Maggie's Very Own Secret





By SARA JOSEPHINE ALBRIGHT



(For Very Little Folk)



Mr. and Mrs. Squeaky were two little, gray mice. They lived away back in

the corner of a great, big, empty box in the cellar.



One morning Mr. Squeaky went up the cellar stairs on tiptoes, to hunt

for some bread and cheese in the kitchen.



All at once he heard some one talking, and he hid behind the broom and

was as still as he could be.



It was the little boy Johnnie, who lived up-stairs. He had a big hammer

and a saw in his hand, and he was talking to his little sister.



"I think that big, empty box down cellar would make a fine dolls' house,

Maggie. I can fix a little porch on it, and make an up-stairs and a

down-stairs," the little boy said.



"Oh, Johnnie, that will be lovely," his little sister said. "I'll do

something for you sometime. Maybe--maybe--I'll draw a whole slate full

of el'phants, for you to look at!"



Then they started down the cellar steps.



Mr. Squeaky was so frightened that he almost tumbled down the stairs.



"Oh, my dear," he whispered, "they are going to break up our house with

a big hammer and a saw, and make a dolls' house out of it! Let's run as

fast as we can!"



Poor little Mrs. Squeaky began to cry.



"Where shall we go?" she whispered. "Oh, I am so afraid, and there are

always those dreadful traps around to catch us!"



But they ran as fast as they could to the darkest corner. Mrs. Squeaky's

sharp little eyes saw a hole, and she ran into it, and Mr. Squeaky

squeezed in after her.



Now where do you think they found themselves? Right inside of an old

shoe! The hole that they came through was just a hole in the shoe and

made a nice little door. And there was another hole a little higher up

that made a nice little window to peep out of.



"Why, this is the dearest little house, so cozy and warm," Mrs. Squeaky

said. "Nobody will ever find us in here, I know."



After they lived there a while, a whole family of little pink baby mice

came to live with them. The papa mouse and the mama mouse were so proud

and so glad, they got little bits of cotton and soft paper and rags, and

made the nicest little beds you ever saw.



The little pink baby mice could only say, "Squeak! Squeak!" and cuddle

up under the warm covers, but Mr. and Mrs. Squeaky laughed, and thought

they were the smartest babies in the whole world.



"Why, I feel like 'The Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe and had so many

children she didn't know what to do,'" Mrs. Squeaky said one day. She

was sitting by the little window rocking the baby mouse and taking a

little rest.



Mr. Squeaky had gone out to hunt for some supper, and the four other

little mice were peeping out of the little hole in the toe of their shoe

house, for Papa to come home.



All at once, Maggie, the little girl who lived up-stairs, ran into the

dark corner to hide from Johnnie, just for fun. And what do you think

she saw?



The four little mice peeping out of the door, and the poor, frightened

mama mouse and the little baby at the window.



Maggie stopped just a minute to whisper gently to little, gray Mrs.

Squeaky, "Don't be frightened, 'Little Old Woman Who Lives in the Shoe.'

I'll never, never tell anybody where you live. No, I won't even tell

Johnnie or my kitty. They might try to catch you. It shall be my VERY

OWN SECRET--and yours!"



So nobody but little Maggie ever knew about Mr. and Mrs. Squeaky, and

their little pink babies in the old shoe--until long afterward, when she

told me the story, as I have told it to you.





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