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´╗┐Title: Grasshopper Green and the Meadow Mice
Author: Rae, John, 1882-1963
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Grasshopper Green and the Meadow Mice" ***

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_and the_


       *       *       *       *       *


This is the story of the grasshopper who fiddled all summer and
didn't have any place to go when the cold winter wind began to
blow. "No, you can't live in my house this winter," said the
hard-hearted ant, but a family of field mice took in Grasshopper
Green and gave him gooseberry syrup for his cough and made him
very comfortable. Eyes will grow big at the exciting climax of
the story, when Grasshopper Green saves the mice children from a
big black cat.

This is another one of the Sunny Books, made for the special
delight of children by authors and artists who know and love
them, and who leave out fear, mischief, and cruelty. The story of
Grasshopper Green is full of lively humor and emphasizes the
virtues of kindness and generosity without moralizing.

This book is planned for children from six to nine years old. It
can be read to children of three and over.

       *       *       *       *       *



and the


Written and illustrated by

John Rae

Published by
Algonquin Publishing Company
New York

This Book is dedicated,

to Grasshoppers,


Fairies & Children:

especially to





Copyright MCMXXII
Algonquin Publishing Company
Copyright Great Britain MCMXXII



Of Course you know the story of "The Grasshopper and the
Ant"--how one autumn, when the winds were growing raw and cold
and the nights frosty, the poor Grasshopper, who hadn't done
anything but fiddle and dance all through the pleasant summer and
had nothing laid by for the hard winter, went to the thrifty Ant
and asked for a bite to eat and a chance to warm his toes in the
chimney corner. And how the tight-fisted Ant refused and said to
the shivering Grasshopper, "Keep on fiddling and dancing, it may
help to keep you warm!"

[Illustration: The tight-fisted Ant]

This always seemed to me _so_ cruel.

Now you've probably wondered, just as I used to, whatever finally
became of that Grasshopper.

Well, dear old Great-Grandfather Goodheart, who knows all about
such things, told me the story one rainy day as we sat by the
open fire roasting chestnuts. _I_ enjoyed it so much that I'm
sure _you_ will too.

Now, make yourself comfortable and cozy and listen.

After the sneering Ant had banged the door in his face,
Grasshopper Green felt, as you may imagine, miserable, forlorn
and friendless.

It was growing dark. He turned up the collar of his threadbare
claw-hammer coat and shuffled along over the frozen ground,
scarcely noticing where his benumbed feet were taking him.

He tried wrapping himself in a fallen leaf; it was red and looked
as though it might be warm. But, alas! it proved to be a very
thin covering against the biting, icy wind.

He tried to cheer himself up by playing on his little fiddle, but
his fingers were too cold to play lively, cheerful tunes.

At last, feeling too chilled and hungry and discouraged to go any
further, he sank down at the foot of an old apple tree. This was
some protection at least from the wintry blasts which, by now,
were moaning, "Whoo-ooh-whee-eeeh!" among the bare branches in a
very disheartening way.


Poor Grasshopper Green wrapped his leaf cape tightly about him
and, in spite of his chattering teeth, finally fell into an
uneasy sleep.

     He dreamed that he was wandering over an immense field of
     ice. Suddenly there appeared before him a little red table,
     upon which was a large yellow bowl of steaming, fragrant
     broth! Beside the table stood a chair, over the back of
     which was thrown a thick, fur-lined coat.

     Just as he reached for the coat, he heard a terrific
     howling, and the next moment a gigantic hand had swept past
     him, snatching away the coat and the soup, and so terrifying
     Grasshopper Green that he fell over backward--and awoke.

"Well, singe my whiskers, what's this? What's this?" he heard a
hearty voice exclaiming, and, looking up, was astonished to find
himself in the cosy home of a family of Meadow-Mice!

This is how it had happened. When Grasshopper Green sank down
exhausted among the roots of the old apple tree, he had not
noticed, in the darkness, that he was leaning against a small
door; this was the door of the home of the Meadow-Mouse family,
who lived here in a hollow part of the tree, near the roots.

