|Sugar Bush Friends
Jackie Nieman Ontario, Canada
HEDGEHOG AND THE SCAREMOUSE
1996, by Jackie Nieman
Once upon a
time, there lived a little hedgehog named Harold. Harold
was not the prickly sort of hedgehog. Being a hedgehog of
the stuffed variety, Harold was very soft and cuddly. Now
Harold was small and very timid.
after he was born, he and his parents, brothers, sisters
and the rest of the hedgehog community were taken away
from their home in an Eastern Country and put in a dark
place which was very crowded and which was placed
somewhere very noisy. Harold was used to the noise of the
factory where he was born, but this noise was quite
different. It was so loud it seemed to go right through
him and it roared so that Harold was convinced there must
be 10,000 lions and tigers about ready to devour him for
tea. The place where Harold and the rest of the hedgehogs
were was very dark so that Harold couldnt even see
who was beside him. Everyone was chattering to try to
find members of their families and some of the women and
girl hedgehogs were crying. It appeared that no one in
the dark place knew what was going to happen to them.
time, the dark place began to move a little...shifting
this way and that. This motion did not make Harold
comfortable at all...and neither did the way his ears
felt, full one minute and popping with pain the next.
Poor Harold. He was convinced that the world was about to
end. He just snuggled in a corner of the dark place and
hoped that it would soon be over. He fell asleep with the
horrible thought that in this dark place with the world
about to end, he would never see his family again.
up to the chattering of the other hedgehogs in the dark
place. It seemed different somehow...then he realized!!!
The horrible noise had stopped!!! Harold then felt the
dark place he was in being jostled about again. The
hedgehog whom Harold had been sitting next to, growled at
poor Harold as the dark place was turned and Harold
almost ended up in the other hedgehogs lap!!
thing Harold heard was another loud noise. This was not
nearly as loud as the previous one, but it sounded
somewhat similar. This experience wouldnt have been
nearly as bad as what hed gone through the last few
hours, except that the dark place was being bumped and
banged so much that it hurt Harolds rump to sit
down for any length of time. He would have loved to be
able to run about a little--his legs were quite
cramped--but the dark place was so crowded, all he could
do was stand in one spot. At length, the noise stopped.
minutes later, Harold heard shrieks from some of the
other hedgehogs. He tried to see what was happening, but
had to shade his eyes because of a bright light that
flooded into the dark place. As Harold became accustomed
to the light, he searched longingly for his family, but
couldnt see a familiar face anywhere. Harold
shrieked as he was picked up by a giant. He had only seen
giants once before, at the factory where he was born. His
mother had explained to him that they were, for the most
part, a good lot and not to be afraid. The giant placed
Harold on a shelf...a long way from the floor. Harold
didnt like heights, but there were some of the
other hedgehogs from the dark place on the shelf already,
so he felt relatively safe and occupied himself by
appeared to be in a large room. It wasnt as big as
the factory, but was much more crowded. There were
shelves everywhere holding things Harold had never seen
before: rectangles with strange squiggles on them, which
some of the giants were holding and looking at; creatures
of various kinds (but nothing which Harold could
identify) which stood very still and didnt move at
all (they werent fuzzy, like Harold, but looked
stiff and shiny), and other creatures which didnt
look like Harold, but were soft and cuddly like him.
All of a
sudden, Harold turned and, to his horror, saw a large
something on the next shelf. It wasnt nearly as
large as the giants, but it was larger than him. The
something roared at Harold and Harold trembled.
a scaremouse," thundered the something. "My job
is to keep mice away. How dare you little mice invade my
roared the scaremouse. "There are no
"buts" about it. I look like a very large mouse
in order to scare all the little vermin away. What
business have you here, and why havent you run from
the sight of me, yet?"
the Hedgehog was so frightened, he couldnt utter a
commanded the scaremouse.
Im not a mouse, sir," started Harold.
"Im a hedgehog. See?" said Harold
pointing to his rump, "Ive not got a long tail
like you have."
he had made a mistake, but being too proud to admit it,
the scaremouse just said, "Hhhrrummph," and
turned to look about the room.
had had no one to talk to in a very long time and,
although he was frightened of the scaremouse, he ventured
to continue the conversation.
names Harold. Whats your name?"
replied the scaremouse. "Ive not got a name.
Im not a cute, fuzzy, little one like you. I was
born to do a job that requires me to be mean and,
therefore, no one bothered to give me a name."
even your mother?" asked Harold.
the scaremouse started to cry. "I dont have a
mother. Or, at least, if I do, I never knew her. I was
taken from my home as soon as I was born to be brought
here. The worst part is, there havent been any mice
to scare away!! So, not only am I frightening to look at,
but Im also useless!!!"
be silly," said Harold, who couldnt tolerate
others getting down on themselves, especially when it
wasnt true. "Youre not
scaremouse looked at him in horror, he added quickly,
"At least, not to ME. Im sure youd
frighten away mice very well!!! In the mean time, perhaps
we could be friends."
such a nice little hedgehog," said the scaremouse,
drying his tears. "No ones ever wanted to be
friends with me before."
youve got a friend now," said Harold, pleased
that he could make the scaremouse smile. "Perhaps I
could even give you a name. Would you like that?"
thought for a minute and then said suddenly, "how
about, Simon. Yes, I think you look like a
the scaremouse said slowly. "Yes, I do like that.
Oh, thank you, Harold for giving me a name...youre
a true friend!!!"
Harold and Simon spent all of their time together from
that moment on until one day when a young giant came into
the room. He picked up Simon and took him to a counter
where another giant put him in some kind of a white
container that made a crackling sound when it was
touched, was slightly shiny and had handles. Then the
first giant walked out of the room with the white
container inside which, since the sides were shaking,
Harold knew Simon was trembling.
terribly sad that his friend was gone. First, hed
lost his family. Now, hed lost his best friend. He
was beginning to wish the world had come to an end in the
Then, a few
days later, the giant who had taken Simon away came back
into the room. This giant talked with the giant behind
the counter for a few minutes. Then the first giant
handed the one behind the counter a white container
identical to the one he had taken Simon away in. The
giant behind the counter opened the container and took
out Simon!!!! The giant placed Simon back on the shelf
next to Harold.
amazed. He hadnt dreamed that hed see his
friend again. After all, he had hoped to find his family
after leaving the dark place, and that didnt
happen, but here was Simon sitting next to him again!!!
The two friends hugged and, after each shedding a few
happy tears, Harold asked Simon what had happened.
so terribly angry and disappointed at being taken away
from you, that I refused to scare away any mice. This
morning, an ugly live mouse (not the stuffed kind, you
understand) came scampering across the floor. I saw it,
but I just sat there and didnt even growl. I
figured if I didnt do my job properly, the giant
would have to bring me back to you...and I was
lets not let anyone separate us again," cried
day, a young female giant came into the room. She picked
up one of the hedgehogs on the shelf, put it down, then
picked up Harold.
very cute," she said to the giant behind the
counter. "Im thinking of getting it for a
friend. Do you know if they have hedgehogs in
giant replied that she wasnt sure and then picked
just got these in last week," she said. "I
think its so cute. I love the way its
both cute," said the first giant. She looked at
Harold and Simon and finally, she said, "Decisions.
Decisions. You know, when I first talked with my friend
in England, he said that they had had a mouse infestation
in his office recently. Maybe this mouse would keep the
real ones away. Yes, I think Ill take them
Simon couldnt believe their good fortune!!!! As
they were placed in another white container (but, this
time, together), Harold said to Simon, "I guess some
friends are meant to be together forever."