And he couldn’t have come at a better time.
There was much tension in the jungle. Everyone was in a grumpy old mood – Lion was roaring at anyone who came too close. Elephant stomped around like a hippo with a sore toe. Hippo stomped around because he had a sore toe, and Crocodile was extra snappy. And then little Field Mouse set off for a walk . . .
. . . but crashed into Monkey.
‘Oh, sorry,’ squeaked little Field Mouse.
‘Outrageous!’ screeched Monkey, who raised his fists and chased after Field Mouse . . .
But bumped into Zebra.
‘Appalling!’ snorted Zebra, who stamped his hooves and galloped after Monkey . . .
But tumbled into Giraffe.
‘Plain rude!’ bellowed Giraffe, who stretched his legs and scampered after Zebra . . .
But tripped over Croc.
‘Massive mistake!’ snapped Croc. Who licked his teeth and scurried after Giraffe . . .
But hammered into Hippo.
‘Insulting!’ bellowed Hippo, who flapped his little ears and pounded after Croc . . .
But stamped on Lion’s tail.
‘Insolent! Roared Lion, who threw up his paws and hurried after Hippo . . .
But thundered into Elephant.
‘Disrespectful!’ trumpeted Elephant, who stamped his feet and stomped after Lion – trapping him by some bushes. Elephant raised his trunk and stamped his feet frighteningly.
Now little Field Mouse, watching from the bushes, was upset by all the bullying. So he mustered all his courage, scuttled up to Elephant, took a giant breath and bellowed, ‘KNOCK IT OFF!’
Elephant stared down his long trunk, ‘Who dare challenge me?’
Little Field Mouse swallowed hard. His heart punched sharply into his chest.
‘I do,’ he squeaked.
Elephant laughed and stamped his gigantic feet, trying to trample little Field Mouse. Little Field Mouse dodged and weaved. Rolled and spun. Ducked and dived. He was one nimble little Field Mouse.
Elephant’s legs became tangled and twisted and all tied up in knots, and . . .
CRASH-BOOM! went Elephant, tumbling over and over.
The other animals snapped out of their grumpy moods at once. They gave three cheers to little Field Mouse and lifted him high in the air – Hip, hip. Hooray!
And that’s how little Field Mouse, giant of heart, became King of the Jungle, 2012.
Photo credit: © Ken Williams 2012
Bedtime Stories downloadable tales for children are an AWO initiative, run in support of the National Year of Reading 2012. We encourage you to print and read these stories with your kids, and revel in the joy a wonderful story can bring. All stories are original and have been penned by established and emerging Australian authors. Every month, we will publish four stories running to a central theme, each on a Monday morning. See here for more.