Please Take Your Litter Home.
Early one morning in autumn, just about the time the last leaves had finished carpeting the ground beneath the venerable old oak tree, summer made a fleeting return visit, and in so doing warmed the ground underneath which lay the home of Woody the Wood Mouse.
Woody had, as Wood Mice are prone to do, been up all night foraging for food, although as foraging goes this night had been unsuccessful due in no small part to the persistent attentions of Toowit and Twoo the Tawny Owls who had lately, much to Woody’s annoyance taken to spending a lot of their time in the old oak tree.
So, it was that Woody feeling the warmth of the sun percolating into his burrow decided to go outside and have a last look for something tasty to eat before he went to bed for the day. Although Woody rarely ventured forth during daylight hours he was very hungry and besides, he knew that Toowit and Twoo would be bound to be sleeping after their long night of hunting and being complete nuisances.
After a bit of careful thought Woody made his mind up. He would risk a quick look about outside in the hope of finding a bedtime snack. It was a decision he would come to regret.
Let us go back in time. Not too far back. Just back a few weeks to the time when Mrs Elizabeth Smith -not her real name- and her two children Ben and Sally -not their real names- of 6 Holly Road- not their real address- in a nearby village -which shall also remain nameless to avoid embarrassment to the family- decided to have a picnic in the woods. As it happened the same woods where Woody the Wood mouse lived.
The family, chose to set up their picnic under the venerable old oak tree. The same old oak tree in whose roots Woody the Wood Mouse had his nest.
After their picnic the children, Ben and Sally -not their real names- had a fun time playing in the woods while their mother Elizabeth -not her real name- read a few chapters of a romance novel in the welcome shade and cool of the old oak. They did not stay long for Elizabeth had shopping to do and the evening meal to prepare for her husband Malcolm -not his real name- who liked his meal to be ready when he got home from work.
They did not clear up after themselves. Was it because Elizabeth -not her real name- was distracted thinking about dinner? Was it because the children Ben and Sally -not their real names- didn’t want to go home so soon and began to play up, causing their mother to lose her temper a little and forget all about taking their litter home? We cannot know the reason why. Maybe they were just selfish people? Maybe they didn’t care about the mess they made? Whatever the reason, they did not clean up after their picnic those few weeks ago.
Woody the Wood Mouse found the empty lemonade bottle they left behind. He saw the juicy rosehip that had fallen into the bottle where it lay wedged upright in the fork of a fallen branch. Woody the Wood mouse was hungry. He loved the sweet seeds inside rosehips. He climbed the branch and reached the bottles neck, squeezing into it. It was then he found his little feet could not get a grip on the smooth glass and he suddenly slid right into the bottle, landing with a bump beside the rosehip.
He was all right. It hadn’t been a long fall. Woody the Wood Mouse tucked into the juicy rosehip. He thoroughly enjoyed it. This was rather fitting because like the condemned man in his prison cell it was his last meal. Ever. Unable to climb up the steep, smooth glass sides of the bottle Woody Wood Mouse died a terrible, lonely, lingering death.
Please take your litter home.
John Bain 10/11/2016