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´╗┐Title: Perez the Mouse
Author: Coloma, Luis, 1851-1915
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 "Perez the Mouse" ***

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PEREZ THE MOUSE

by

PADRE LOUIS COLOMA and LADY MORETON


PEREZ THE MOUSE

    [Illustration: Perez the Mouse took off his hat
    and made a very low bow]


PEREZ THE MOUSE

Adapted from the Spanish of

PADRE LUIS COLOMA

by

LADY MORETON

   [Silhouette]

With Illustrations by George Howard Vyse



London: John Lane The Bodley Head
New York: Dodd, Mead & Company

First published in 1914
Reprinted  -  1918
Reprinted  -  1927
Reprinted  -  1929
Reprinted  -  1935

Printed in Great Britain
by Western Printing Services Ltd., Bristol



LIST OF COLOURED PLATES


  Perez the Mouse took off his hat
    and made a very low bow            _Frontispiece_
  King Bubi the First                   _face p._ vi
  The Oldest of Court Doctors                      9
  Miss Stilton, the Governess                     11
  A tiny little mouse in a straw hat
    and slippers and big gold spectacles          15
  Adolphus studying for Diplomacy                 16
  Adelaide made tea                               17
  The King sneezed very hard and turned into
    the most darling little mouse you ever saw    18
  Perez the Mouse stopped at some crossway        22
  Mrs. Mouse was embroidering a beautiful
    smoking cap for her husband                   24
  Adolphus playing cards at the Jockey Club       25
  The Guards silently formed up ready to fire     28
  Ferocious mice .. armed to the teeth            29
  The Order of the Golden Fleece                  32
  The King and Perez knelt down too               33
  The dreadful Don Pedro                          36
  Elvira recited                                  40


    [Illustration: King Bubi the First]



PEREZ THE MOUSE



Once upon a time there lived a king called Bubi the First, who
was very kind to poor children and mice. For the children he
built a factory for making dolls and cardboard horses, for the
benefit of the mice he made wise laws to stop cats catching
them, and absolutely forbade the use of mouse-traps. Bubi began
to reign when he was only six years old, under the care of his
mother, who was very good and clever, and who watched over him
and guided his steps, as good children are guided by their
Guardian Angel.

    [Illustration: The oldest of the Court Doctors]

Bubi was a darling little boy, and when on great days they put
on his gold crown and his embroidered robes, the gold of his
crown was not brighter than his hair nor the ermine of his robes
softer than his cheeks and hands. He was just like a little
Dresden china figure which had been put to sit on a throne
instead of standing on the chimney piece.

One day while the King was eating his bread and milk, one of
his teeth began to wobble. There was a great fuss and the Court
doctors arrived in a hurry.  *  They were all agreed that His
Majesty had begun to change his teeth, and at length they
settled to pull out the loose one. They wanted the King to have
laughing gas, as he did when his hair was cut, as he always
fidgeted so, but Bubi was a brave little boy and made up his
mind to have it out with nothing. The oldest of the Court
doctors tied a bit of red silk round the tooth, and then gave a
tweak, and he pulled so cleverly that, while the King was making
a face, out came the tooth as round and white as a little pearl.

Then there was another fuss as to what was to be done with it,
but Bubi's mother, who, as we have said was a very wise Queen
and very loyal to old customs, settled that the King should
write a very polite letter and put it with the tooth in an
envelope under his pillow that night, which has always been the
proper thing to do ever since the world began, and no one has
ever known Perez the Mouse forget to come and fetch the tooth
and leave a lovely present in its place.

    [Illustration: Miss Stilton, the Governess]

King Bubi found writing that letter a dreadful task, but he
managed really quite well in the end, and only inked all his
fingers, the tip of his nose, his left ear, his right shoe and
his bib.

He went to bed very early that evening, and ordered that all the
lights should be left in his room. He put the envelope under his
pillow and sat up in bed, determined to keep awake to see Perez
the Mouse, even if he had to wait all night.

    [Silhouette]



Perez the Mouse was a long time coming, so the little King began
to make up a little speech to say to him when he did arrive.
After a bit Bubi began to open his eyes very wide, fighting
against the miller who was trying to make him shut them; but
they did shut at last, and the little boy slipped down into the
warm bed-clothes, his head on the pillow, with one arm over it,
as a little bird tucks its head under its wing when it goes to
sleep.

