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Start of Story
So the three little mice started off, with Hickory showing the way,
and soon came to a crack in the wall. Hickory stuck his head through,
and finding everything quiet, for the family of people that lived in
the house were fast asleep, he squeezed through the crack, followed by
his two brothers. Their little hearts beat very fast, for they knew if
they were discovered they would have to run for their lives; but the
house was so still they gained courage, and crept along over a thick
carpet until they came to a stairway.
"What shall we do now?" whispered Hickory to his brothers.
"Let 's go down," replied Dock.
So, very carefully, they descended the stairs and reached the hallway
of the house, and here they were much surprised by all they saw.
There was a big rack for hats and coats, and an umbrella stand, and
two quaintly carved chairs, and, most wonderful of all, a tall clock
that stood upon the floor and ticked out the minutes in a grave and
When the little mice first heard the ticking of the clock they were
inclined to be frightened, and huddled close together upon the bottom
"What is it?" asked Dickory, in an awed whisper. "I do n't know,"
replied Hickory, who was himself rather afraid.
"Is it alive?" asked Dock.
"I do n't know," again answered Hickory.
Then, seeing that the clock paid no attention to them, but kept
ticking steadily away and seemed to mind its own business, they
plucked up courage and began running about.
Presently Dickory uttered a delighted squeal that brought his brothers
to his side. There in a corner lay nearly the half of a bun which
little May had dropped when nurse carried her upstairs to bed. It was
a great discovery for the three mice, and they ate heartily until the
last crumb had disappeared.
"This is better than a cupboard or a pantry," said Dock, when they had
finished their supper, "and I should n't be surprised if there were
plenty more good things around if we only hunt for them."
But they could find nothing more, for all the doors leading into the
hall were closed, and at last Dock came to the clock and looked at it
"It does n't seem to be alive," he thought, "although it does make so
much noise. I 'm going behind it to see what I can find."
He found nothing except a hole that led to inside of the clock, and
into this he stuck his head. He could hear the ticking plainer than
ever now, but looking way up to the top of the clock he saw something
shining brightly, and thought it must good to eat if he could only get
at it. Without saying anything to his brothers, Dock ran up the sides
of the clock until he came to the works, and he was just about to
nibble at a glistening wheel, to see what it tasted like, when
suddenly "Bang!" went the clock.
It was one o'clock, and the clock had only struck the hour; but the
great gong was just beside Dock's ear and the noise nearly deafened
the poor little mouse. He gave a scream of terror and ran down the
clock as fast as he could go. When he reached the hall he heard his
brothers scampering up the stairs, and after them he ran with all his
It was only when they were safe in their nest again that they stopped
to breathe, and their little hearts beat fast for an hour afterward,
so great had been their terror.
When Mamma Mouse came back in the morning, bringing a quantity of nice
flour with her for breakfast, they told her of their adventure. She
thought they had been punished enough already for their disobedience,
so she did not scold them, but only said,
"You see, my dears, your mother knew best when she told you not to
stir from the nest. Children sometimes think they know more than their
parents, but this adventure should teach you always to obey your
mother. The next time you run away you may fare worse than you did
last night; remember your poor father's fate."
But Hickory and Dickory and Dock did not run away again.