There was once a little mouse named Charlie. He lived on what he thought must be a farm, and a kind old man, called Master, took care of Charlie and his many mouse friends. Charlie loved playing games with his mouse friends, eating cheese and crusty bread from Master, and sleeping in his snuggly pile of cotton and feathers.
It was a bright, sunny day, and Charlie was playing hide-n-seek with his friends. He was very tired and perhaps a little dizzy, but he figured this must be to his advantage in being patient enough to stay in his hiding spot for a very long time. Just as he began to doze off, he startled awake -- why, he was floating in the air! Master was picking him up and, before he knew it, Charlie was placed in a tiny, clear dome. Master gave Charlie a crumb of cheese and closed the door. Charlie was terrified. Why would Master do this? “Come back!” he cried. “I want to play with my friends! Let me out!” Charlie scurried round and round the dome, pounding his pink mousey paws against the clear plastic, but his new little home wouldn’t budge.
Day after day Charlie squeaked and squealed, screamed and fussed, pounded and pounded. This morning, like every morning, Master dropped a crumb of cheese through the little door of his dome. Charlie scurried over and devoured the cheese. He almost swallowed it whole, he was so hungry from his screaming and running. Charlie looked out the dome toward his master and scowled the fiercest scowl he could muster. “It’s not enough!” he yelled. “It’s not enough and you know it! I’m so hungry, please give me more. Please!” Master did not give him more. Another day of being hungry, and Charlie was furious. He began his regular routine of running and pounding, but with more ferocity than ever.
Charlie was tired. My, he was as tired as a mouse could be. His tummy rumbled and groaned. He licked at some of the dew on the grass beneath him. He did not feel so well, but he knew that with more food, everything would be better. That’s all he needed. “Why would Master treat me this way?” he asked himself. “I thought he was kind.” Charlie looked longingly out of his dome. He could see his mouse friends playing and eating -- oh, how they were eating! They seemed to have more food than Charlie ever had when he lived outside of his dome. Charlie began to cry.
Charlie cried and cried. When he opened his eyes, it was morning. The master had already left him his cheese. Tired Charlie crawled over and began to nibble. It tasted nutty and it felt good in his empty belly. It felt so good that Charlie went back to sleep. When he awoke, it was already the next day. Charlie looked over and, just as he expected, saw a piece of cheese. He took it and ate it. He felt better. He looked out of his dome and a small grin came on his face. How happy his friends looked. Charlie was not so tired today.
As the days went by, Charlie began to feel happy and not so tired. And Charlie learned that if he ate his cheese, and did not spend all of his time pounding on his dome, complaining and wailing, the crumb of cheese was just enough to fill his tummy.
It was the afternoon, and Charlie was gazing out of his dome as he often did, when he heard a familiar noise. It was the door to his dome opening. “More cheese?” he thought excitedly. Charlie felt a hand scoop him up, out of his dome, and onto the grass outside.
Charlie gasped. The new grass against his paws, Charlie scampered over to his friends. “Charlie!” they cried. “We missed you! Do you feel better?” Charlie was confused, “What do you mean?” he asked with furrowed mouse-brows. “The dome!” piped up one of his friends. “Master put you in the dome because you were very sick. He didn’t want us to get sick either, so he put you in the little dome where you could watch us and get better.” Charlie couldn’t believe it -- he had been sick, and Master was just taking care of him. How kind Master was! Charlie smiled and ran off with his friends to play hide-n-seek. This time, he wasn’t tired at all.