The Animal Story Book - online children's book

Edited By Andrew Lang And With Numerous Illustrations By H. J. Ford

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34
A RAT TALE
Huggy was an old rat when he died very old indeed. He was born in the middle of a corn-rick, and there he might have lived his little life had not the farmer who owned the rick caused it to be pulled down. That was Huggy's first experience of flitting, and it was done in such a hurry that he had hardly time to be sorry. It was pitch dark when his mother shook him up roughly and told him to ' come along, or he would be killed by the farmer,' and poor Huggy, blinking his sleepy eyes, struggled out of his snug little bed into the cold black night.
Several old rats met him at the entrance, and sternly bade him stay where he was and make no noise, for the leader was about to speak. Huggy was wide-awake by this time. The rat spirit of adventure was roused within him by the scent of coming danger, and eagerly he listened to the shrill, clear voice of the leader:
' Friends, old and young, this is not a time for many words, but I want you all to know the cause of this sudden disturbance. Last night I was scavenging round the farmer's kitchen, seeking what I might devour, when in came the stable-boy tapping an empty corn-sieve which he had in his hand. He said a few words to the farmer, who rose hastily, and together they left the kitchen' I following at a convenient distance. They went straight to the stable, and talked for some time with their backs to the corn-bin, which was standing open in the window. After a while I managed to scramble up and
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