Il Topo di Campagna – the Field Mouse, a true and cautionary tale

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Just before Christmas, about two months ago,
Came a cry from the kitchen, my wife said “Oh no!”
I came at the double, expecting the worst,
A fire on the stove or a pipe that had burst?

Instead I was shown some small oval spots,
In a cupboard reserved for stainless steel pots.
“It’s a mouse” she said, “now what shall we do?”
I said “Don’t be silly, it’s just spider poo!”

But the very next day we found a lot more,
Some on the work top, and some on the floor,
But it was tooth marks on a pear that gave him away.
That’s when I agreed, it’s a mouse making hay.

How does he get in? We asked in despair,
There must be a crack or a space somewhere.
So we searched for a gap, however small,
But with torches and lamps we found nothing at all.

The kitchen was airtight, no sign of a hole,
I wasn’t surprised, we bought Poggenpohl!
It may sound cruel, but you’d do the same, perhaps,
I went into town and I bought me some traps.

They looked fairly simple, and I’d got lots of cheese,
The smelly sort, a mouse’s taste buds to please,
But the stifled guffaw from my wife it still lingers,
As when I tried to set them, they snapped on my fingers.

Each morning I’d find, it had all been in vain,
So I picked them all up, (and hurt myself again!)
I tried every bait, mainly things highly scented,
But the cunning little bugger still refused to be tempted.

One dark, rainy night, my wife did not retire,
But dozed on the sofa, in front of the fire,
She woke a little later, opening one sleepy eye,
To see a tiny field mouse, as he quickly scuttled by.

He was cute, and no more than a half finger long,
He paused; and he looked; and then he ran on.
She trapped him in the hallway, not quite sure what to do,
Then opened up the front door- the mouse ran straight through.

Next morning, over breakfast, she regaled me with the tale,
Of how the mouse had left the house, hearty and quite hale.
We raised a glass of orange juice, just to wish him well,
But little did we know– this was the mouse from hell.

He was back a few days later, gnawing at the fruit,
Shredding plastic bags, anything that would suit
His varied gastronomic taste, from which nothing was excluded.
Thus he sealed his fate, the poison purchase was concluded.

The tainted grain was laid, this time he took the bait,
We never saw another turd- at last this mouse was late!
It never crossed our minds that, although he might be gone,
His legacy of munching, might still be lingering on.

The next time we used the oven, it wouldn’t even light,
So I called the service engineer, to help us put it right,
He turned up with his chum and they did their very best,
But in the end, reluctantly, this was all they could suggest,

“You’ll have to disconnect the pipes, for that you need a plumber,
We don’t do gas, we’re not allowed, we know that it’s a bummer,
But rules is rules so, give us a call when it’s all sorted out,
And we’ll come back to fix it.” But their expressions gave me doubt.

The plumber came on Thursday, and smiled his “plumbers smile”
You know the one that really means, “I might be here a while.”
But in less than half an hour, the pipe was disconnected,
I said, “Let’s pull the whole range out, to see what’s been affected.”

We finally got the whole thing out, but it was easier said than done,
A full four feet of stainless steel, it must have weighed a ton!
We then removed the back plates, and gasped in shocked surprise,
At the scene of total carnage, laid bare before our eyes.

He’d obviously been at his task, for a month, or maybe more,
The shredded insulation covered half the kitchen floor.
Many wires were stripped, some even gnawed right through,
So never underestimate what one small mouse can do.

Gentle readers all, I beg you, to heed this sorry rhyme,
If Mr Mouse comes through your door, don’t waste any time,
Ignore humanitarian thoughts, should they form inside your head,
Use all means at your disposal, until the beast is dead!


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