Mouse Tales

Prairie Wool

Helen Row Toews

After working for several arduous years in the field of education, I’ve finally earned a few letters behind my name. Unfortunately, they aren’t the sort that prompt a raise in pay, or elicit respect from peers or faculty members. No, these letters actually spell out a rather unpleasant word. Killer!

It all started Saturday, before the virus scare, when our three cats settled themselves in front of the dishwasher, and maintained a silent surveillance throughout the afternoon. Naturally, I assumed a rodent had foolishly scuttled into our home, and was now lurking, with understandable fear and trembling, beneath this sturdy kitchen appliance.

article continues below

I baited a trap, set it inside a nearby cupboard (so no cats would be snapped) and forgot about it. In hindsight, I wouldn’t necessarily advise people to “forget about” wayward vermin that invade their living space, but I did.

Later that evening, my grandson Kayden, who was over for a visit, my daughter Aliyah, and I, lounged on the sofa watching a movie. Candles flickered moodily on the mantle over the television, the fire crackled and snapped in the next room, and we snuggled under blankets feeling warm and cozy, mesmerized by the height of the action.

Suddenly a low growling, deep in the chest of Nemo the cat, interrupted our involvement in the thickening plot. Aliyah glanced toward the source.

“He has a mouse!” she screeched, rearing up from her chair. As you can well imagine, complete pandemonium ensued.

Kayden leapt onto the couch and ran back and forth across it hollering, “Can I keep him?”

My daughter pranced from the room shrieking, “Don’t kill it.”

I raced for some sort of weapon groaning, “Holy crap.” 

Nemo hissed between teeth clenched tightly round a squirming mouse, “He’s mine you fools.”

And last but not least, the mouse squeaked, “Somebody listen to that girl!”

With all the hollering and fuss, Nemo lost his bravado, his jaw went slack, and he dropped the mouse with a little thud to the carpeting. Picking itself up, the sodden rodent scampered dizzily across to the next cat in line who snatched him up and hunkered on the floor amid fresh yelling from the sofa and the dining room respectively.

“I could keep him in a cage,” and “Please let him live,” rang in my ears as I charged into the room brandishing a broom.

“EEK,” I squealed in alarm, as the mouse was spittled onto the floor once again, but as it scurried off I pulled myself together, briskly bonked it on the head with the dustpan, swept it up and carried it outside.

“YOU KILLED IT!” my girl shouted in shock and revulsion. Then, pointing a trembling finger, she pronounced dramatically, “Never again shall I set foot in this room where innocent blood was shed!”

“Cut the theatrics,” I answered irritably, setting my instruments of death back in the closet. “What was I supposed to do? Fix him a light snack and offer him a lift into town? Blow-dry his fur and introduce him to a few friends over drinks? Buy him a condo in the city? He’s a bloody mouse!

In any event, the evening was over. Kayden trailed off to bed bemoaning his lost chance at a pet, Aliyah marched to her room in stiff disapproval, and I sit here alone – a cold-blooded killer.

Helen has lived on the family farm near Marshall much of her life. She works as a writer, EA and bus driver for her local school. This, along with her love of the Canadian prairies, travel and all things humorous, is what she draws from to write these tales. To find more of Helen’s stories or to order Prairie Wool books please go to or 



© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist