And now a story for our younger followers…

Meet Big Bear

Hello, I’m Big Bear. I belong to a little boy (now 26 so not so little) called Adam. With the help of Adam’s mum, I’m going to tell you a short story about a little harvest mouse called Squeak. It’s called…

Little Squeak’s little adventure

Written by Adam’s mum (if you would like to see Big Bear telling the story, you can see the video here)

Squeak is a little harvest mouse, in fact he’s so little he’s able to sit on an ear of corn like this one without it even breaking. Squeak lives with his mum in a small round nest, about the size of a tennis ball. The nest is made of intricately woven grasses, suspended between long swords of grass carefully knitted together. Squeak’s home is built on the banks of a dyke, near to the reeds and blends in so well, that unless you were looking really carefully you would not know the little nest was there.

Squeak is incredibly inquisitive and curious. He likes to investigate every hole he finds and every nest and every nook and cranny. Squeak has three best friends, Millie the mole, Tarzan the earthworm and Noble the marsh frog, so called because everyone thought he may be a prince that had not been kissed yet.

One day Squeak was sniffing around, his whiskers quivering, nose twitching, swinging from grass stem to bramble to reed, when he caught site of something glinting in the long grass next to a footpath. He was a little hesitant at first because his mum had told him not to go near footpaths, as that is where humans walk, but his curiosity got the better of him, after all there was no harm in just taking a quick look, was there?

Squeak scurried over, hopping from grass to twig along the way, holding on with his tail to help him balance, till he reached the object. Squeak cautiously approached it sniffing the air. The object was round and hollow, wide at one end and narrowed off at the other. It was made of a hard substance, which was cold to the touch. “What could it be?” Squeak wondered. “What if it was discarded by a human?” he thought. Humans often dropped things and Squeak’s mum had said never to go near anything a human had dropped. However, Squeak’s inquisitive nature was fuelled by the strange looking object. He wondered around it till he reached the narrow end where he found a hole.

This opening was just big enough for him to climb in. Squeak thought to himself, “Ooh, this hole is just big enough for me to climb in.” By now Squeak was totally absorbed in investigating this object and all his mum’s warnings had vanished from his head. Without a moment’s thought, Squeak climbed in!

Squeak crawled along, his little feet slipping on the smooth, shiny surface till he reached a slope that led down into the wider part of the object. He could smell something sweet down there, and without any hesitation, he slid down the slope into the larger chamber. There he found some sticky liquid which he tentatively tasted. “mmm” squeaked squeak. It tasted sweet and lemony and Squeak liked it, so he lapped the rest up. After drinking the liquid, Squeak felt very weary, he curled up and promptly fell into a deep sleep.

Squeak was snoring away when he heard a rough voice calling his name. “Squeak, is that you? Wake up!” “SQUEAK, WAKE UP!”

Squeaks little head shot up, he felt a little disorientated, and then remembered where he was. “Squeak!” called the voice for the third time. Squeak looked round, blinking sleep out of his eyes and saw Noble peering in through the side of the object at him. Noble’s head looked rather odd and big, it made Squeak giggle.

“Oh, hello Noble, look what I have found.” Squeaked Squeak.

“It’s a lemonade bottle Squeak, left by humans, you shouldn’t really be playing near it, let alone in it!” exclaimed Noble, a little irritated at Squeak laughing at him.

“Oh” Squeaked squeak. “Wait there I’m coming out.” Squeak made his way across the bottle to the slope he slid down earlier. He began to climb, but his little feet kept slipping on the smooth, shiny surface.

“I can’t get out.” Squeaked Squeak urgently.

“Try running up it.” Croaked Noble.

Squeak went to the back of the bottle and ran at the slope, he got halfway up before sliding all the way down again, his feet desperately trying to get a grip. Squeak tried several times but just slid down every time. Squeak sat down panting. “I can’t get out, I’m trapped.” Squeak squeaked worriedly.

“Hold on” croaked Noble. “I’ll come and get you.” Noble tried to squeeze his head in, he tried to squeeze his bottom in, but whichever way he tried he just could not fit through the hole. “I can’t get in.” Croaked Noble.

“Oh” squeaked a now teary Squeak.

“Don’t cry. Wait there, I’ll go get help, Millie will know what to do.” Said Noble trying not to sound worried.

“I can hardly go anywhere now, can I?” Squeaked Squeak a little flustered.

Noble hopped off to find Millie.

