CHANTERELLE THE MOUSE
CHANTERELLE THE MOUSE
C hanterelle was like a ball of fur spinning in the night wind. She tumbled so wildly that tears flew from her eyes. Her fur glittered purple in the moonlight.
Suddenly the moon became brighter. She seemed to be falling through something soft like the white petals of a giant flower. Where was she? Chanterelle tumbled headfirst into a pile of rope that smelled like the lake.
Looking up at the great sail in the moonlight, her mouth fell open in amazement. Chanterelle sat up to see exactly where she had fallen. A thick coil of rope had saved her from a bad fall. She had landed on the front deck of a sailboat! The night breeze pushed the sail above her back and forth like a stream of milk pouring down from the moon. Suddenly all was calm. Chanterelle could not believe what had happened. Purple smoke swirled around the top of the tower, sparkling in the moonlight.
When Chanterelle finally climbed through the confusing coil of rope, she found herself alone on the sailboat. It was tied to the castle wall with three long ropes that swayed with the current. Many of the portals in the castle were aglow with red and yellow lantern light. The music of the banquet made Chanterelle want to dance. How lucky she had been not to fall in the water!
Crawling onto one of the swaying ropes, Chanterelle carefully climbed toward the castle wall. The dark water below scared her; she did not look down, only ahead at the flickering portal. The music helped her remain hopeful. She soon arrived where the rope was tied to the wall. Chanterelle shivered with fright before leaping as far as her little legs could carry her.
Landing on a portal, Chanterelle stared in wonderment at the castle's banquet hall, which was full of tables covered with food and barrels of cider. The middle of the banquet hall was reserved for dancing. Kahloo sat at the head of a long table laughing with his soldiers as they feasted on cakes and pies of every kind. Chanterelle licked her lips while her stomach growled. On a side table sat the largest pile of cheese she had ever seen. For a mouse it was like a castle made of cheese!
But so many sandals and boots dancing on a stone floor scared Chanterelle. She would have to be clever to get to the cheese table without having her tail stomped on!
Climbing down from the portal, Chanterelle scurried along a wall toward the cheese table. Stopping under a red curtain, she watched the maidens dancing near the great pile of cheese. To run between the stomping soldiers' boots and maidens' sandals would not be easy!
Crouching down, Chanterelle got ready to run as fast as she could through the dancing feet. Darting through the forest was something Chanterelle was good at, but a castle was not a forest. The flickering torches on the walls around her cast frightening shadows. It was like an army of ghosts searching for her in every corner!
The music suddenly came to an end. Those feasting at the long tables stopped to applaud the minstrels. Chanterelle knew this was her moment. She scooted past a soldier's heavy boots and between a maiden's leather sandals. Once she was at a leg of the cheese table, Chanterelle crawled up into the darkness as fast as she could. She was soon hidden under a red tablecloth.
Chanterelle moved like a little lump under the tablecloth until she was at the back of the table where it met the wall. Hiding behind a bowl of figs, she stopped to catch her breath. The music resumed. But the dancing was finished. Everyone began feasting anew, with fresh baked bread and bowls of steaming sauces.
But Chanterelle was not alone. A maiden and two minstrels were suddenly at the cheese table. One of the minstrels happily chopped a block of cheese with a large knife. This scared Ch