An exercise in traditional tale telling with a bit of modern up-beat and not a ‘Bah Humbug!’ In sight.

Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse had lost it and just couldn’t find it anywhere. ‘What is the point of being a Mysterious Mechanical Mouse if you were just going to go about the place losing things?’ he thought to himself. He was looking under the carpet for the fourth time and it still wasn’t there. He had looked in the butter dish and up the chimney and it just refused to be found.

Mangle was getting cross and that was no good. He knew if he got cross it would be all over. Once cross, he turned into a hot angry fog and couldn’t do anything but swear and throw things. He took a deep breath. ‘Nothing for it.’ He muttered to himself, ‘I need help’.

‘That’s what I am always telling you!’ Said the stuffed crocodile in the corner sharply.

‘Maybe you do and maybe you don’t,’ grumbled Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse, ‘I never listen to you so I wouldn’t know.’

‘Humph!’ the stuffed crocodile in the corner huffed and sulked.

‘I need to see my friend Petunia, she is an aardvark and knows a great deal.’

Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse put on his helmet and went out to the shed to get his bike. One of the mysterious things about Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse was how much he hated big smelly, noisy, bossy and wasteful cars. ‘Hello Bike’ he said when he went into the shed. The bike didn’t say anything. This was a relief to Mangle, who thought that one mysterious mechanical thing in a story was enough, especially when it was him.

Past the Witch Wood and making a wide detour around The Shopping Mall, that he hated even more than motor cars, our hero peddled along. Once out in the sunshine and away from the annoying stuffed crocodile and The Lost Thing, Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse day had already improved.

Then suddenly coming around a corner he had to brake suddenly to avoid running into three small boggarts sitting in a row in the gutter and crying their eyes out.

‘Now Now! ‘Spoke Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse cheerfully, ‘We can’t have this, why the tears?’

‘Please sir,’ snivelled the smallest, ‘we woke up this morning and our stockings were empty.’

‘Is that all?’ chortled Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical  Mouse, getting off his bike, ‘Just put in your feet in them and then they won’t be and everything will be fine. What a too-doo to make over something so simple.’

‘But sir,’ they all wailed,

‘We want chocolate oranges and marshmallows.’ The smallest grizzled.

‘Water pistols and balloons.’  Moaned the second.

‘Chocolate and nuts! Sobbed the third.

‘And we want our Mummy and Daddy!’ from all three.

‘What, both of them? Mangle said in surprise.

‘Even one will do!’ the three chorused.

Mangle fossicked around in his bag and was surprised to find twisted peppermint rock canes, chocolate oranges and similar. ‘Good Heavens!’ he thought, ‘How did they get there?’  He passed some around amid cries of delight. He called over his shoulder that he would send a parent along directly if he found one and getting back on his bike, off he pedalled.

‘Gosh, what a day!’ he thought as he neared Petunia’s house. On arrival at the gate, he was greeted by a gaggle of square dancing reindeer and had to fight his way through a crowd of small green persons in pointy hats, playing cricket on the front lawn. So, rather breathless, he arrived at the front door and knocked.

It was opened by Petunia who cried ‘Noel!’

‘Oh come off it, you know me (he struck a pose) I am Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse!  Who is this Noel person?

Petunia looked skywards, ‘Come in, come in, you look like someone who has lost a tenner and found fifty cents!’

‘Well I have lost something, that’s for sure, that’s why I came around.’

‘Tell Auntie Petunia all about it.’

The words came tumbling out. ‘Oh Petunia, I have been looking all morning and I just can’t find it anywhere!  I came upon these sad boggles who couldn’t put their foot in it and had lost both parents. At least I don’t have any parents, so I am safe there.’

Slow down, slow down, now take a deep breath…… What-have-you-lost?’

‘I don’t know, he wailed, how can I know if it is lost?’ He burst into a flood of tears.

Petunia quickly handed him a hanky. ‘Steady on, you will go rusty!’

‘Thangks,’ He snuffled with a blocked nose and applied his oil can, just in case. ‘My bag is full of treats and I don’t know why.’ He said more matter-of-factly.

Light dawned on Petunia curious aardvark face. ‘What day is it?’ She said in an unconcerned tone of voice.

‘Friday!’ said Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse promptly.

‘Just Friday?’
‘Don’t know about Just Friday….. but yesterday was definitely Thursday. I know because it was Christmas Eve………. Oh… Oh dear!’

‘Yes, you duffer, it is Christmas Day. You have lost Christmas Day!’

‘Gosh, that explains the treats and the reindeer and the elves and the sad boggarts’.

‘Not sad any longer.’ Petunia was looking out of the window.

Mangle the Mysterious Mechanical Mouse looked out too. There were the three young boggarts, sad no more, climbing all over a parent, who was too buried in arms and legs and gaily clad bodies to work out which sort.

‘Christmas day seems to have found them!’

‘It has found me as well,’ said Mangle laughing. I am going out to play cricket with the elves.

Petunia, laughing quietly, set another place for dinner.

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