by Navodita Pande
Once upon a time in Madison Farm lived a mother mouse called Moi. Moi had 5 loving children. Their names were Moy, Mei, Marie, Mesh and Mint. Moy, Mei and Marie were beautiful little girls while Mesh and Mint were strong and robust boys. Each one had their own dreams and Moi wanted that her children should remain happy. After all she had been abandoned by her husband long ago and being a single mother had not been easy. She had worked for her children's dreams to come true.
Moy wanted to be a hair-dresser. She always loved different types of hair and sported different wigs at home. Mei was a brilliant and flexible dancer. She aimed to be able to dance
before the King some day. Marie was a quiet girl and always dreamt of a handsome boy to settle down with him. Mesh was a fighter and his dream was to fight the soldiers of the King's army. Mint, on the other hand, was a born sailor. He often stood for hours by the sea watching the ships sail by and captains walk up and down for their daily duties on the port. They all only had to wait for an opportunity to accomplish their dreams.
One day as all five mice were walking back from school, they chanced upon a little, mysterious rabbit in a bush. The rabbit said, 'Come here and see this.' The little mice went ahead and followed the rabbit. They could not believe their eyes.
They saw a huge cloud in a distance. Through little windows in the cloud they saw all kinds of different animals feasting inside. The cloud had a clock right in front which ticked very loudly – tick, tock, tick, tock. In the cloud the animals passed food and drinks to one another. They saw men and women soldiers dancing around the dinner table. Stylish girls and boys were dressing up fancily as they danced around in one corner of the cloud. Another corner had young animals singing to music and chanting poetic verses. In a far away corner were old ladies sewing and trying out dresses, wearing different make-up and laughing to each other. The cloud was full of merry-making and fun-loving animals. As Moy, Mei, Marie, Mesh and Mint stared at the clock-cloud, an owl flew down to them from the cloud. 'Who are you?' asked the owl.
'We are mice from the Madison Farm close by. We want to be a part of your feast. Can we please come in?' replied Mesh. He was excited to see the soldiers.
'Yes, please. We would like to help you,' said Mei as she was overjoyed to see the dancing boys and girls all around.
'We will assist in the jobs being done,' answered Moy as she was ready to assist the hair-dressers.
'We want to join you in merry-making,' Mint shouted.
'We live with our mother who loves us very much. We just want to spend a little time inside the cloud, please,' coyly Marie squeaked.
'Alright then, come on in. But be sure you only have half an hour. Remember the magical clock here. She will strike 12. Then we have to leave the bush,' saying this the owl turned to the door.
The five little mice screamed with joy,' Hurray!'
They all scurried through the door. Moy went straight to the girls with cropped hair and started to do up hair of other girls in different styles. Mei joined the dancing girls and began tapping the floor to rhythmic music. Marie found solace in the company of old women sewing and stitching. Mesh and Mint headed for the dining-table and found good company among young soldiers, sailors and old army men. Time flew by. Little mice were busy enjoying themselves when they heard the clock at 12 noon- TONG! They rushed out and saw that the cloud gradually rose in the air and began to fly westwards. All the animals inside waved goodbye to their little mice-friends.
The mice rushed to their house but were rather sad to part from their new found friends. They were rather quiet and lost thinking about all the fun they had in the clock-cloud. At night they did not eat food and slept empty stomach. The mother mouse got worried as to what has happened to her little children. She, too, slept that day without eating. This went on for almost a week. The little mice lost interest in studies.
One week passed on. Suddenly one day the mother mouse saw a few kings men at her doorstep and watched the handsome prince walk out of the royal palanquin. The prince stepped out and ushered the mother mouse into the royal palanquin to take her to the Royal Court. The mother mouse Moi was rather surprised. She went to the court where the King explained to her how he was impressed by the five little mice in the clock-cloud.
'Welcome Moi! I wish to gift your little children and you with a new house in Madison Farm. I met your children in the clock-cloud. It is an annual feast where I met your charming, young children and decided that Moy shall be trained and employed by the Royal Hair Salon; Mei will teach dance to the royal children and will be trained to be a better dancer; Marie had been chosen to be trained as a seamstress and the Duchess of Madison Farm. The young, handsome Duke of Madison fancied her at the clock-cloud where they met and became friends,' said the King.
Moi knew no bounds to her joy. Her hard work had paid off. 'Thank you, dear Lord,' she knelt down to thank the King.
'And let me tell you that Mesh is going to be trained a soldier while Mint will be the future Captain of my personal Royal Ship,' the King added. 'You have done a good job of grooming your little mice. We are informed that your divorced husband harasses you occasionally so he will be taken care of. You can now live in peace for the rest of your life.'
Moi was overjoyed. She returned to Madison and found that the King kept all his promises. When the little mice returned from school, Moi told them what had happened. The King's decision came as a pleasant surprise to the five children. They rushed to the Court to thank him.
'Thank you, O Lord. This is not what we had expected,' the mice spoke in unison before the King.
'I liked you the moment you stopped outside the clock-cloud. I sent my Royal Guard owl to you. Now work hard and be an asset to the Kingdom of Mice. Go and live peacefully with your mother Moi. My best wishes are always with you,' the King blessed.
Moi and her five mice lived happily ever after. Each one continued to work hard and become a talented workman in the Kingdom.