Once upon a time, there was a little brown
Field Mouse; and one day he was out in
the fields to see what he could see. He was
running along in the grass, poking his nose
into everything and looking with his two
eyes all about, when he saw a smooth,
shiny acorn, lying in the grass. It was such
a fine shiny little acorn that he thought
he would take it home with him; so he put
out his paw to touch it, but the little acorn
rolled away from him. He ran after it, but
it kept rolling on, just ahead of him, till it
came to a place where a big oak-tree had
its roots spread all over the ground. Then
it rolled under a big round root.
Little Mr. Field Mouse ran to the root
and poked his nose under after the acorn,
and there he saw a small round hole in
the ground. He slipped through and saw
some stairs going down into the earth.
The acorn was rolling down, with a soft
tapping sound, ahead of him, so down he
went too. Down, down, down, rolled the
acorn, and down, down, down, went the
Field Mouse, until suddenly he saw a tiny
door at the foot of the stairs.
The shiny acorn rolled to the door and
struck against it with a tap. Quickly the
little door opened and the acorn rolled
inside. The Field Mouse hurried as fast as
he could down the last stairs, and pushed
through just as the door was closing. It
shut behind him, and he was in a little
room. And there, before him, stood a
queer little Red Man! He had a little red
cap, and a little red jacket, and odd little
red shoes with points at the toes.
"You are my prisoner," he said to the
"What for?" said the Field Mouse.
"Because you tried to steal my acorn,"
said the little Red Man.
"It is my acorn," said the Field Mouse;
"I found it."
"No, it isn't," said the little Red Man,
"I have it; you will never see it again."
The little Field Mouse looked all about
the room as fast as he could, but he could
not see any acorn. Then he thought he
would go back up the tiny stairs to his own
home. But the little door was locked, and
the little Red Man had the key. And he
said to the poor mouse,--
"You shall be my servant; you shall
make my bed and sweep my room and
cook my broth."
So the little brown Mouse was the little
Red Man's servant, and every day he made
the little Red Man's bed and swept the
little Red Man's room and cooked the little
Red Man's broth. And every day the
little Red Man went away through the tiny
door, and did not come back till afternoon.
But he always locked the door after him,
and carried away the key.
At last, one day he was in such a hurry
that he turned the key before the door was
quite latched, which, of course, didn't lock
it at all. He went away without noticing,
--he was in such a hurry.
The little Field Mouse knew that his
chance had come to run away home. But
he didn't want to go without the pretty,
shiny acorn. Where it was he didn't know,
so he looked everywhere. He opened every
little drawer and looked in, but it wasn't
in any of the drawers; he peeped on every
shelf, but it wasn't on a shelf; he hunted
in every closet, but it wasn't in there.
Finally, he climbed up on a chair and
opened a wee, wee door in the chimney-
piece,--and there it was!
He took it quickly in his forepaws, and
then he took it in his mouth, and then he
ran away. He pushed open the little door;
he climbed up, up, up the little stairs; he
came out through the hole under the root;
he ran and ran through the fields; and at
last he came to his own house.
When he was in his own house he set
the shiny acorn on the table. I guess he
set it down hard, for all at once, with a little
snap, it opened!--exactly like a little box.
And what do you think! There was a
tiny necklace inside! It was a most beautiful
tiny necklace, all made of jewels, and
it was just big enough for a lady mouse.
So the little Field Mouse gave the tiny
necklace to his little Mouse-sister. She
thought it was perfectly lovely. And when
she wasn't wearing it she kept it in the
shiny acorn box.
And the little Red Man never knew what
had become of it, because he didn't know
where the little Field Mouse lived.