THE MOUSE THAT LOST HIS WHISKERS
The mouse was frightened and jumped off the stool at once. When he saw the big needle shining in ^ the gnome's horny hand he gave a shriek and fled out of the door. He ran until he had no breath left and then he hid himself under a bush.
" I've left all my six pennies behind! " he wept. " And I've still got no whiskers. Oh, what an unfortunate creature I am!"
Someone passing by heard him crying and stopped to peep under the bush. It was an old witch. She had kindly eyes and a smiling mouth, for she was a good witch. She was sorry to see such a heartbroken little mouse.
Woffles told her all his troubles. She listened very kindly, and then she patted his small head.
" Come home with me and help me with my spells for two weeks," she said. " Then I will make you some fine whiskers and put them on by magic so that they won't hurt a bit."
Woffles was delighted. He went happily home with the witch and was soon busily helping her with her spells. How he worked! He chanted magic songs. He stood inside hundreds of magic chalk circles whilst the witch made spells. He stirred magic potions until his paws ached and felt as if they would drop off. He hunted for magic herbs from morning till night and grew quite thin with all his hard work.
When the end of the two weeks came the witch smiled at him. " You have done well, Woffles," she said. " Now I will make your new whiskers for you. Come and see me."
Woffles watched her. First she poured a little moonlight into a cup. Then she took a peacock's feather and cut tiny pieces off it. She put them into the cup too. Then she asked a spider to spin webs across the cup. After that she turned the whole thing upside down, chanted a few queer magic words and turned the cup the right way up. The web, the moonlight and the bits of feather were all gone. Inside the cup was a set of wonderful blue whiskers, just the right size for Woffles!