Suddenly he felt something very soft just tickling his forehead,
and, sitting up quickly, he saw in front of him, standing on the
pillow, a tiny little mouse in a straw hat and slippers and big
gold spectacles; a red satchel was slung across his back.

    [Illustration: A tiny little mouse in a straw hat
    and slippers and big gold spectacles]

King Bubi stared at him in astonishment, and Perez the Mouse,
seeing that His Majesty was awake, took off his hat and made
a very low bow, waiting to be spoken to. But the King said
nothing, because he had quite forgotten all he had made up to
say, and after thinking and thinking he faltered out at last
'Good night.'  *  Perez answered with a low bow, 'God give your
Majesty a very good one.'  *  These civil speeches quite broke
the ice, and the King and the mouse became the greatest friends.
 *  It was easy to see that Perez was a mouse who was accustomed
to polite society, and to run about on soft carpets, as he had
such very good manners.  *  It was wonderful what a lot of
things he could talk about which made him a very pleasant
companion.  *  He had travelled through all the pipes and drains
of the capital, and in the Royal Library alone he had eaten up
three books in less than a week.  *  He talked too about his
family. He had two quite grown-up daughters, Adelaide and
Elvira, and a son, nearly grown up, called Adolphus, who was
studying for diplomacy in the drawer where the Minister of State
kept his most secret notes. He did not say much about Mrs.
Mouse, and the little King somehow fancied that she was rather
vulgar.

    [Illustration: Adolphus studying for Diplomacy]

His Majesty listened to all this with his mouth open, from time
to time he put out his hand to try and catch Perez by the tail.
*  But each time the mouse gave a sort of whisk and placed his
tail out of reach, without being in the least rude.

    [Illustration: Adelaide made Tea]

It was getting late, and the King forgot to dismiss him; so Mr.
Mouse cleverly hinted that he had to go that same night to a
street not far off to fetch the tooth of a very poor little boy
called Giles. It was rather a difficult, dangerous journey,
because near there lived a very wicked cat called Don Pedro.
The King at once wanted to go too, and begged Perez to take him.
The mouse stood thinking it over and twisting his whiskers; the
responsibility was very great, and moreover he was obliged to go
back to his own house to fetch the present for little Giles. The
King said he would like to go and see the mouse's home, which so
much flattered Perez that he at once offered him a cup of tea
and agreed to take him to see little Giles. Perez the Mouse
lived underneath a grocer's shop, near a big pile of Gruyere
cheeses which supplied the whole family with breakfast, dinner
and tea. Overjoyed, King Bubi jumped out of bed and began to
dress himself, when all at once Perez the Mouse sprang on his
shoulder and put the tip of his tail into His Majesty's nose.  *
Then a wonderful thing happened, the King sneezed very hard and
turned into the most darling little mouse you ever saw. He was
all soft and shiny, and had wee green eyes like emeralds.  *
Perez the Mouse took him by the paw and disappeared with him
down a tiny hole under the bed, which had been hidden by the
carpet.

    [Illustration: The King sneezed very hard and turned into
    the most darling little mouse you ever saw]

The way was dark and sticky, but they scampered along. Sometimes
Perez the Mouse stopped at some crossway and looked about before
going on, which rather frightened the King and made him feel
little shivers right down to the tip of his tail, and he knew
that he was afraid, but he remembered that:

  'Fear is natural to the prudent,
  To conquer it is to be courageous,'

so he would not let himself be frightened, which is being really
brave.

Once when he heard a tremendous noise, like dozens of motor
omnibuses passing over his head, he whispered to ask Perez if
that was where Don Pedro lived, but Mr. Mouse said no with his
tail, and on they went.

After going down a gentle slope they came to a big cellar which
felt nice and warm and smelt very much of cheese; behind a pile
of Gruyere cheese they found themselves face to face with the
Huntley and Palmer biscuit tin which was the home of the Perez
family. Here they lived as happily as the rat of fable did in
the Dutch cheese. Perez the Mouse introduced the King as a
foreign tourist who was on a visit to the capital, and the
family welcomed him very cordially. The two Miss Mouses were at
work with their Governess, Miss Stilton, who was a very learned
English mouse, and Mrs. Mouse was embroidering a beautiful
smoking cap for her husband, sitting by a bright fire made of
raisin stalks.