An especially strong gust of wind had blown the door open and
tumbled Grasshopper Green into the room.

When he sat up and looked about he was not quite sure, at first,
that this was not just a part of his dream.

Father and Mother Meadow-Mouse and their four children,
Long-Tail, Sharp-Eyes, Pink-Ears, and Mouseykins, had finished
their supper of cornbread and cheese, and Father Meadow-Mouse was
telling of two narrow escapes he had had the night before, one
from a horned owl and one from Farmer Green's cat, Mouser. He had
just come to the most exciting part of his adventures and all
the family were listening with breathless interest, when the
door, which had been left unbolted, blew open, as I have told
you, and in tumbled poor Grasshopper Green.

Father and Mother Meadow-Mouse helped him over to their most
comfortable chair, by the fire, for the poor fellow was so
benumbed by the cold that he could hardly even stand alone.

While Grasshopper Green was explaining, in a wheezing voice,
interrupted by coughs, how it was that he had burst in on them so
rudely, Mother Meadow-Mouse filled a plate with food for him;
then, bustling over to a corner cupboard, she got down a little
jug of homemade Gooseberry syrup, poured some of it into a
pannikin and set this on the fire to heat, saying as she did so,
"There's nothing like warmed Gooseberry syrup to break up a


Father Meadow-Mouse would every now and then blow his nose and
exclaim, "Well, singe my whiskers and twist my tail!" just to
express his sympathy.

Of course the little Meadow-Mouse children looked on with the
greatest interest. When they saw their mother's treasured
Gooseberry juice brought out they all pretended to have coughs,
and Mother Meadow-Mouse good-naturedly gave them each a few

When famished Grasshopper Green had eaten all he could--which, of
course, seemed like very little to the big, hearty Meadow-Mice--and
when he had drunk the delicious Gooseberry juice, he sank back in the
comfortable chair with a contented sigh.

Just think how _heavenly_ it must have seemed to him, after having
been nearly frozen and starved to death, to be sitting cozily by a
warm hearth after a good supper! Father Meadow-Mouse was helping
Mother Meadow-Mouse to wash the supper dishes, which rattled in a
very homelike way. Long-Tail, Sharp-Eyes, Pink-Ears, and Mouseykins
had started droning their lessons for the next day.


"What a _wonderfully_ cheerful place this is," said Grasshopper
Green to himself, drowsily. "What beautiful blue furniture--and
what a fine red tablecloth--what delightful yellow
curtains--and what a good motto hanging over the mantle!
Then Grasshopper Green went fast asleep in the chair.

Father Meadow-Mouse carried him into the children's room, where
there was an old cradle which was about the right size for him,
for you see a grown-up Grasshopper is not much bigger than a baby

Good Father Meadow-Mouse then covered him up carefully with the
very warmest blanket from his own bed.


[Illustration: Part Two]

Grasshopper Green felt so much better when he awoke in the
morning, and a fine sunny morning it was, too, for the storm was
over. The kindness of the Meadow-Mice, even mere than the food
and warmth, had made him feel almost like himself again, and if
you've ever been acquainted with Grasshoppers, you know, of
course, how sprightly and happy they naturally are.

He was still rather weak, however; so Mother Meadow-Mouse, who
was a famous nurse, made him stay in bed and took care of him as
if he had been one of her own family.

She put a mustard-seed poultice on his chest, and gave him a
little hot corn gruel, and a drop or two of honey every two hours
for his hoarseness.

Grasshopper Green improved so rapidly that by the time the young
mice got home from school he was well enough to get up. I forgot
to tell you that Long-Tail, Sharp-Eyes, Pink-Ears and Mouseykins
were taught by a wise old grey mouse whom they called "Uncle."
"Uncle" lived in a nice stone house, a hole in the foundation of
a ruined barn, near-by.

[Illustration: A wise old Gray Mouse called "Uncle"]

They were all very merry that evening at the supper table. Jolly
Father Meadow-Mouse told them a rattling good yarn about the
adventures of some young water-rats who put to sea in an old pie
plate and determined to become pie-rats! (Your mother will
explain this little joke.)


After supper, while the youngsters were doing their lessons,
Grasshopper Green helped Father and Mother Meadow-Mouse with the
dishes. It made him feel very sad to think that he must soon be
leaving this pleasant household.

He thanked Father and Mother Meadow-Mouse for all their goodness,
and started to say that he ought to be leaving the next morning,
as he had nothing with which to pay for his keep, but Father
Meadow-Mouse interrupted him.

"You'll do no such thing," he exclaimed heartily. "Now you just
listen to me. If you want to pay us, you can do it in this way.
Give us all dancing lessons, and play us a lively tune on your
little fiddle now and then, for every one knows that all
Grasshoppers are wonderful dancers and fiddlers."

This plan, of course, just suited Grasshopper Green. In fact he
was so delighted at the prospect of spending the winter with the
merry, kind-hearted Meadow-Mice that he made a tremendous leap
which carried him clear to the other end of the room. A second
leap _almost_ landed him in a pan of dish-water!

In the midst of his caperings there was a knock at the door.

It was Mr. and Mrs. White-Mouse, old friends of the Meadow-Mice,
who had come to make a friendly call. Grasshopper Green had never
seen any White-Mice before, and he thought them very beautiful
and aristocratic with their pale complexions, ruby-colored eyes
and long pinky tails. (For White-Mice _do_ look that way, you

He learned later that they belonged to a little boy living in a
near-by farm house.[1]

[Footnote 1: This boy didn't keep the White-Mice in a cage but in
a fine little house with stairs like a very perfect doll's house.
His father helped him make it. These White-Mice were treated so
kindly that they never wanted to run away, though now and then
they would go to visit friends.]

Rap, tap, tap!--more guests arrived: three dainty little roadside
Fairies with these funny names, Sun-Flower-Seed, Thistle-Whistle,
and Ragged Sailor. (Fairies and Mice are usually very good
friends; in fact, Great-Grandfather Goodheart says--but I'll tell
you about that some other time.)

Grasshopper Green had met Ragged Sailor before. He was quite a
musician and carried his tiny golden accordion in the sailor
blouse he always wore.

It wasn't long before Grasshopper Green had his tiny fiddle tuned
up, and Ragged Sailor got out his accordion. Then they started
to play the liveliest little tunes you ever heard.

[Illustration: Fairies & Mice are usually very good Friends]

The rest of the party pushed the chairs and table back against
the wall, to make room for dancing and then--Bless your heart!
_What_ a good time they all had. I sometimes wish that I were
small enough to dance with a Fairy or a Mouse. Don't _you_?

First they played the Pansy Petal Polka--a great favorite with
the Fairies; then the Dragon Fly Dance and the Wheatfield

[Footnote 2: This is a very simple but beautiful little dance in which
all the dancers stand in a circle and sway like wheat-blades when the
gentle west wind passes over the field.]

They danced everything they could think of, from the ridiculous
Caterpillar Crawl to the lovely Moon-Moth Minuet, ending up with
the Grasshopper Hornpipe. In this dance, the object was to see
which dancer could leap the highest and crack his heels together
oftenest before he touched the floor.

[Illustration: They danced everything they could think of]

Sunflower Seed did this the best of all, for she had a pair of
beautiful striped wings, like a butterfly's, which enabled her to
stay in the air as long as she pleased.


The Meadow-Mouse Children, who had gone to bed soon after the
company came, were awakened by the noise of the Grasshopper
Hornpipe, which was the most boisterous of all the dances.

Everybody was in such good humor that the little Meadow-Mice were
allowed to stay up and come in, to join the fun.

