Dedicated to Grace, Louie & Dexter

Morgan was a very special mouse. He knew he was special because his Auntie Alice told him so!
"Always remember young Morgan" she would say in her sing-song voice:
"Your a very special mouse to live in this lovely big Welsh House.
Don't forget when you go out, there's a very big cat about"

Morgan & Auntie Alice lived in a little nest in the wall of the kitchen of the big Welsh House. Every night he would quietly squeeze out through a hole & wander around the kitchen looking for food. The best place to search was under the enormous table where scraps & crumbs would fall.
The big cat was called Dafydd. He had ginger fur, long sharp claws & a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth. He was always miserable & grumpy because he was the only cat living in the big Welsh House so he was lonely.

Every night Dafydd would hide on top of the big table & wait patiently for Morgan to come out & every night would end the same. As soon as the cat saw the mouse he would shout out: "With flashing teeth & snapping jaws, I'll catch you in my vicious claws"  &  then launch himself off the table in a blur of ginger fur, claws & teeth. But Morgan was too quick, he would quickly gobble down his food then dive back through the hole into the safety of his Auntie's nest. 
Morgan loved all food but his favourite was cheese. He would sing to himself as he chewed each delicious mouthful:
"Red, yellow, pink & blue,
Striped or plain with holes right through,
Chew it fast then chew it slow
Swallow it down then home I go"
Each day was the same, the cat would leap off the table & the mouse would escape through the hole. After many months Dafydd noticed that Morgan would take extra risk to capture a piece of cheese & an idea formed in his head. Although he wasn't a very clever cat the thought of eating a cheesy mouse filled him with such desire that he came up with a cunning plan:
One night he put a small piece of cheese right under the table & sure enough when Morgan saw it his eyes lit up & his whiskers quivered. Off he went to grab that lovely cheese. 
As soon as the mouse was under the table nibbling Dafydd shouted out "With flashing teeth & snapping jaws, I'll catch you in my vicious claws" then he & dived off the table. But Morgan was too fast & escaped. Muttering to himself Dafydd had another think:

Immediately Dafydd saw his chance & started his war cry
"With flashing teeth & snapping jaws, I'll catch you in my vicious claws" 
 He launched himself off the table with claws outstretched & fangs wide open.
The next night he put a slightly larger piece of cheese under the table. Out came Morgan, he found the cheese & stopped to eat it. Dafydd attacked but still he escaped, but only just.
 From then on the cunning cat put a slightly larger piece in the same place every night & every night the mouse found the cheese & stopped to eat it. As the pieces of cheese got bigger it took Morgan longer to eat them & each night Dafydd got closer & closer to capturing him.
Then one night Dafydd put out a really big piece of cheese. Morgan saw it & licked his lips. It was a wonderful piece of Welsh Caerphilly, his favourite. Over he ran & started to sing
"Red, yellow, pink & blue,
Striped or plain with holes right through,
Chew it fast then chew it slow
Swallow it down then home I go"

 Morgan made a dash desperately for the safety of the nest & he got to the entrance & flung himself in. Nothing happened! He kicked his legs and tried again but he didn't move. Oh no. he thought, I'm stuck! Morgan had eaten so much cheese that he was stuck in the hole. The cat licked his lips, cheesy mouse for dinner. He reached forward to take a bite
"STOP," said a little stern voice. "Stop that at once" Dafydd looked round. A little old mouse with glasses & a shawl was staring at him from across the room. It was Auntie Alice. "What do you think you are doing?" 
"I'm ...m .. m going to eat him," said Dafydd rather surprised at the interruption & he pointed a claw at Morgan's bottom.
"Before you eat him", said the old mouse, " let me explain that the backside you see stuck in the hole belongs to my nephew, Morgan. He is a very clever mouse. You need to see what he can do before you gobble him up."
 Auntie Alice shouted to Morgan. "Come out of that hole at once young Morgan & show the very nice cat what a clever boy you are" Morgan pushed hard & managed to pop back out of the hole & sat on the ground right next to the cat's claw. He was very scared. He was also very fat after eating all the cheese.
 His Auntie shouted "Morgan, show him your wonderful dancing" Morgan looked confused. "Dancing!" he said slowly.
"Yes, your fantastic one legged dance, show the nice cat - NOW! " said Alice earnestly.
Morgan got unsteadily onto one back leg & bounced up & down. His Auntie clapped along as he went round & round before collapsing on the floor, out of breath.
"That was rubbish, it was the worst dance I have ever seen" said Dafydd " now I'm going to eat you"
"STOP," said Alice. "He has many more tricks, he is very special. Morgan, show the very, very nice cat how good you are a ballet"
Morgan wiped the sweat from his eyes. "Ballet". he said with disbelief. Oh well, he thought, I'll give it a go. So he leapt about, did some rolling on the floor & went spinning around until he was so giddy that he fell over. Panting for breath he closed his eyes & waited for the worst.

The cat looked at Auntie & then back at Morgan. " That was rubbish, its the worst display of ballet dancing that I have ever seen. Now prepare to be eaten" He opened his mouth & moved in for the kill.
"STOP," said Alice " He is saving his next trick until last. Morgan show this very, very, very nice pussy cat how you can run around the room just on your front legs while singing your favourite song."
 The cat looked at Morgan & said " This is your very, very, very last chance. If you don't amuse me I'm going to eat you right up."

Morgan steadied himself, he was still panting & covered in sweat. He took a deep breath, bounced onto his front legs & went off round the room. As he moved his little voice could be heard squeaking:
"Red, yellow, pink & blue,
Striped or plain with holes right through,
Chew it fast then chew it slow
Swallow it down then home I go"
He went around the room, then went around again & then in a final flourish, he went around for a third time singing his cheese song at the top of his squeaky little voice. Eventually he collapsed on the floor right next to the cat & lay there completely out of breath.

 His Auntie looked sternly at him. "Morgan," she said " that's very naughty making fun of that nice cat when he gave you a chance. Now go & say you are sorry & apologise."
 Morgan felt humbled. " Sorry Mr Pussy, I didn't mean to make fun of you." Both mice looked out of the hole & stared at the cat.
Dafydd was sitting & the tears were running down his face. He looked at the mice & said "You didn't let me finish. That last trick with you running round the room on your front legs & singing was rubbish. But it was also the funniest thing that I have ever witnessed." With that, he burst out laughing & strolled away humming to himself "Red, yellow, pink & blue, Striped or plain with holes right through"
There was silence in the room. Finally Dafydd spoke " That was rubbish," he said & opened his mouth wide. In that instant, Morgan leapt up & dived towards the safety of the hole. He had lost so much weight jumping, dancing & running around the room that he could now just about squeeze through the hole & into the nest. In a flash, Auntie Alice followed him to safety.
 "Ha, Ha," said Morgan, " tricked you, silly old cat, can't catch me, can't catch me."

From then on the cat & mice became firm friends. Dafydd wasn't grumpy anymore because he now had two new friends & Morgan promised not to make fun of his new ginger pal. The next day the cat put out two delicious pieces of Caerphilly Cheese & Morgan carried them carefully back to his Auntie while Dafydd waved at them from the top of the table,. Morgan squeezed into the nest & muttered to himself "Silly old cat, can't catch me, can't catch me."
"STOP THAT," said Alice.

"Sorry Auntie," replied Morgan & winked at Dafydd.
Dafydd winked back & strolled away humming:
"Red, yellow, pink & blue,
Striped or plain with holes right through,
Chew it fast then chew it slow
Swallow it down then home I go."

Story: Paul Flude
Illustrations: Dawn Flude
Both at Dawn's Happy Paintings