The Archer Mice of Middle-earth

by Varda


A Christmas Mouse

Frodent stood alone on the beach, looking out across the choppy waters of the Anduinmousepool. His tail drooped miserably.
'Alone, then?' he squeaked to the empty air. 'Must I go on alone, as Galadrimouse said I must, because my burden can only corrupt any mouse who tries to share my errand?'

And Frodent stared at the tiny gold ring on his paw. A large tear formed in his bright, beadlike eye and slowly ran down his nose, down down....a mouse has a very long nose.....and finally ended up on his whisker, glistening like a pearl. With a tiny sneeze, Frodent shook it off.

'If only Wizardmouse was here, instead of falling into the space between the electric cooker and the dishwasher trying to steal some Christmas pudding!' he sighed. '..but then, he did always seek the unattainable. The mince pies were far easier to reach...'

Just then Frodent squared his tiny furry shoulders, planted his tiny paws on the sand, and took off at a determined trot towards a MacDonald's Burger carton, carelessly thrown aside by some greedy Dwarf and bobbing up and down in the shallow water near the shore.

Casting his Elven cloak aside, Frodent the heroic rodent sprang from the dry land into the carton, which promptly turned upside down, dumping Frodent into the shallow water.

'Thundering tortoiseshells!' snorted Frodent, crawling out onto the sand, shaking himself like a minute, three-inch high retriever. 'MacDonalds really is bad for your health....'

But the intrepid rodent was not deterred. He inched out into the water and this time he slipped carefully over the side of the carton.
'Yesssssssss' he cried, taking up a plastic knife and beginning to paddle away from the shore...

'Farewell, friends!' he thought to himself. 'Aramouse will look after you! It will give him something to do and take his mind off trying to score points off Boromouse....'

'Mr Frodent! Mr Frodent!' a long wailing series of squeaks came from behind. Frodent looked back and saw his faithful gardenermouse, Sammouse, running down the beach after him, tiny pots and pans and a minute knapsack on his back.
'Don't go! Don't leave me here....' cried Sammouse. 'They've no more cheddar...'
'It's no good, Sammouse..' called back Frodent. 'I am going to Morecatsdoor on my own. I don't want to take any more mice into unnecessary danger...and to be honest you are all making too much noise....'
'But Mr. Frodent!' squeaked 'I am your faithful Sammouse!'

'Goodbye...' sang Frodent, paddling hard. But Sammouse, reaching the water's edge, took a deep breath and plunged in. Frodent looked back in annoyance.
'Mice can't swim, remember?' he called, but it was too late. Sammouse was flailing about with his short paws, his fur now bedraggled, the pots and pans pulling him down.
'You could have taken off the hardware, at least!' snapped Frodent. With a gurgle, Sammouse disappeared.

Below the surface, all was quiet and dim. His paws pattering on unseen ground, Sammouse sank gently. His short mouse life passed before his eyes; Gaffermouse, his father, telling him he would end up in a trap and deserve it; Rosiemouse saying she thought his whiskers were exceptionally fine.....suddenly someone grabbed his tail and yanked it up, and Sammouse was hauled through the water till he shot up into the open air. He was pulled over the polystyrene edge of the carton and lay gasping in the bottom of the burger carton. He wrinkled his nose.
'Any of that Big Mac left, Mr Frodent?' he asked. Frodent shook his head in exasperation.
'Of all the darned niusances a mouse coud have, you are the worst!' he snorted. Sammouse blinked at him, his fur dripping, his pots and pans hafl-full of water. At last Frodent sighed;
'I'm going to Morecatsdoor, Sammouse, on my own!'

'Of course you are, Mr.Frodent...' replied Sammouse. '..and I'm coming with you. A mouse is for life, not just for Christmas....'