Dancing so much had made everyone hungry; so Father Meadow-Mouse
got the corn popper and they popped, and popped, and popped, and
ate, and ate, and ate! I don't dare to tell you how much they
ate. Especially the four youngsters. The Fairies, too, seemed
very fond of the popcorn.

"It's such a nice change from rose pollen and honeysuckle juice,"
Thistle-Whistle remarked.

Well, finally, Mr. White-Mouse said, "We must really be going
now, for it's getting very late."

"And so must we," said the Fairies, and that pleasant evening
came to an end.

This, though, was only one of the many merry gatherings at the
home of the Meadow-Mice.

Even when no friends dropped in they had fine cosy evenings.

Sometimes they would all play games, sometimes Father
Meadow-Mouse would tell one of his entertaining stories, and
sometimes Mrs. Meadow-Mouse would sing while Grasshopper Green
accompanied her on his fiddle. Here's the chorus of one of her
quaint little songs:

[Illustration: Some like Blue and some like _Red_.

But I like _Yel-low_ when all is said.

Yes, give me _Yel-low_ if you please,

For _Yel-low_ is the color of

_Corn_ and _Cheese!_]

Although, during the winter, Grasshopper Green hardly ever dared
to go outdoors on account of the cold, which of course is very
dangerous to Grasshoppers, he had such happy times with his new
friends that the months passed very quickly.

[Illustration: Part Three]

Early one Saturday morning--it must have been about the end of
February--Father Meadow-Mouse looked out of the window and saw
that there had been quite a thaw during the night.

"Mother Meadow-Mouse," said he, "it is much warmer this morning,
and I think the ice that filled up that hole under Farmer Green's
corn-crib must be melted away. Now our larder is nearly empty; so
you and I'd better go over there right away and get some corn
before the squirrels wake up."

So Mother Meadow-Mouse put on her little dark blue shawl, and
Father Meadow-Mouse put on his little bright red muffler, and,
taking two sacks with them, they started off to get the corn.

Grasshopper Green stayed home with the children (the day being
Saturday, they didn't have to go to school), for in spite of the
thaw the weather was still too cold for him to safely venture

[Illustration: Making Everything spic and span]

"Now, children," said Grasshopper Green, "we'll wash the
breakfast dishes, and sweep and dust the room, and make
everything spic and span to surprise your Mother and Father when
they come back."

So Long-Tail, Sharp-Eyes, Pink-Ears and Mouseykins all put on
funny little blue aprons and fell to work, and in a very short
time the dishes were all washed and dried and the room was as
neat as a new pin.

When all the work was done, Grasshopper Green got out his fiddle
and said that it was time for a dancing lesson.

Oh, how the little Meadow-Mouse Children enjoyed dancing lessons!
Of course they couldn't equal the wonderful twirling leaps of
their teacher, Grasshopper Green, but they did very well, and you
should have seen how gracefully they waved their tails; and that
was something that Grasshopper Green couldn't do--for the reason,
of course, that he hadn't any tail to wave.

The first part of the lesson was over, and Grasshopper Green was
just starting to re-tune his little fiddle, when they heard a
creaking sound--as if someone were cautiously trying to push open
the front door, which was bolted on the inside.

Long-Tail, who happened to be standing near the little window,
peeped out to see who was there, then suddenly jumped back and
dived into the corner cupboard, squeaking in a trembly voice,
"It's Mouser!"

Now "Mouser" was Farmer Green's big, yellow-eyed, black cat!

Father Meadow-Mouse had once said to Grasshopper Green, "Our home
is so far away from the farmhouse and barn and is so well
disguised that there is really no danger of that terrible Mouser
ever finding it." But here he was at last!


Mouser, no doubt, had heard--perhaps the weasel who lived near-by
had told him--that Father and Mother Meadow-Mouse had both gone
out that morning, leaving the children alone.

He probably did not know that Grasshopper Green was there with
the little Meadow-Mice, though, of course, even if he had, he
wouldn't have thought anything of it. And what, indeed, could a
little Grasshopper do against a big cat?

