Here is a story emailed to me last August (2003). I included the tale in my Newsletter when it arrived and now insert it where it belongs!

Mary Achee, who kindly gave permission for its inclusion among my 'Christmas Stories', tells me that she is the mother of two grown daughters and lives in Louisiana.

She is currently working on her first book of Christmas Stories.

Thank you Mary for this cute tale and good luck with the book!

Here is Mary's story:

Percy Packrat's Christmas Star

by Mary Achee

What is Percy doing to the Jones' cat, Samantha? Percy is tying a red balloon to sleeping Samantha's tail. He quickly hides behind a book on the bookcase to see Samantha's reaction. Upon awakening, Samantha runs around in circles, trying to catch the balloon. Hearing Percy's giggles, she realizes she's been fooled again. Samantha chases Percy into the mouse hole, but he's too quick for her!

It's suppertime. Quick as a flash, Percy is out of the mouse hole. He returns, pushing a green grape across the floor with each paw and clenching another between his teeth. Momma mouse claps her paws in delight, saying, "Goodie. We'll have grapes for dessert." Poppa mouse looks disgusted, shrugs his shoulders and returns to the book he's reading.

Poppa wishes Percy would behave like a regular mouse instead of gathering objects from the Jones' family. Momma mouse enjoys helping Percy fashion furniture from different objects. Her favorite was the sardine tin bathtub.

The next morning, Momma sent Percy to get some fabric scraps from Mrs. Jones' sewing basket. Mrs. Jones was the neighborhood seamstress. Mr. Jones was a retired sheriff. Percy returned with scraps of pink checked and blue fabric as well as white lace. Momma made a lace trimmed pink checked apron and blue tobacco pouch. These were gifts to thank the Jones for all the objects Percy had taken from their home. Percy laid them on Mrs. Jones' favorite chair.

Later that evening, Mrs. Jones decided to finish sewing the christening dress for the neighbor's newborn daughter. She discovered the gifts on her chair and wondered who had sewn them. The delicate stitches were beautiful!

A spool of thread fell from Mrs. Jones' lap, rolling across the floor. It ended up half in and half out of the mouse hole. Bending to pick it up, Mrs. Jones noticed a peculiar arch in the corner wall. Lying on her stomach, and using a flashlight, Mrs. Jones discovered a mouse family asleep on tiny beds. Around the room were small pieces of furniture, fashioned from objects missing from her home for months. Now Mrs. Jones knew who had sewn the gifts.

She attached a note next to the mouse hole which read:

Thank you for the beautiful gifts. Why don't you and your family join us for Thanksgiving dinner? Mrs. Jones

The family talked about it and decided to accept the invitation. Percy left a note on Mrs. Jones' chair:

Mrs. Jones, We would love to come to Thanksgiving dinner. I'll bring a jar of grape jam. Thank you. Millie Mouse

Fall was here. Leaves were changing to golden yellow and red. The air was crispy cool. Thanksgiving had finally arrived. Mrs. Jones had purchased a toy tea set for the mouse family's meal.

The mouse family was busy dressing in their best clothes. Momma wore a red velvet dress. Percy and Poppa had black knit pants and white dress shirts. They wore black bow ties. Two-year-old Gus wore a sailor suit. Suddenly, one of Poppa's suspenders broke. Quickly Percy was out of the mouse hole, returning minutes later with a safety pin to re-attach Poppa's suspender. This was a day of thankfulness. Poppa hugged Percy saying, "I guess being a packrat has some good points. You be what you were meant to be."

The mouse family admired the table in front of them. It was covered with a white lace tablecloth. Candlelight flickered, adding a festive touch to the delicious meal. The toy plates were filled with turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. There were cups of tea. They finished the meal with pumpkin pie and spoons of momma's grape jam. Everyone chattered merrily, getting to know each other.

Thanksgiving was over, and Christmas was only a few weeks away. Percy and his family put up a Christmas tree. It was beautiful, but something was missing. Percy ran out of the mouse hole, returning with one Mr. Jones' sheriff's badges for the treetop. Suddenly, a flash of light shone on the tree. The Jones's called into the mouse hole,


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