Muesli stories

Many years ago, I wrote a series of stories to read to our 8 or 9 year old son, and to a teenage girl who often stayed with us. In their way, the stories figured the four of us: Muesli, a lost mouse,  Runny Babbit (a long-suffering rabbit) and Hedgepig (a bumbling hedgehog), who took her in, and Squidge their adventuresome squirrel son (biological principles not being a strict requirement of the stories). And like  many stories for children, they contained a message, and were really grown up stories told in a childish way, or perhaps children’s stories for adults.

Links to the stories will shortly appear at the links below:

Muesli finds a home

Once upon a time there was a tiny grey house-mouse. Her name was Muesli and she lived in a muesli packet in the corner of a pantry in a terraced house next to a big main road, on the edge of town.
She was a pretty little mouse, with a busy, wrinkled nose and small soft whiskers that always seemed to be twitching an trembling. But it was not with excitement or happiness that her whiskers trembled, for Muesli was a sad little mouse . . .

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Muesli’s first Christmas

There must have been Christmases before. But Muesli couldn’t remember them. Or at least she could remember nothing like this:
all the bustle and preparation, and promises of presents, and thinking of and finding things to give each other, and hiding away in corners to wrap them up, and wondering what you might get. And the baking of a huge Christmas cake full of nuts and seeds, and the mixing of the Christmas pudding, and all the wishes, silently and secretly to yourself – though Muesli’s wish was the same over and over again . . .

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Muesli goes caving

As soon as Hedgepig got up that morning, Runny Babbit knew that it was going to be one of those days, and wished that he hadn’t. It was something in the way he leaped out of bed and tripped over his carpet slippers then trod in the glass of water which he’d put on the floor the previous night that told her.

And in the way that, when he was on the floor, he didn’t just curl up and go to sleep again as he normally did, but lay there with a silly grin on his face and said, “Oops! Silly me!” And the way, as she stepped over him to go downstairs to make breakfast, he gave her little white tail, which she’d just taken out of curlers and was all soft and fluffy, the cheekiest of tweaks. And above all, it was the way, when he came down himself, he managed to fall down the last three steps, then lay at the bottom of the stairs contentedly whistling . . .

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The cheering up of Hedgepig

That winter it was as though the whole forest was sad. The sky frowned down on everyone, and day after day the sun stole away and refused to come out. The fields drew a grey cloak around themselves for comfort, and even the trees stood drooping and bowed or, at night, tossed and turned restlessly and moaned quietly to themselves.

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Muesli goes on a treasure hunt

“I say,” said Squidge from the top of the first tree.

“I’ve an idea,” he said from the top of the next tree.

“Don’t you think,” he called from the top of the third tree.”

“It’s time we had another adventure,” he sang from the tops of the fourth, fifth and sixth trees, and the first tree again.

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Muesli organises a protest (and becomes an endangered species)

The news came to the forest like a cold wind. And like the wind, no-one knew exactly where it came from, or quite when it started. Some thought it came from this-a-way on that day, and others said it came from that-a-way on the other day. But afterwards most agreed that it had been the day that Hedgepig returned from his Busyness Trip to the City.  And one or two of the younger sparrows and starlings, who claimed as they always did to have heard the news first, recounted how they’d watched him shambling across the field, then going back to pick up the suitcase he had left behind when he climbed over the stile, and tripping over one of Mordred’s old molehills, and picking himself up and dusting himself down with his hat, and forgetting his suitcase again, and eventually arriving on the other side of the field by the gate, grumbling fiercely – and it was about then that they seemed have known the dreadful news . . .

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Muesli meets Father Christmas

Suddenly it was Christmas again; or rather, it was that time that is almost better than Christmas – almost-Christmas-time.  Muesli knew it was here, for although she hadn’t yet learned to read the calendar (or was it the colander?) and had lost count of the days since last Christmas at somewhere around number seventy-nine, there were those unmistakeable signs.

It wasn’t only that Squidge seemed to be even more excitable than ever and kept asking what day it was; or that Runny Babbit came home with even bigger basketfuls of shopping, most of which she hid in the very back of the pantry; or even the sound of the male-goat choir practising its carols. No, most of all it was the sight of Dog-Dog, walking around with a sprig of holly in his collar and a piece of tinsel in his tail. That, and the way Hedgepig would pick up his slippers, hold one up to the light and look through the hole in the sole and sigh; or say  nonchalantly: “One day I really must treat myself to a new woolly scarf,” or would rub his hands and say, “Ooh – I wish I had some gloves.”

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Muesli’s letter

Muesli held the letter in her hand and once more studied the envelope.

Miss Muesli Mouse, ℅. Hedgepig and Runny Babbit, Runny Babbit’s Burrow (and Hedgepig’s), The Big Wood, England, she read.

It was the first letter she had ever received. The first real one that is, for she didn’t count the birthday card that Ferodo Frog had given to Squidge to give to her because he was too shy to deliver it himself.
Or the twenty-three Valentine’s cards that Hedgepig had sent her so that she wouldn’t feel left out when he received all his (though as it happened, he’d only got one himself that year, and that was from Runny Babbit and had a joke in it that he didn’t seem to understand, so he’d just sulked all day). Or the circulars from the Reader’s Digest that came every month telling her that she, personally had been selected from millions of others to have the chance to win a holiday for two in Casbalanca – though she never did.

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Jottings and ruminations of a New Zealand writer