Growing up, we may have learnt the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice. It’s about three mice whose tails get chopped off by the farmer’s wife. Ouch. Sounds painful.
In 1904, Frederick Warne & Co. published an illustrated children’s book by John W. Ivimey entitled The Complete Version of Ye Three Blind Mice. It fleshes the mice out into mischievous characters who seek adventure and find misadventure along the way till they embark upon the adventure of a lifetime.
Join me as I retell the children’s classic for grown-ups… as well as their children.
The Three Wise Mice
The story begins, as it always does, a long long time ago, with three mice who made up their minds to set out to roam. One of them is wearing red, another green and another blue. They were pining for ‘some fun’.
Well, we entrepreneurs know what it’s like to pine for some fun!
The three of them got dressed. They decked themselves out in their best. “Tis dull to remain at home,” they said. So they packed their luggage and all they took was a comb. Set off, they did. Set off, they did–on what they thought would be the adventure of a lifetime.
They came to an inn, where they asked the inn keeper, “Good evening, Host, can you give us a bed?”
But the Host merely grinned and shook his head. Off they went, yet again, and found themselves a plot of land. It was no shelter, it was no home. There had nowhere, nowhere that would house them for the night. It was a field, a field out in the streets.
Oh! These three very bold and poor mice!
When they awoke the next morning, they were cold, very cold. They awoke with swollen faces… faces that had been swollen from the cold. Was it snowing? Three frozen mice! When things had thawed, they quickly left the terrain… These three now unfrozen mice! You would have thought them dead, but no, they were only waiting for the day that they would re-awake.
Woke up next morn, woke up next morn, was it even the next morn?
Their stomachs roared with hunger and so they searched for some food. But all they found was the shell of a walnut that lay by the side of a dried-up well. Who had consumed the nutty nut they could not tell. Oh dear, they must have been three hungry mice.
At first they were hungry, but as time went on, they began to starve. They finally chanced upon a farm. The farmer was feasting on some bread and cheese. So they went down on their hands and knees. All they needed was a morsel to be pleased.
These Three Starving Mice. They ate and ate and became drunk with glee. These mice who hadn’t eaten for weeks. But the Farmer’s Wife wasn’t pleased when she walked in to see what this merry-making could even be!
She heard their squeaks and their squeals… These three extremely glad mice.
The Farmer’s Wife went to get the cat and the squeals of glee turned to pleas. Don’t eat me, please and I’ll run away from thee. Three scared mice!
So they hid themselves in the bramble hedge. These three Scared Mice.
The bramble hedge was most unkind. It scratched their eyes and made them blind and soon each Mouse went out of his mind. These three Sad Serendipitous Mice. They cried so much they all went blind…
Three blind mice. Three blind mice.
They couldn’t see where they were going so they ran into the farmer’s wife. She cut off their tails with a carving knife. Three tailless blind mice. Three tailless blind mice.
Their tears grew even greater as they lost even their tails. They could not see that they had no end.
They sought a Chemist and found a Friend. He gave them some, “Never too late to mend.” These Three Wounded Mice.
But as they lost their tails which were never too late to mend, and as they made their very first friend… Their hearts were healed and their sight was regained…
They were no longer three blind mice.
They looked in the glass and it told them so. They had not lost anything that they thought they’d sold. They rubbed away and they rubbed away. In the mirror, they finally saw their still shining face… They were now three wise mice. Three Wise Mice.
They soon found a home. They soon found a home. They settled into a hole of a home… Where they live they will never tell. But they’ve learned a trade and are doing well!
If you call upon them, ring the bell. Three times twice. But where they live, they will never tell…
The Three Wise Mice. The Three Wise Mice.
This story has been adapted from John W. Ivimey The Complete Version of Ye Three Blind Mice which is in the public domain. Illustrations courtesy of Walton Corbould.
Sanatanco. would posthumously like to thank the creators of the work.