The Mouse That Ate Books (Part 2 of 2)
After a quick breakfast, Lanky and Tibö headed to Santa’s library where Gordot was waiting for them nervously.
“The cat caught the mouse!” said Gordot. “I put her in a cage. She’s scared to death, the poor thing.”
The three elves walked towards a small cage watched over by the black cat, who seemed very proud. Tibö thanked him and promised him a special meal of raw fish.
“So, are you the one nibbling away at the children’s books?” Lanky asked the mouse. “Is this a new thing in Santa’s village? Are you mice into eating paper now?”
Looking guilty, the mouse seemed petrified. She started squealing.
“She looks as if she is trying to talk to us,” said Tibö, “but I don’t understand a word she says.”
“Let’s take her to a Holhooja elf,” said Lanky. “They know how to communicate with animals. They will understand what she’s trying to tell us.”
Lanky and Tibö brought the mouse to an old Holhooja elf who was busy feeding the reindeers in the barn. They told him about the situation at the library. The old elf went into a far corner of the barn to have a private talk with the mouse. A moment later, he came back to them.
“You thought you had a mouse situation,” explained the old elf, smiling. “But it seems you’re having an elf situation instead.”
“What do you mean?” asked Lanky.
“You should tell Gordot the elf to stop eating Mrs. Claus’ cookies during his shift,” said the old elf. “He spreads sweet crumbs on the books with his fingers, making them irresistible to the mouse. She also wants you to know she’s very sorry for the damage that she caused.”
“I knew Gordot had something to do with this!” exclaimed Lanky. “Tell the mouse that she needs to stay in the barn from now on and that she’s not allowed to go to the library again.”
Lanky and Tibö thanked the old elf and went back to Gordot, who was having breakfast before going to sleep for the rest of the day. Lanky reproached him:
“You’re well aware that it is forbidden to eat in the library! The children’s books are very important. They must be treated with care.”
“But the sugar helps me stay awake during those long and lonely night shifts,” cried Gordot.
“Then you won’t work by yourself at night anymore,” said Lanky. “I’m going to ask another elf to work that shift with you. And if you need a snack break, you will have to step out of the library.”
“I promise” replied a sorry Gordot. “I’m also going to help fix the books that were eaten by the mouse.”
Gordot the elf kept his promise. He never again ate cookies while working. Sometimes, during their night shift, he and his coworker would see the silhouette of a black cat watching over the shelves of Santa’s library.