The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.


on February 11, 2012

This is part one of a children’s story. All  together there are 12 such Old Witch stories, dearly loved by kids about  four to ten. All contain a lesson of some sort (say please and thank you) and all contain a bit of history – mention of the Parthenon, for example –  excellent jumping off points for discussion with older children.

Part 2 will  be posted shortly.  All of the stories are available by  request. Write to julierose601@gmail.com.


            The Old Witch was getting tired.  She slowed her swing down, took a deep breath and stopped to rest for a minute. Suddenly she felt something tickling her toes.  It felt like hundreds of tiny pins were poking her. She looked down and saw five little mice, huddled together at her feet. One of them was hanging on tight to a fuzzy blue slipper

“Well, hello,” said the Old Witch. “What can I do for you or are you just here to tickle me?”

The biggest mouse took one step forward, then one step backward, then one step forward and another step back. He was not a very brave mouse.

“You don’t have to be afraid of me,” said the Old Witch. I won’t hurt you.”

The mouse took another step forward and finally he said, “We want to ask you something Old Witch.”

“Go right ahead and ask,” she said.

The mouse said, “It’s almost winter and we don’t want to live outside when it snows and gets icy cold. We wonder if you might have room for us in your house. We just need a small space that’s warm. Even a shoebox is big enough for us.”

The Old Witch patted her lap and four mice climbed up her legs and sat down.

“Aren’t you coming?” she asked the mouse still on the ground.

“I can’t leave our bed here,” he said.

“Is that what that fuzzy thing you’re hanging onto is?” said the Old Witch. “Well, I’ll just pick it up for you and you climb on up here with your brothers.”

“Now, let’s talk about this,” said the Old Witch. “First, who are you?”

“I’m Eeny,” said Eeny.

“I’m Menie,” said Menie.

“I’m  Minie,” said  Minie.

“I’m Moe,” said Moe.

“And I’m Bernie,” squeaked Bernie, the smallest mouse.

“Eeny, Menie, Minie, Moe and Bernie,” said the Old Witch. “How did you get those interesting names?”

“We’re orphans,” said Menie. “Our parents got caught in a mousetrap when we were babies and we didn’t have any names so we picked them ourselves.”

“I’m sorry about your parents. Mousetraps are evil things. Those are very nice names,” said the Old Witch. “Now, if you want to live in my house you have to understand there are some rules. First, everyone is polite to everyone else.”

“Oh,” screeched Miney, “We’re very polite! We always say please and thank you.”

“Good,” said the Old Witch. “Second, I do not like dirt. If you live in my house and go running in the fields or the garden, you have to wipe your feet before you come back in.”

“We can do that,” said Moe. “If you put a pan of water outside the door, we’ll even wash our feet before we come back in.”

“That would be very nice,” said the Old Witch. “Well, I can do better than a shoebox or a slipper.  I could probably even find four more slippers so you’d each have your own bed.  I have one room in the attic that nobody lives in right now. You can have that one. It does have a piano in one corner but I don’t think it will be in your way.”

“A piano,” screeched Bernie. “A piano! We play the piano!”

“What?” said the Old Witch. “You can play a piano.”

“Yes,” Bernie replied. “Moe and I play the black keys and Eeny, Menie and Miney play the white keys. We can make beautiful music for you and your friends.”

“What can you play?” asked the Old Witch.

“Just about anything,” said Miney. “We once lived in another house with a piano that was owned by the conductor of an orchestra. We listened to him practice every day and we learned a lot of music. We can play some things by Mozart, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, and a bunch of others. We can also play some rock music if you like that.”

“No thank you, I like the classical composers. Let’s go inside so you can meet everybody,” she said as she popped the five mice into the pocket of her dress and picked up the slipper.

It had been a quiet morning in the Old Witch’s house.  When she walked in she wondered where everybody was.  She soon found that Count Morbid was in the kitchen experimenting with a Chinese recipe and Rumple was at the grocery store looking for sour pickles. Slobolla had vacuumed the house four times and was pouting in his room because everyone else told him to turn off the vacuum cleaner. Rusty the Skeleton was curled up on the couch in the living room reading ghost stories. Skinnieminnie, who wanted to gain some weight, was at the kitchen table eating a hot fudge sundae with heaps of whipped cream. Between bites, he was singing silly songs to the Ugly Black Spider who sat on his shoulder.

When she opened the door, the Old Witch blew her ‘ATTENTION’ whistle and everybody came running.

“We have new guests,” she announced. “Here they are.” One by one she reached in her pocket and gently lifted them out.

“This is Eeny, this is Menie, this is Minie, this is Moe, and this is Bernie,” she said. “They are going to be living with us because they don’t want to freeze outside when winter comes. They have promised to be very neat and clean and the best news is that they can play that piano upstairs. Imagine that. Five mice playing a piano.”

“I don’t believe it,” said Rusty the Skeleton.

“I have my doubts about that,” said Count Morbid.

“Anybody can do anything they’re determined to do,” said Mr. Googolplex.”

“Let’s check it out right now,” said Rumple.

“Okay,” said the Old Witch. She opened her pocket and the mice jumped in. Everybody marched up to the attic. When the mice saw the piano they squealed with joy and jumped on the keyboard. Soon they were hopping up and down and the music of the Jupiter Symphony came floating out


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