Prayers to the Birds
The secrets of trees

The Mouse in the House

Miss Mouse by Beatrix Potter

Although Trick-or-Treating for Halloween is really an American tradition, many English children have adopted it now, including the children here in Chagford. My former cottage, where I lived for 18 years, was located down a pedestrian lane at the center of the village, so many Trick-or-Treaters found their way to Miss Mouse in her knock-about clothes, at a friend's house outside Chagfordmy door. But I was never home on Halloween. Instead, a bashful mouse would greet them, with a shy little flick of her long pink tail, standing in the candle-lit doorway of that fairy-tale cottage with its roof of thatch.

The photograph to the right is my only picture of the elusive mouse of Weaver's Cottage. She's wearing her everyday clothes, but she always dressed elegantly for Halloween in a long brown velvet dress. She was known to children of the village as Miss Mouse, and she lived (I explained to them) in my cottage walls all the rest of the year.

These days, in my married life, I live on the outer edge of the village, and only a few intrepid youngsters climb the shadowy, overgrown path to our door on Halloween. Now it's only Tilly, Howard, and I who greet them, for Miss Mouse has long since disappeared; she was last seen, clutching a little mouse-sized suitcase, on the day that I moved from Weaver's Cottage.

A generation of Chagford children grew up with Miss Mouse. (Some even brought her presents of cheese.) I know that they'll carry that memory...and I know that she's still missed. Wherever you are Miss Mouse, stay warm and cozy, and have a good Halloween.

Miss Mouse

Weaver's Cottage At the doorway of Weaver's Cottage


Wonderful, of such things are memories made.

For Terri--just for fun:

For the Halloween Mouse Who Disappeared

Mistress Mousie
In her low housie,
sipping on her wine.

Pants and blousie
Not a sousie,
Thinking life's so fine.

Now a spousie
High hill housie,
Hubbie with to dine.

Mrs Mousie,
Thee and thou-sie
Brand new kin and kine.

From Jane the Caledonian Cat
who cants and chants and rants

©2012 Jane Yolen All rights reserved

Happy Halloween to everyone. Am I right in believing that the Halloween customs travelled from England to America with the Pilgrim Fathers, where they were kept safe while Cromwell destroyed them along with many other of our calendar customs, at home? I think that in some parts of Yorkshire the traditions actually survived, and I wonder if that was because the eminently sensible General Thomas Fairfax protected them from the more extreme elements of Puritanism.

Stuart Hill

Awwww so magical!!

There's a good history of the holiday here, which touches on that a little bit:

Happy Halloween to you too, Stuart!

Miss Mouse is just lovely!
Wishing her a Hallowe'en full of wonder...wherever she happens to be.

Jane's poem is a delight!

Oh my word, I just love this. Miss Mouse would love it too!

(Now I'm off to share it with the human hubbie in the hill housie...)

Thanks for the link to the web-site,Terri. Fascinating stuff!


Yes Lynn, Miss Mousie is so lovely. And the poem from Jane, a treat.

We have one (mousie)in our cozy house-kitchen. Though not nearly as well-dressed, I do hope our kitty will not think her a pest.

I would have loved to have met Miss Mouse, thanks for sharing! I live too far away for anyone to come trick-or-treating.. :( If they did, I imagine a bear would hand out the treats, and stash honeycakes away for herself, too, for later while she prepared for her long sleep.

Terri, you an incredible, and I am inspired to start my own tradition in years to come. Maybe a feisty fox who likes to get away to the Big Apple every Halloween...

This is all the more sweet because we currently have a house mouse of our own that is getting more daring by the week. Maybe she just wanted to give out treats?

Love this... Happy Halloween everyone!


If Miss Potter
Had a daughter
She would be
A fancied up Mousy.

But both would be silly
In love with a Tillly
Two animal lovers
Each heart that hovers

In several affections
In the same directions
Aware of mice and men and dramas
Creating nature's panoramas.

(OK, I have to have a go--)

Little Miss Mouse,
Come answer the bell,
Goodfellow is calling,
And wishes you well,
From down on the step,
Or up in the tree,
He’s singing, Miss Mousie,
Please marry me.

Marry me, marry me,
Tarry me, carry me,
Pretty Miss Mousie,
Please come marry me.

I'm a Hollday
You're a pond
Across a world
We've made a bond.

Loving Miss Mouse
Is international
Tho marriage is out
Not quite rational.

She's found a prince
Whose love for mice
Stole her away.
He is quite nice.

No trick or treat
Will call her back,
She loves us all and we
Will ne;er lack

Her presence in
The world of myth.
Radiance comes, too
Like a shining wreath.

I do so love Beatrix Potter's Mouse Ladies with their ruffles and flounces, ribbons, lace and mob caps. And I adore Jill Barclem's Brambly Hedge folk. We were acquainted with a Halloween mouse for a while who used to carry her tail draped over her shoulder to keep it from being trod upon in the crush. She was a lady of fashion and her crinolines rustled quite deliciously when she moved about.

These are all wonderful. What a treat!

Holliday, across from the Pond;
Awr (blush) doth respond.
As we sweep our demons away
We now celebrate All Saints Day.


And I should mention that I've heard from several people how much they love all these poems, even though they don't comment here. Just passing on the love...

Or is it All Souls Day? It has been a long time since I was in Catechism classes.

Awww 2. Passing the love is my favorite thing.

31, Halloween -- 1, All Saints -- 2, All Souls:
Devils, the Righteous, and the Rest of Us.

I was out walking to visit Miss Mouse,
Who should I meet by the way?
Songs in her fingers and rhymes in her pack,
Kind Miss Holliday
How d’ye do, and hi d’ye do,
Are you walking my way?
Hi d’ye do, and how d’ye do,
Dancing down the highway.

Step once high and
Step down twice,
Bow and curtsy,
Frogs and mice!

Humble Reply

Miss Holliday blushes and curtseys
Upon finding upon her path
The dancing gentleman, all "Please
And Thank You," by my faith.

Asked if I have new rhymes
In my pack, I finger a song
And flip it in air.. Such times
We have. It seems so long

That I find it our dance
Was no more than an hour.
How time and space immense
Allows magic things to flower.

In the wind and in the air
Friendship blooms and flies
Past Miss Mousie's lair
Mistress of magic, beauty, smiles.

So thus the tale of Mr. Pond
and Miss Holliday but never
Far from the amazing bond
In the enchanted forever

The comments to this entry are closed.