Noble found Millie playing hide and seek with Tarzan. Millie was a sleek black mole that lived in the meadows surrounding the dyke and Tarzan was an earthworm. They were darting in and out of holes in the ground. Being a mole, Millie used her keen sense of smell and her whiskers to sense any vibration to find Tarzan, and Tarzan being an earthworm, used his expertise at burrowing to hide from Millie. Now normally moles love earthworms, usually to eat, but Tarzan was different as he grew up with Millie, so Millie won’t eat Tarzan, much to Tarzan’s relief.

“Help, help.” Croaked Noble urgently. “Help, Squeak is trapped in a human bottle.”

Both Millie and Tarzan stopped playing and popped their heads out of their respective holes, only it was hard to tell Tarzans head from his tail.

“What do you mean trapped?” Millie said.

“Squeak is trapped, he can’t get out of the human bottle, he keeps sliding back down the neck.” Croaked Noble.

Millie slapped her big digging paws over her mouth and Tarzan looked shocked, which is a difficult thing to be able to do if you’re an earthworm, because you lack a face, in fact Tarzan often found his friends talking to the wrong end of him by mistake.

Noble croaked “come quickly.”

Millie and Tarzan followed Noble. They rushed along by either digging and burrowing, sliding or hopping back to Squeak.

“Squeak” said Millie softly, “are you OK?”

Squeak was relieved to see his friends. “Apart from a banging headache and the fact I’m trapped, yes, I’m perfect thank you Millie.” Even in times of crisis Squeak remained perfectly polite.

“How are we going to get Squeak out?” said Tarzan. “I can get in, but I’m not strong enough on my own to push him out.”

The four of them sat, stood and lay thinking for a while.

“I’m too fat and not squidgy enough to get in” croaked Noble “I’ve already tried.”

They all cogitated some more. “I’ve got it!” Millie said excitedly. “Tarzan, you go in, Squeak, you hold on to Tarzan’s head, and we will pull you out by pulling Tarzan’s other end.”

“That’s brilliant!” croaked Noble, “I knew you would be able to help Millie.”

Millie blushed modestly, but you couldn’t tell against her silky black fur.

“I’m not sure about this.” Said Tarzan, thinking he had somehow drawn the short straw.

“Oh pleeeasse” cried Squeak desperately. “please, please help me.”

“Oh OK” Tarzan said pensively. So, in he went.

Squeak held on to Tarzan’s head with all his little strength.

“ugh, cough, cough, splutter, you’re strangling me!” Tarzan said in a very strange voice, feeling his head bulging slightly.

“Oops, sorry.” Squeaked Squeak. “I’ve been stuck in here for hours, I’m tired, hungry and have a headache.” Squeak began to cry again.

“Oh, don’t cry” said Tarzan reasuringly. “We’ll have you out in no time.”

Both Millie and Noble grabbed Tarzan’s other end and pulled. Tarzan stretched, they pulled some more, Tarzan stretched some more.

“Stop stretching.” Croaked Noble.

“I can’t help it!” exclaimed Tarzan a little embarrassed by being pulled at both ends. “You and Millie are pulling one end of me, and Squeak has my head, what am I to do?”

“Try holding yourself stiff.” Suggested Millie.

“Stiff?” said Tarzan questioningly. He felt he would never live down the humiliation.

“yes, stiff, so there is less give.” Explained Millie calmly.

Tarzan held himself as taut as he could, he pulled a determined face, but no one noticed because his face looked the same as his other end.

“Heave.” Croaked Noble as he tried to encourage the others. “Heave, heave.”

Slowly, up came Squeak, sliding bit by bit back up the neck of the bottle. All of a sudden Tarzan sprang back towards Noble and Millie, and Squeak shot out as if on the end of a bungy rope. Squeak, Tarzan, Millie and Noble all ended up in a tangled heap together.

“I’m out, I’m free!” Squeaked Squeak joyously as he hopped about. “Thank you, thank you so much all of you” and he gave Tarzan a big hug round what Squeak thought was his neck, only it wasn’t the right end and Squeak had actually hugged Tarzan’s tail by mistake.

“Make sure you never go near human litter and footpaths again!” croaked Noble kindly. “You might not be so lucky next time.

“No, I’m never going near human litter again.” Squeak Squeaked firmly.

And the four friends went off to play hide and seek somewhere safely away from the human footpath.

Now, this story ended happily, but many small creatures are not so lucky and can’t get out of bottles littered by humans, so please don’t endanger our wildlife and always either take your litter home or put it in a bin. Remember it’s their home too. Bye bye, see you soon