This happy family party delighted King Bubi.  *  Adelaide and
Elvira made tea and poured out some into lovely wee cups made
out of the skins of white beans.  *  Then they had a little
music. Adelaide sang Desdemona's song, 'O Willow Willow,' in
a way which much pleased the King, and Elvira recited about a
little mouse who was ill of fever, and a naughty kitten who
wanted to pounce on it. After this Adolphus came in from the
Jockey Club where, to the sorrow of his father and mother, he
wasted all his time playing cards with the mice from the foreign
embassies.

    [Illustration: Perez the Mouse stopped at some crossway]

King Bubi would willingly have stayed longer, but Perez, who had
slipped away, came back with his satchel on his back and said it
was time to start.  *  So the King said goodbye very politely,
and Mrs. Mouse gave him a kiss on each cheek in her homely way.
*  Adelaide put out a paw in a lackadaisical fashion, and Elvira
shook hands like a pump handle, while Miss Stilton made him a
beautiful cheese of a curtsey, and then stared at him through
her eyeglass until he was out of sight.  *  Adolphus, too, was
very gushing, and conducted him as far as the lid of the tin,
and offered to introduce him at the Polo Club, for which the
King thanked him very much, thinking all the time that, though
he might be a very smart young mouse, he was rather a bore. Then
Bubi and Perez the Mouse again began their scamper with such a
quantity of precautions that the King was astonished.

    [Illustration: Mrs. Mouse was embroidering
    a beautiful smoking cap for her husband]

In front of them went a regiment of ferocious mice, soldiers
whose bayonets made of fine needles gleamed in the darkness.
Behind them came a second regiment, also armed to the teeth.

Perez the Mouse then confessed that he would not have undertaken
this expedition without these soldiers to protect the person of
the young monarch.

All of a sudden King Bubi saw the guard in front had disappeared
down a little hole, through which came a faint light.

    [Illustration: Adolphus playing cards at the Jockey Club]

This was the moment of danger. Perez the Mouse, slowly waggling
his tail from side to side, put his head very cautiously through
the hole and looked around; he then went back two steps, and
finally, suddenly seizing the King's paw, dashed through the
hole like an arrow, crossed a big kitchen, and disappeared
through another hole on the opposite side near the range. As one
sees telegraph posts out of the train so Bubi saw that kitchen.
By the hearth, in the glow of the fire, lay an enormous cat, the
dreadful Don Pedro, its great whiskers heaving up and down as it
breathed.

The guards silently formed up, from hole to hole, ready to fire,
to protect the King's route from the sleeping cat. It was all
very grand and imposing. An ugly old woman sat in a chair, also
asleep, with her knitting on her knee.

Once through the hole the danger was over, and they had only to
get upstairs, as this was where little Giles lived. Everything
was open in his poor room, which was all cracks and draughts.

King Bubi scrambled on to the arm of a seatless chair, the only
one in the room, and from there could see a picture of poverty
such as he had never dreamt of.

The sloping roof joined the floor, so that on one side a man
could not have stood upright, and through the holes the cold air
of dawn was coming, while icicles hung from the roof. The only
furniture besides the chair was an empty bread basket hanging
up, and in a corner a bed of straw and rags, on which little
Giles and his mother were lying fast asleep.

Perez the Mouse drew nearer, taking the King by the paw, and
they could see how little Giles was huddled up in the rags, and
how he was cuddled up against his mother for warmth, and it made
the King so unhappy that he began to cry.

    [Illustration: The Guards silently formed up ready to fire]

Why had he never known that people were so poor? How was it that
he had never been told that children were hungry and had to
sleep on horrid beds? He did not want any blankets on his cot
till every child in his kingdom had plenty of bed-clothes to
keep them warm.

    [Illustration: Ferocious mice . . . . armed to the teeth]

Perez the Mouse brushed away a tear with his paw and then tried
to comfort the King by showing him the bright gold coin he was
going to put under little Giles' pillow in exchange for his
first tooth.

