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The Queen and the Mouse

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By the time she had finished her thoughts, the little mouse had dragged in more and more straw, until the Queen had plenty to weave her basket. The Queen worked at it night and day while the little mouse danced for her. At lunch and supper time the Queen gave the mouse the three peas and the bit of black bread, and always found something scrumptious in their place. She really could not imagine where all these yummy dishes were coming from. At last one day when the basket was finished, the Queen was looking out of the window to see how long a cord she must make to lower it to the bottom of the tower, when she noticed a little old woman down below leaning upon her stick who was looking up at her. Presently the old woman said, "I know your trouble, madam. If you like, I will help you."

At last one day when the basket was finished, the Queen was looking out of the window to see how long a cord she must make to lower it to the bottom of the tower, when she noticed a little old woman down below leaning upon her stick who was looking up at her. Presently the old woman said, "I know your trouble, madam. If you like I will help you."

"Oh, dear lady!" said the Queen. "If you really wish to be of use to me you will come at a time I will describe to you, and I will let down my poor little baby in a basket. If you will take her, and bring her up for me, when I am rich and free again, I will reward you splendidly."

"I don't care about any reward," said the old woman. "And you can be sure your little daughter shall be well taken care of by me. But there is one thing I should like. You must know that I am very particular about what I eat, and if there is one thing that I fancy above all else, it is a plump, tender little mouse. If there happens to be any mouse in your garret just throw it down to me, that is all I ask."

Well, when the Queen heard this began to cry. The old woman, after waiting a few minutes, asked her what was the matter.

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