The Mice, the Cat, and the Falcon

Once in a rural township, there was a miller who kept several pets: a calm peregrine falcon and a Siberian cat at the behest of his wife and daughters. He lived in a grand house downstream from his mill and made a decent living, enough for his wife to thoroughly furnish the rooms in all sorts of white upholstery, for she could not stand any color less pure than that of fresh milk.

One day, while the miller was at work and the ladies of the household were out, Bird was horrified to find a silver mouse with little pointed ears nibbling through the bags of flour stacked in the pantry.

"Why, Mr. Mouse! What reason have you for taking this flour? The bread on the shelf there is surely more desirable than this!" Bird said, landing atop the perfectly white shelves stacked with goods.

"I do not recall," said Mr. Mouse, backing away from the ruptured sack and glancing back and forth. Bird frowned at this, his keen sight barely perceiving trails of flour on the usually clean, creamy white tile. Were those...paw prints? My, would the lady have a fit about this!

"Mr. Mouse, dear sir, did you make those tracks there?" Bird asked.

"I do not recall," said Mr. Mouse, clacking his claws against the tile and staring at the mouse hole.

"Oh, but Mr. Mouse, surely you know who did make them, if not you?" Bird asked.

"I do not recall!" At that, Mr. Mouse fled, sprinting toward the hole, but alas, he was not fast enough. Bird dove from the shelf, snatched Mr. Mouse up in his claws, and quickly devoured him.

"It seems I have no choice but to investigate myself," Bird declared. "First, I shall follow these odd tracks. Perhaps I shall find something interesting." And follow, he did, fluttering through the house. The trail led to another mouse hole, so Bird peered into the hole and found there a horrid sight.

A party of mice were gathered around a large pile of flour, and they were laughing and feasting upon all manner of delicious goods from the pantry from breadcrumbs to the miller's finest champagne, clinking tiny toy glasses from the young ladies' dollhouse and smoking the miller's tobacco.

"Here, here!" said Caesar Mouse, the leader of all the mice in the land, as he struggled to hold his glass due to his tiny mouse hands. The room quieted, and he rose to his feet. "This is a big, big land full of some great, great people. Now, thanks to you, we are going to make the mice great again. To the one who made this a very tremendous, like, super tremendous day! To Cat!"

Cat? Why on earth would Cat encourage mice to seek shelter within these walls? Then, Caesar Mouse continued, "By the way, lock up that nasty Bird guy. What a disgusting animal! Covfefe!"

Bird leaned back from the hole, shaking with anger. How dare the mice conspire with Cat!

This could not go unpunished, so Bird came up with an idea. He went to the pantry and took from it some of the flour and the box matches kept there for the miller's tobacco, and then, he returned to the mouse hole, setting alight some of the flour and carefully watching it smolder.

"Fire! Fire!" Bird cried, and all of the mice squealed, running out of the celebration and right into the falcon's waiting beak. In a matter of moments, the entire assembly of mice had been gobbled up.

Now, to deal with Cat.

Bird would need to set up a trap around his perch to lure Cat into the room. So, he returned to his perch only to find much larger paw prints of flour in there, and it suddenly all made sense.

Cat had made a deal with the mice; if they acquired flour for him to hide his tracks among the whiteness of the rest of the house, Cat wouldn't attack them. In this way, Cat could sneak around undetected and could even murder Bird, the only remaining threat to their plans! With this finally made clear, Bird rested upon his perch and pretended to sleep. All he had to do was wait.

Cat slinked in soon after with a predatory look in his eyes, his sinewy muscles stretching as he prepared to pounce. Before he could, Bird swept down and grabbed Cat by the scruff of his pampered fur coat, dragging him out of the house through an open window and dropping him into the river before returning home, satisfied with the results of his investigation.

The miller, his wife, and his daughters returned, but Cat never did. At first, they were dismayed at the loss of their pet, but soon after, they focused their attention on Bird instead, rewarding him with treats and cherishing him far more than they did before. Everything was at peace once more.