|Illustration by Tasha Tudor from Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows.
When we were out walking today, Millie got her first mole of the season. She can accomplish the feat in just a second or two, and comes away holding the poor, innocent little critter ever so gingerly in her mouth. She knows what I am going to say. "Oh, Millie, give it to Momma," which she so gladly does. I praise her, and she is happy. And, the mole is happy to be free and able to go back to tunneling his way back home.
I decided at the last minute that I should get a shot of Millie's trophy, the silky, soft little critter that I had saved, but when, in just a minute or two, I went back, he was already gone. So, this illustration from The Wind in the Willows, which was done by Tasha Tudor, will have to suffice. Don't you just love it?
Look at the intensity in those eyes. When Millie hears a mole underground, she freezes for a moment, crouches somewhat like a cat, then jumps, and quick as a flash she digs, pushing her nose deep into the hole and pulls Poor Mole out with her mouth. She rarely misses!
I didn't mind so much when she rid the yard of this menace, but along the trail, through the woods and meadows, those little critters are doing no harm that I can think of. And, besides, I always think of Mole, who was such a congenial character in the book I mentioned above. Or, maybe, my heart is just too soft.
Our blogging friend Henny Penny wrote in a post yesterday about her soft spot for mice. And, they really are awfully cute.... as long as they stay out of the house. Lil' Red Hen composed an excellent piece on "A Mouse in the House." (Click on both links to read their tales.)
Awhile back, we had a Momma Mouse in our house. Why, she even raised a family, right under our noses, under a cushion in my fancy sofa in the living room before we finally got her. She had chewed a couple of fair-sized holes under the cushion (which I patched), and had made a soft bed there with things she stole from my sewing room. She was such a thief that she had taken a couple of brand new skeins of embroidery floss there for the little ones to snuggle in! But it really got serious when...
She tried to take my prized needle book that I called the Embroideress - the one I oh-so-meticulously appliqued and embroidered by hand. I found the little cloth book crumpled one morning on the floor in the sewing room. The Embroideress's hair was a total wreck, with lots of threads that seemed to have been cut, as you can see in the second picture below.
My daughter said that mouse surely did have excellent tastes! It took us three days to finally trap her and all of her young 'uns. And, I am afraid they didn't fare so well as the Lil' Red Hen's "Mouse in the House."
When we went out walking today, I pulled on my old wool coat. It felt mighty good, too, for it was a coldish, rainy day. When I read of Mole's "great joy and contentment" at being home, I was reminded of how good it is to get back home to a warm fire after one of those cold, wintery day walks.
"The weary Mole soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him... It was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome."
from the chapter Dulce Domum
The Wind in the Willows