Just then Giles' mother woke and sat up in bed and looked at her
little boy, who was still asleep. It was becoming light, and she
had to earn some money by washing clothes in the river.  *  She
caught the sleeping Giles in her arms and made him kneel down
under a picture of the Infant Christ which was pinned to the
wall near the bed.

The King and Perez the Mouse knelt down too, and so did the
soldier mice who were waiting in the empty bread basket. The
child began to pray, 'Our Father which art in Heaven.'

Bubi started and looked at Perez the Mouse, who understood his
astonishment, and fixed his piercing eyes on him, but never said
a single word.

    [Silhouette]



On the return journey they were silent and preoccupied, and half
an hour later the King was home in his nursery with Perez the
Mouse, who again put the tip of his tail into Bubi's nose and
made him sneeze. All at once he found himself safely back again
in his own warm little cot, with the Queen's arms round him, who
woke him, as she always did, with a kiss.

    [Illustration: The Order of the Golden Fleece]

At first he thought it had all been a dream; but when he looked
for the letter he had put under his pillow, he found it was
gone, and in its place was a case with the Order of the Golden
Fleece in diamonds, a magnificent present from the generous
Perez the Mouse in exchange for his first tooth. (Perhaps I had
better explain to English children that in King Bubi's country
the Order of the Golden Fleece is like our Order of the Garter,
the greatest honour the King can give.)

    [Illustration: The King and Perez the Mouse knelt down too]

The little King, however, paid no attention to his beautiful
present, and let it lie unnoticed on the bed, while, leaning on
his elbow, he lay very busy thinking.  *  Then, suddenly, he
asked the Queen in a very solemn voice, 'Mama! Why do poor
children say the same prayer as I do, "Our Father which art
in Heaven"?' The Queen answered, 'Because He is as much their
Father as He is yours.' Then said the King thoughtfully, 'We
must be brothers.' 'Yes, my darling, they are your brothers,'
answered the Queen.  *  Bubi's eyes were filled with astonishment,
and, in a choky voice, he asked, 'Then why am I a King and have
everything I want, while they are poor and have nothing?'

The Queen gave him a squeeze, and, kissing him again on his
forehead, said, 'Because you are the eldest brother, which is
what being King really means.  *  You understand, darling? God
has given you everything in order that your younger brothers
should want for nothing.' 'I never knew this before,' said Bubi,
shaking his head, and, without thinking any more about his
present, he began to say his prayers, as he did every morning;
and, as he prayed, it seemed to him that all the poor little
boys in the kingdom came round him with their hands clasped, and
that he, the eldest brother, spoke for them all when he prayed
'Our Father which art in Heaven.'

King Bubi grew up to be a great ruler.  *  He always asked God's
help in all he did, and returned thanks for his happiness, ever
saying, speaking for all his subjects, poor and rich, good and
bad, 'Our Father which art in Heaven'; and when he died, a very
old man, and his good soul arrived at the gates of Heaven, he
knelt down and prayed as usual, 'Our Father.' And, as he prayed,
the gates were opened wide by thousands of poor little children
to whom he had been King, that is to say, eldest brother here on
earth.

    [Illustration: The dreadful Don Pedro]

    [Silhouette]



P.S.


The Spanish story which was written, once upon a time, to amuse
a real little boy King, ends here; but I cannot help adding that
it does seem a pity not to try and get Perez the Mouse to come
to England.  *  The only way to manage this will be to take
great pains over your copies and spelling, so that when your
first tooth comes out you will be able to write a nice, tidy,
polite letter to him. If you put it under your pillow at night I
am nearly sure you will find it gone and a present in its place
in the morning. Perhaps you may even feel the same little soft
tickle on your forehead that King Bubi did; but I do not promise
for certain that you will see kind Mr. Mouse, because he is
rather shy.

  A.M.M.

    [Silhouette]

    [Illustration: Elvira recited]



       *       *       *       *       *



Errata (noted by transcriber)

  [Illustration: King Bubi the First]  [Rubi]

  [List of Plates:]
  The Oldest of the Court Doctors
    [_"the" supplied to agree with figure caption_]

The punctuation of "Ferocious mice..." is unchanged.

King "Bubi" was Alfonso XIII of Spain (1886-1941). The story was
written at his mother's request in 1894.





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