[This story, from 2 June 2012 and just recently rediscovered, is one of a few that I wrote for my kids to model creative writing for them and to whet their appetite for doing it themselves.]
Once upon a time there was an old cat. The cat was so old that he was losing some of the fur on top of his head. “Meow,” thought the cat, which meant, “I wish I had a nice hat to cover my bald spot.”
As it happens, there was a nice hat that the cat’s person sometimes wore. But it was high on a shelf — too high for the old cat to jump.
“Meow,” thought the cat, which meant, “That hat would look great on me. I wish I could reach it.” But try as he might, he couldn’t.
At that very moment, the cat’s old enemy, the mouse, appeared from his hole. “Meow,” thought the cat, which meant, “A nice mousey meal will make me feel better.” The cat pounced at the mouse, but being so old, his pounce was very slow, and the mouse had plenty of time to disappear back into his hole. “Meow!” shouted the cat in frustration, which meant, “Not only am I going bald, but I can’t even catch a mouse anymore!”
The mouse heard the cat’s “Meow” and understood it (because at mouse school they teach cat language for self-defense). Even though the cat had been trying to eat him for years, the mouse felt bad for him. Then the mouse had an idea. Maybe he could cheer up the cat. Maybe then the cat would stop chasing him!
“Squeak!” said the mouse from his hole, which meant, “If you’ll promise to stop trying to eat me, I’ll help you get that hat.”
The cat (who understood mouse language thanks to an after-school mouse-language class he once took) laughed and said, “Meow!” meaning, “If I, a cat, who’s an expert at jumping and climbing, can’t get that hat, how can a mouse possibly get it?”
The mouse poked his head out of his hole. “Squeak,” he said, which meant, “Oh I can get it, alright.” He added, “Squeak?” meaning, “Do we have a deal?”
“Meow,” the cat nodded skeptically.
The mouse disappeared back inside his hole. For a moment, the cat heard nothing; but then there came the sound of tiny mouse feet marching up through old tunnels he’d dug in the walls over the years. Then silence again for a moment; and then to the cat’s astonishment, a tiny hole appeared in the wall just above the shelf, right behind the hat. A moment later the mouse’s nose appeared through the hole, and as his tiny claws dug the hole wider, the rest of the mouse emerged.
“Squeak,” called the mouse from high above the cat, meaning, “We have a deal, right?”
“Meow,” agreed the cat admiringly. So the mouse gave the hat a push and down it tumbled from the shelf — right onto the old cat’s head.
The mouse re-entered the wall, scampered down his tunnels, and came back out through the hole near the floor. “Squeak,” he said to the cat, meaning, “That hat looks nice on you. You should go look in a mirror.”
The cat went to a nearby mirror and took a look at himself. “Meow,” thought the cat, meaning, “I look years younger! I’ll bet I could catch that mouse now!” And with one quick pounce, the mouse was trapped beneath his paws!
“SQUEAK!” said the mouse, meaning, “HEY! WE HAD A DEAL!”
The cat brought his face closer to the trapped mouse. Terrified, the mouse watched the cat’s mouth open and thought, “Squeak,” meaning, “This is the end.”
And then the cat poked out his tongue to give the mouse a grateful kiss.
“Meow,” said the cat, and meant it.