he’d only bought them time. Tomorrow night he’d spur them into action once again. They would nibble through the wires in the electrical system until they’d relocated the nest in the hedgerow bordering the harvested strip of the field. With the help of the squirrels it shouldn’t take them long. He peered at his phone and studied the wiring diagram once more.
Though small in size and gentle mice
They band together in a trice.
They strive to live, and take their place
Despite the thoughtless human race.
Mouse versus machine – no contest!