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´╗┐Title: Grandmother Puss, or, The grateful mouse
Author: Unknown
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 "Grandmother Puss, or, The grateful mouse" ***

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         McLoughlin Brothers. New-York.

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I wish that all the little boys and girls who read
this story could _see_ Grandmother Puss; but as they
cannot, I will tell you something about her. She is
a very large, and handsome old cat of grave aspect,
and solemn manners. Her face is black, with white
marks around the eyes, and across the nose, which
make her look as if she wore spectacles; and she has
a grandson called Peter, who lives with her.

When Peter was but six weeks old, he was left an
orphan; for some very, very wicked dog had killed
his mother! Grandmother Puss at once took the lonely
kitten to her heart, with many tears, sharing her
milk with him; and as he grew larger, giving him the
fattest and most tender mice, she could catch.

I think she spoiled him, as other Grandmothers do.
He never watched for mice, and did nothing to earn
his own living, but passed his time chiefly in
chasing his own tail, and other vain and foolish
amusements. Now, there was an old gray rat who lived
in a hole, in the cellar. He was always up to some
kind of mischief--had spoiled a great deal of milk,
and carried off all the cheese he could get his paws
on--once he was even seen trying to get away with an
egg, which he was rolling gently toward his hole!

He did so much harm, and was so very knowing and
sly, that at last Grandmother Puss declared, with
tears in her eyes, that she would neither taste,
touch, nor handle a single mouse, until she had
caught the old gray robber. And she kept her word.
She sometimes sat a whole night, watching for the
old rogue, but although she often saw him, she could
never catch him.

There was also a cunning little mouse, who lived
near by. He was called Cooky, because he was once
seen lugging off a whole cooky, to give to his lame
sister. Now, the wicked old rat tried nearly as hard
to catch poor Cooky as Grandmother Puss did to get
the old rat; and Cooky was more afraid of the grim
old rat, than he was of the cat herself. One night
Cooky saw the rat at one end of the cellar, very
busy, eating a piece of cheese that he had stolen.
So Cooky betook himself to the other end, where he
had seen some fine apples, and he was very fond of
apples, indeed.

So he crept softly up to the heap, and was just
about to taste a fine, juicy one, when the cat saw
him. "I said, I would not touch, or taste a mouse,"
she said, "but I did _not_ say I would not scare
one, and I cannot see these nice apples spoiled--so
here goes." With these words, she made a rush for
the mouse, making all the noise she could; which is
not usual with cats, you know, which go very softly,
in order not to scare the mice before they can catch

Cooky, of course, darted away to his hole in a hury,
and there peeped out carefully. "Now," said he to
himself, "that cat has a kind look; I've a good mind
to try, and make a bargain with her, so that I can
get something to eat once in a while. Perhaps I can
make her promise not to eat me, but it will do no
harm to try, and everybody knows that Grandmother
Puss is a cat of her word." So just as Puss was
about to start for the other end of the cellar,
for a tussle with the old rat, she heard a small
squeaking voice, which said, "Please, Grandmother
Puss, I want to make a bargain with you." "A bargain
with _me!_" said Puss, looking about in surprise for
the small voice. "What do you mean?"

"Why, I want to come into the cellar whenever I
like, and eat whatever scraps I can find, besides
taking away a little for my poor, lame sister. Now,
if you will let me do so, and promise not to hurt
me, I will do anything in the world that you ask me
to do--that is _right_--and that I am able to do."

  [Illustration: The Old Rat Stealing Cheese.]

This was a big speech for a little mouse, but
Grandmother Puss only thought how Cooky could help
her in the matter of catching the old gray rat. She
turned it over in her mind for some time, keeping
one eye on Cooky, who, in his eagerness, had come
outside his hole, and at last said: "Do you know Mr.
Gray Rat, Cooky?" "Yes, Madame," said Cooky, with
great politeness. "Do you know where he is now?"
pursued Pussy. "Yes, Madame, I think I do," replied
Cooky, growing bolder every minute. "Well," said
Grandmother Puss, solemnly, "that rat has caused my
good mistress a great deal of trouble, and if you
can in any way tempt him within my reach, so that I
can catch him, I promise never to harm you, or to
allow my grandson, Peter, to do so." "It's a
bargain," said Cooky, "you hide here behind this
box, and when you see me run by, with the rat after
me, you can give one spring, and catch the rogue;
but please be quick about it, or he may catch _me_."

  [Illustration: Death of the Old Rat.]

So Puss hid behind the box; Cooky went as near old
Gray Rat's hole as he dared, then, giving a
frightened squeak, as though he had just caught
sight of his enemy, turned and ran with all his
speed toward the place where Puss lay concealed. The
old rat heard Cooky's squeak, and was after him in a
moment squealing out, "I'll have you now, master
Cooky, and you'll make me a nice supper." But long
before he could reach Cooky, Grandmother Puss
pounced upon the gray old rascal, and tore him to
pieces in a trice, though I fear she found her prize
too tough for dinner! Then Puss told Cooky to come
and drink milk from her dish, which he did, and then
ran off, well pleased, to his hole, taking some
bread with him to feed his poor, lame sister.

Although Grandmother Puss thought her grandson.
Peter, much too lazy to try and catch Cooky, still
she thought it safer to forbid him to go near him,
or to disturb him in any way. Now Peter didn't want
to catch Cooky, or any other mouse, so long as he
was free to do so.

But as soon as Grandmother Puss told him to let
little Cooky alone, and never to go near her, or
frighten her; Peter was at once seized with a
violent wish to do that very thing. I am sorry to
say, that many little children who should know how
to behave much better than Peter; very often feel
the same desire to do what they know is wrong. So
Peter now thought that Cooky must be the sweetest
and tenderest mouse alive. The more he thought of
him, the more his mouth watered for him. He did not
believe his Grandma would punish him much, even if
she found him out.

He even tried to persuade himself that his Grandma
was merely fattening Cooky up for her own use; and
intended to eat him herself as soon as he was in
good condition!

This went on for some time, until at last Peter's
desire to taste Cooky grew too strong for him. So
one day, he went softly down the stairs and hid
himself, to wait for Cooky's daily visit to the box.
He thought he was alone in the cellar, but he was
mistaken--Grandma Puss was not far off, watching for
any stray rat who might come that way.

She saw Peter, and wondered what he was about. She
soon found out. In a short time poor Cooky came out
to get his dinner, with no thought of danger in his
mind. Quick as a flash, the wicked Peter grabbed
him! Luckily for Cooky, Peter thought he would worry
his victim a little before eating him, as cats often
do; and so while he was letting poor Cooky run a
little way, and then catching him again; Grandma
Puss, who had seen the whole thing, crept slyly up,
and in a moment, the astonished Peter was rolling
upon the floor, from the effects of a box on the ear
from his enraged Grandmother.

  [Illustration: Grandma Puss, punishes Peter.]

Cooky, of course, got back to his hole with great
speed. He was not much hurt, and as soon as he felt
himself safe, he looked out, and saw Puss giving
Peter a cuffing and shaking that did his little
heart good; and which Peter remembered as long as he
lived. Grandma then told him, that in future he must
catch his own mice, and as that gave him plenty to
do, and kept wicked thoughts out of his mind, he
grew up to be an ornament to his race. He is a smart
cat now, catches mice for his Grandma as well as
himself; and is much thought of in the very highest
circles of society.


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           *       *       *       *


  darted away to his hole in a hury,  [spelling unchanged]
  he grew up to be an ornament to his race  ["an / an" at line break]
  Grandma Puss, punishes Peter  [comma as shown]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Grandmother Puss, or, The grateful mouse" ***

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