STRANGE ADVENTURES OF LITTLE MAIA 137
adventures, and her escapes from death. She knew also how a room should be swept, and never failed to get up early in the morning and have everything clean and tidy for the old mouse.
So the winter passed away pleasantly, and Maia began to talk of the spring, and of the time when she would have to go out into the world again and seek her fortune.
' Oh, you need not begin to think of that for a while yet,' answered the field-mouse. ' Up on the earth they have a proverb:
When the day lengthens Then the cold strengthens ;
it has been quite warm up to now, and the snow may fall any time. Never a winter goes by without it, and then you will be very thankful you are here, and not outside ! But I dare say it is quiet for a young thing like you,' she added, ' and I have invited my neighbour the mole to come and pay us a visit. He has been asleep all these months, but I hear he is waking up again. You would be a lucky girl if he took into his head to marry you, only, unfortunately, he is blind, and cannot see how pretty you are.' And for this blindness Maia felt truly glad, as she did not want a mole for a husband. However, by-and-by he paid his promised visit, and Maia did not like him at all. He might be as rich and learned as possible, but he hated the sun, and the trees, and the flowers, and all that Maia loved best. To be sure, being blind, he had never seen them, and, like many other people, he thought that anything he did not know was not worth knowing. But Maia's tales amused him, though he would not for the world have let her see it, and he admired her voice when she sang:
Mary, Mary, quite contrary, How does your garden grow ? or
Hush-a-bye, baby, on the tree top ;