The Upsidedown Mice

The Upsidedown Mice

Story by Roald Dahl

Once upon a time there lived an old man of 87 whose name was Labon. All his life he had been a quiet and peaceful person. He was very poor and very happy.

When Labon discovered that he had mice in his house, he did not at first bother himself greatly about it. But the mice multiplied. They kept right on multiplying and finally there came a time when he could stand it no longer.

“This is too much,” he said. “This really is going a bit too far.” He hobbled out of the house and down the road to a shop where he bought himself some mousetraps, a piece of cheese and some glue.

When he got home, he put the glue on the underneath of the mousetraps and stuck them to the ceiling. Then he baited them carefully with pieces of cheese and set them to go off.

That night when the mice came out of their holes and saw the mousetraps on the ceiling, they thought it a tremendous joke. They walked around on the floor, nudging each other and pointing up with their front paws and roaring with laughter. After all it was pretty silly, mousetraps on the ceiling.

When Labon came down the next morning and saw that there were no mice caught in the traps, he smiled but said nothing.

He took a chair and put glue on the bottom of its’ legs and stuck it upsidedown to the ceiling, near the mousetraps. He did the same with the table, the television set and the lamp. He took everything that was on the floor and stuck it upsidedown on the ceiling. He even put a little carpet up there.

The next night when the mice came out of their holes they were still joking and laughing about what they had seen the night before. But now, when they looked up at the ceiling, they stopped laughing very suddenly.

“Good gracious me!” cried one. “Look up there! There’s the floor!”

“Heavens above!” shouted another. “We must be standing on the ceiling.”

“I’m beginning to feel a little giddy,” said another.

“All the blood’s going to my head,” said another.

“This is terrible!” said a very senior mouse with long whiskers. “This is really terrible! We must do something about it at once.”

“I shall faint if I have to stand on my head any longer!” shouted a young mouse.

“Me too!” —- “I can’t stand it!” —- “Save us! Do something somebody, quick!”

“I know what we’ll do,” said the very senior mouse. “We’ll all stand on our heads, then anyway we’ll be the right way up.”

Obediently, they all stood on their heads, and after a long time, one by one, they fainted froma rush of blood to their brains.

When Labon came down the next morning the floor was littered with mice. Quickly he gathered them up and popped them all in a basket.

So the thing to remember is this:

Whenever the world seems to be terribly upsidedown, make sure you keep your feet firmly on the ground.


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