A Cozy New Home
by Yasmin Croxford
Mouse was outside. It was dark, it was raining, and it was cold. The soaked mouse stumbled across a dinky door in the side of a very large wall. Finding the door unlocked it crept inside to shelter.
Mouse didn’t know where it was. It was quiet and Mouse thought it was alone, so it decided to explore.
Mouse’s feet made tiny little tapping noises as they tip-toed over the wooden floor. There were many mysterious items in the room casting long spooky shadows. As Mouse made its way across the room, its nose began to twitch. ‘I know that smell,’ thought Mouse, ‘it’s CHEESE.’
Mouse scuttled in the direction of the glorious cheesy smell. But look as hard as it could, Mouse could not find any cheese. Instead it found a large dark hole with the most tempting smell escaping from it.
‘I’m going in,’ thought Mouse, and as bold as a bear the Mouse went down the dark, cheese smelling hole.
But once inside the Mouse was disappointed. Still no cheese. But the dark hole was warm, it smelt delightful, and there was no rainwater. Mouse decided to stay there for the night and it settled down for a sleep.
In the morning, the mouse got a terrible shock. Suddenly it was woken by five large hairy toes pushing it up against the sides of the hole. Mouse was not happy, and it took a big bite out of a toe.
As quick as a flash the hairy toes shot back out of the hole. Mouse looked up, and to it’s amazement there staring at him was a very large man.
‘What did you do that for?’ asked the large man frowning.
‘You squashed me,’ replied the mouse, trembling so much it shivered.
‘Well, you didn’t have to bite me,’ replied the large man.
Mouse crept up the hole and realised he was inside a very, very large boot. And a sockless giant was rubbing his sore toe.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Mouse ‘but I didn’t know I was in your boot’.
‘Well it hurt,’ was the reply. ‘What are you doing in there anyway?’
‘I was cold and wet and your boot smells of cheese. It seemed like the most wonderful place to sleep.’
The gigantic man laughed, and his laugh was so deep it made the ground under the mouse shake.
‘Wonderful Smell!’ And with that the giant leant down and sniffed inside his own boot. Mouse could see all the hairs in the giant’s nose wave as he took in a big sniff.
‘Why blow me, you’re right, it does smell of cheese,’ said the giant smiling, ‘I’m pleased you like it.’
With that the giant man and mouse both laughed.
‘You can sleep in my boot if you want, but you must promise not to bite my toes again. Is it a deal?’
Mouse agreed and although his tummy rumbled, he had made a friend.
‘My name is Moses,’ said the giant.
Mouse explained about being caught out in the rain, and Moses listened with great interest.
‘I am so pleased to have someone to talk to,’ said Moses. ‘No one ever talks to me here.’
Mouse looked around. It was indeed a very confusing place, there was stuff everywhere and it all looked very old.
‘Where am I?’ asked Mouse.
‘I live here, and I get lots of visitors every day but none of them ever talk to me,’ Moses replied and the edges of his mouth turned down.
With that there was a tinkering of a bell over a door and in walked a woman. Mouse was so scared by the sudden noise that it hid behind the boot. A moment later it looked around, but Moses was gone.
The woman started to move around the room, opening windows and turning on lights. She took out a large bunch of keys and started to unlock doors.
Mouse watched the woman, half with interest and half in fear. She seemed happy enough, and sang as she went from room to room unlocking doors.
The woman’s gentle singing was soon interrupted as several children all started to parade into the giant’s house. The noise they made was astounding and their teacher was trying to quieten them all down.
The woman came over and looked at the children. ‘Hello,’ she said, ‘I’m Tricia and I am going to show you round the museum today.’
Finally, all the children settled and Tricia explained to them that the museum was a place to see things from the olden days. Things that their grannies and grand-dads, and their grannies and grand-dads would have used.
Tricia showed the children around the different rooms and explained what things were. Mouse realised that no one would ever notice a tiny thing like a mouse in a cluttered museum, so it decided to follow the group.
Mouse was fascinated listening to what Tricia had to say.
Eventually, Tricia came full circle back to where she started. ‘And this,’ she said with great pride pointing to a display cabinet, ‘is a boot from a giant. A local man who was so big and strong that people thought he was a giant; this is one of his boots. Sadly no one knows where the other boot is.’
All the children gasped. They looked from the big boot to their tiny feet and laughed. They were astounded by how enormous the boot was.
‘Well, children. I expect you would all like some lunch now,’ Tricia said. She led them to another room where there were lots of toys and all the children sat down and got out their lunch boxes.
Mouse knew that smell.
Someone had CHEESE.
Mouse watched as the children ate. What messy eaters they were. They made so many crumbs. Mouse’s tummy rumbled and ached and his mouth watered as he watched them.
Finally, the children waved goodbye to Tricia as they left.
This was mouse’s chance. As quick as it could, mouse ran into the middle of the room and dragged a half-eaten sandwich under a chest to where it could not be seen. Mouse’s heart beat quickly with excitement. Mouse was just about to take a big bite of the cheese sandwich when it suddenly remembered Moses. Had Moses had anything to eat?
