The sun was nearly overhead before Frank, cursing himself for his laziness, woke. He sat up tried to get his bearings. Everything around him was unfamiliar, but, at least he saw no alligator tracks. Knowing that he’d been swept downstream, he proceeded to head in the opposite direction, knowing that, if he walked far enough, he would reach the place where he dove in. It took him some time to reach the spot, and when he did he was relieved to find that the alligator was no longer there. Since he was already very late, he decided he might as well find where the nest was hidden.
He simply had to follow the alligator tracks. 100 yards from the stream he found the nest- and 2 full grown alligators who were guarding it jealously. He inched closer to have a better look, totally engrossed in what he was seeing. He didn’t notice the rock that barred his way, and tripped over it, falling flat. Instantly the alligators were alerted, and swayed their heads back and forth, searching for the intruder. They spotted him just as he scrambled back into the tangled undergrowth, and both went after him with a low, guttural roar. They may have looked clumsy, but they ran at great speed, and would have overtaken Frank if he hadn’t fallen down a small hole. The two beasts thundered over him, and soon he could hear them no more. As soon as his heart stopped beating quite as fast, he started to look around his surroundings.
He was in a small hole, hardly tall enough for him to stand in, yet it didn’t quite feel like a hole- it was too dry and clean smelling. He barely had time to make these observations before he heard a scratching sound followed by a puff and a flash of light. Frank whirled around, and saw, facing him, a small furry creature.
“Who are you?” Frank asked.
“Who are you?” The creature said in answer, “and what are you trying to do, jumping into my house like that?”
“I didn’t mean to fall in”, Frank said. “I was being chased by alligators and fell in by accident. As far as who I am, I am Francois Arborio de Felinie, but around here I am known simply by the name Frank.”
“Hi!” The creature said. “My name is George. I’m a weasel. What are you?”
“I am a mouse”
“I didn’t know that mice live in these parts.”
“They don’t. I and 16 others of my kind were wrecked on your shores. We are staying at the home of the chipmunk brothers.”
“Oh yes. They’re good friends of mine. But they don’t live anywhere near here. How did you end up here? You’re over 3 miles from their house!
“I went out to do some scouting and information gathering.”
“Well, the information that I gather is that you’re lost- right?”
“Sadly, yes.”
“Well, I am just the weasel you need! I’ll get you back home in two shakes of a frog’s tail!”
It was nearly dark by the time Frank got home, and George told him to go in by himself.
“I need to be heading home, and if I stay it’ll be midnight before I can start back! Once Bubba starts talkin’, he keeps talkin’ for a long, long time!”
Thanking his newly acquired friend, Frank dragged his weary body the last few feet until home. He knocked once, and was about to knock again when the cabin door flew open.
“Hey fellers!” Lookee here!” Bubba was standing in the doorway, with his pudgy face all wrinkled int a smile.
“Looks as if Mr. Mouse has finally got himself back! Yee haw! Ain’t I glad tuh see yuh! Com in Mr.! Tell us all ‘bout the ‘dventures ya’ve been uh havin’ while we’ve been uh waitin’ here! Get yourself some stew! Pull up a chair. Get warm! How’ve yuh been managin’ without us?”
Frank was bewildered by this barrage of questions, and just stared blankly. Bubba realized Frank was a bit flustered, so he said, “Wall, I guess all them thar questions can wait. You’ll be able to answer ‘em better with a full belly!”
Frank gratefully sat down to eat the steaming bowl of stew Chubba offered him, suddenly realizing that he hadn’t eaten all day. At first he shovelled food into his mouth at an astonishing speed, but gradually sleep proved more powerful than hunger, and the spoon dropped from his paw, clattering to the floor.
“Wall”, Bubba said to himself. “I guess all them questions will ‘ave tuh wait till tomorrer. This feller needs his rest.”
Heedless of the mud that was covering Frank, Bubba lifted the sleeping mouse from his chair, carrying him past the other mice, who looked as curious as Bubba felt, and into the small alcove where Frank’s bed was. Bubba lowered him down onto it, and as he walked out, he turned back, looking at the small, mud covered mouse. Thars somethin’ special ‘bout that mouse, Bubba thought. Wonder what it is? He walked out, pondering that question.