Thursday 9 November 2023

Pumpkin Mice Tales (2)


Pumpkin Mice Tales (2)

The Pumpkin Mice were very excited. They had just had a message from their friend, Sergeant Cheeseman of the First Mousehole Artillery. He was going on church parade on Remembrance Day, when all the Mice and Mousekins of the Land would gather to remember the friends and relatives they had lost in the Mousetrap Wars and the Great Cat and Owl Skirmishes.

It was a great honour to be chosen to represent his regiment and Sergeant Cheeseman had invited the Pumpkin Mice to attend the service.

They squeaked and shivered at the thought of journeying to the churchyard. It wasn’t so very far away but it was hazardous to travel in daylight and they knew the dangers of going at night, but they really wanted to be there.

Little Grey Mouse said, ‘It’s dangerous in the dark.’

White Mouse with the exceedingly long and beautiful green tail said, ‘Just the other evening, after dark had fallen, I heard a terrible wailing.’   

Small Brown Mouse whispered, ‘Maybe the Cunning Cat caught someone. Ooh, I’m scared.’

 Big Brown Mouse said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe,’ and the Mousekins huddled together and didn’t feel quite so afraid any more.

The next night, when the black sky was as black as  black could be, they scurried down from their tall tower and, each holding the tail of the mouse in front, they followed Big Brown Mouse through the fallen leaves and the damp grass.

It took a long time to reach the church. They had to stop many times and hide among tree roots when an owl glided above or a fox trotted past. The foxes in these parts were fat and healthy and had no desire for little mice, not even as a midnight snack, but the Pumpkin Mice were cautious folk and took no chances.

They tumbled into a hole under the doorstep of the church and fell into a deep slumber. The bright sun woke them in the morning and they poked their small noses out and sniffed the fresh autumn air, whiskers quivering.

White Mouse with the exceedingly long and beautiful green tail said, ‘Look! Look! I can see Sergeant Cheeseman’ and sure enough, there he stood, resplendent in his scarlet tunic, medals gleaming, moleskin hat set at just the right jaunty angle.

Suddenly they heard the ‘oom pah pah’ of a military band and a parade of human soldiers marched up the path to the big stone cross and halted. The Pumpkin Mice were awed at the sight. More people followed, big and small, in all sorts of different uniforms, and stood tidily near the big stone cross, waiting.

The vicar came out of the church with the choir and spoke to them all and then everyone sang a hymn.

Small Brown tugged at Big Brown Mouse’s tail and piped, ‘Why is it called a him and not a her?’ but Big Brown Mouse hushed him because something else was happening. People with wreaths of poppies, shining bright against the green leaves, moved forward and, one by one, placed them gently at the foot of the big stone cross, then stepped back and bowed their heads.

A soldier with a bugle played a haunting tune and Big Brown Mouse whispered to the Mousekins that it was called ‘Last Post‘. Everyone stood absolutely still. Old men and young straightened their backs as if standing to attention, and looked ahead, unmoving. Even the smallest children were caught up in the solemnity of the moment. A soft breeze riffled the remaining leaves on the trees and a robin sang sweetly in the following silence.

The Mousekins had never seen anything like it before and wondered if it would ever end. Then the vicar said a few more words and everybody answered him with, ‘We will remember them.’ The bugler played another tune and Big Brown Mouse told the Mousekins it was called ‘The Rouse’. It was a happier sounding tune and everyone relaxed, as though they had all heaved one big sigh.

Sergeant Cheeseman came over to the Mousekins. ‘Thank you so much for coming,’ he said. ‘It’s important to remember.’

Big Brown Mouse said, ‘We shall never forget.’ Then, taking the tail of the smallest Mousekin, he led them all back to the safety of the tall tower.


  1. This is beautiful, thank you.

  2. This is such a touching post. But I can't help wondering if the Pumpkin Mice will also be attending the (please god peaceful) pro-Palestinian march?

    1. That march could be a match to the tinder box, I fear.

  3. I can't decide if I like the story better or the crocheted post topper! Thank you for sharing both! Good for my grey morning.

  4. Hi Janice - so clever ... but I love the pillarbox cover - or whatever they're called ... great fun - well done ... cheers Hilary

  5. We'll all be very disappointed if whoever makes them stops - they're quite a local delight.

  6. A sweet story, and good for those little mice, braving the danger to observe the remembrance.

  7. What a fabulous topper, and I absolutely loved reading another installment for the Pumpkin Mice Tales! xxx

  8. Another wonderful mouse story Janice. You should have them all made into a book. They really are delightful tales!
    Post box topper is lovely too, as are all the other toppers I have seen recently to mark Remembrance Day.


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