There, on the messy floor, was a biscuit. It was a bit dusty and a little bit cracked, but still delicious. Mouse ignored the fear inside and charged out into the room again. It snatched the biscuit between its teeth and shuffled it under the chest to rest beside the half-eaten sandwich.
Feeling satisfied with its achievements. Mouse ate the sandwich, smiled and rubbed its full tummy. But where was Moses? Mouse thought it would go back to the boot to look for him.
Tricia was in the boot room putting on her coat. She locked all the doors and turned off the lights. She then left, the bell above the door tinkling as she did so. And as if by magic Moses reappeared.
‘Hello, Moses,’ said Mouse, ‘Where have you been?’
‘I was here,’ said Moses, ‘but even you weren’t talking to me’.
‘Were you? I didn’t see you,’ Mouse said.
‘Don’t worry about it. No one ever talks to me during the day. At least you can see me now. I was watching you. Did you get that biscuit for me?’
Mouse looked up at the giant and grinned from ear to ear. ‘Yes, I did. Come on let’s go get it.’
Mouse scuttled under the door that Tricia had just locked, and Moses walked through it! Mouse didn’t know how Moses could walk through doors without damaging them. But mouse had seen many amazing things that day, and decided that this was just another one.
Moses crouched down low and put his large forearm under the chest and pulled out the biscuit with his enormous fingers. He ate it in one gulp.
‘Moses, you are so lucky to live here,’ said Mouse. ‘I would love to live in a museum.’
‘In a what ….?’ Moses asked.
‘A museum. You live in a museum. Tricia said so.’
‘I don’t listen to Tricia. She don’t talk to me, so I don’t listen to her,’ said the Giant in a stubborn, moody voice.
‘Well, a museum is a home for olden days things. Does that make you old?’ asked Mouse.
‘Well, I don’t know how old I am. My boots are old, my clothes are old, so maybe I am too.’
‘I don’t think I’m old,’ said Mouse, ‘I don’t have old boots and clothes. In fact, I don’t own any boots or clothes! Maybe your home could have some modern-day things too so that I can stay.’ wondered Mouse out loud.
‘I like that idea,’ said Moses. ‘This is my home and I say you can stay. Old or young, antique or new, gigantic or tiny. I reckon everyone is welcome here.’
Moses sat in a wooden rocking chair and took off a boot. ‘How silly Tricia is,’ thought Mouse, ‘the other boot isn’t missing at all, Moses has been wearing it all the time.’
Moses placed the boot next to Mouse, so Mouse climbed in. The leather felt soft and warm and smelt like home.
It was good to be home.
About the Author
Yasmin Croxford was born in Cambridge in 1971. She always liked to make things as a child, especially out of fabric. She trained as a nurse at Cambridge’s Addenbrookes Hospital where she still works to this day. Yasmin now lives in a little village just outside of Cambridge with her husband and two boys.
The Cambridge Museum
The book is set in The Cambridge Museum. As museums go it is small and curious. It has an unconventional layout, with several different rooms and winding staircases. The floor is wooden and uneven. The museum has objects that reflect local life in the last 300 years. It has the stories of the common people. Children are welcome and there is a small area where they can play with bygone toys.
The Cambridge Tiny Doors
Everyday thousands of people walk through Cambridge and don’t even notice the tiny doors peppered around the city. So, if people can miss a door, it’s easy to believe they might not see a mouse.
Inspiration for the Books
Checking up on people during the COVID 19 outbreak was important, but also rather difficult to achieve daily. Let’s face it, no one had done much to talk about. So Yasmin sent out six fabric mice to family and friends and asked them to send in a daily photo of their mouse doing different things. It was the photos she received that gave her the idea for this series of books. To see the original mice, visit YouTube and type ‘Mouse in the House Yasmin Croxford’.
Moses in this book is loosely based on Moses Carter. He was born in 1801 in Histon, a village within walking distance of Cambridge. He was said to be 23 stone, nearly 7 foot tall, strong and kind. One of his boots and his hat can be found in the Cambridge museum.
Profits from the book
Addenbrookes Hospital cares for thousands of patients. It is a university teaching hospital and trains hundreds of doctors, nurses and carers every year. Despite this Addenbrookes has yet to get a dedicated Children’s Hospital. At present the children’s wards are scattered within the main building. Some land has been set aside for a Children’s Hospital and it is expected to be built within the near future.
A third of the profit from this book will be given to Addenbrookes Charitable Trust to help make the Children’s Hospital even better. A third will be given to the Cambridge Museum and the final third will go to the author, so that she can buy even more fabric and make even more mice!
Other books in the series include:
- Mouse, Moses and the Singer
- Mouse, Moses and the Mug Mag
- Mouse, Moses and the Curry
- Mouse, Moses and the Beavers
- Mouse, Moses and the Hat