THE MOUSE THAT LOST HIS WHISKERS
and went inside. The doorbell rang and a queer little gnome popped up above the counter.
" What do you want? " he asked.
" Have you any whiskers for sale? " asked Woffles. " I've lost mine and I want some new ones."
" Certainly! " said the gnome, and he took down a box from a shelf. " Come and look! I've all kinds, all colours and all lengths!"
Woffles was delighted. He sat on a chair by the counter and looked eagerly at the box. What wonderful whiskers there were there! Long stiff black ones, bright red ones, small soft white ones, deep blue ones—oh, every kind you can imagine!
" How much are they? " asked Woffles, feeling for his small purse.
" Sixpence a set " said the gnome.
" Oh dear! How expensive! " sighed Woffles, who only had six pennies in his purse, and didn't want to part with all his money at once. " Well, I suppose I must have a set. Here is the money."
He put his six brown pennies down on the counter and the gnome took them at once. " Which set of whiskers will you have? " he asked.
" I think—I think I'll have those nice long, bright red ones! " said Woffles, thinking how grand he would look with such bright whiskers. The gnome took them out of the box and put them on the counter. Then he put away the box and took down from another shelf a round work-basket. He took up a big darning needle and threaded one of the whiskers through the eye-hole. Woffles looked at him in alarm.
" What is the needle for? " he asked.
" To sew on your whiskers, of course! " said the gnome, impatiently. " What do you think? I always sew on these whiskers for my customers.