There was only one thing he could do, Grasshopper Green decided,
and that was to go for help without a moment's delay. Now
Grasshopper Green knew that Thistle-Whistle, the Fairy, lived
with some rabbits in a rabbit-hole among the briars not far away,
and he was sure that Thistle-Whistle, who was quite a powerful
Fairy, could in some way drive off Mouser and rescue the little

[Illustration: Thistle Whistle lived with some Rabbits]

So, not even stopping to put on a muffler, he raised the window
very quietly and hopped out.

Mouser was intent on trying to open the door by clawing and
pushing, and didn't notice the window at all.

Then you should have seen Grasshopper Green's tremendous leaps!
You may be sure he went faster than any Grasshopper had ever
hopped before. Warmed by his excitement and exertions, he didn't
feel the cold a bit.

He soon reached the rabbit-hole. Alas! The Fairy was not there.
As Grasshopper Green turned to go, he spied a small chest
standing near the door. At the sight of this a brilliant idea
immediately popped into his head!

Now listen! In that chest were some tiny black pellets, about the
size of mustard seeds.[3]

[Footnote 3: Thistle-Whistle and Grasshopper Green had become
great friends that winter and the Fairy had told Grasshopper
Green about these Magic Pellets; you swallowed one of them and
then wished yourself any size you wished to be--as small as a
Flea or as big as an Elephant, or any size in between.]

Snatching up two or three of the magic seeds, he jumped out of
the hole and hopped back to the hollow apple tree even faster
than he had come. He got in by way of the little window and
immediately swallowed one of the pellets, then wished himself as
large as a bull-dog!

It was fortunate for him that he didn't choose any larger size
than that, for as it was, his head just bumped the ceiling.

Not more than two seconds after Grasshopper Green had changed his
size, Mouser managed to burst open the door!

[Illustration: What a strange-looking Monster he would be!]

At the sight that met his eyes, the Cat was nearly paralyzed with
surprise. And no wonder.

Although a Grasshopper is usually a very good natured little
fellow he has a really terrifying face, but we don't notice it
because he's so small.

Look very closely at one sometime and then try to imagine what a
strange looking monster he would be if he were as big as a dog!

Great-Grandfather Goodheart said, when he told me the story, that
Mouser never stopped running until he got to the next village,
five miles away, and that he shrieked out to every animal he
passed on the way that he had seen a dragon!

At any rate, he was never seen about Farmer Green's place again.
And that certainly was a great relief to all the Meadow-Mice, I
can tell you.

As soon as Mouser had disappeared in the distance, Grasshopper
Green swallowed another pellet and wished himself back to his
usual size. Then he called to the Meadow-Mouse children to come
out of their hiding places and told them the good news. For
Long-Tail and Sharp-Eyes had been squeezed in the cupboard and
Pink-Ears and Mouseykins under the bed all this time.

Pretty soon Father and Mother Meadow-Mouse returned with their
sacks full of corn.

When they heard that Mouser had been so frightened that he would
probably never come back to worry them, you can guess how happy
they were and how they capered about.

They sent out invitations right away for a fine big party in
honor of Grasshopper Green, who was, of course, the hero of the

[Illustration: Good Night]

       *       *       *       *       *



It is the Algonquin ideal that books should make children happy
and build character unconsciously and should contain nothing to
cause fright, suggest fear, glorify mischief, excuse malice or
condone cruelty.

The six books in the present series of Sunny Books are:

101 _Little Slam Bang_

An elephant child and his jungle friends meet a hungry tiger.

102 _Merry Murphy_

The jolly adventures of an Irish potato.

103 _Honey Bear_

The jolly story in rhyme of a baby and a bear who have a sticky

104 _Grasshopper Green and the Meadow Mice_

About the things that happen down in the grass.

105 _The Dinky Ducklings_

Two ducks go visiting, with lots of happenings on the way.

106 _Sunny Bunny_

Nina Wilcox Putnam tells about Sunny Bunny and his ten children,
who have to find a new home.


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