Read HICKORY, DICKORY, DOCK of Boy Blue and His Friends, free online book, by Etta Austin Blaisdell and Mary Frances Blaisdell, on ReadCentral.com.

It was very quiet all over the house.

Little Boy Blue was fast asleep, dreaming of Santa Claus.

Boy Blue’s father and mother were asleep, too, but I don’t know what they were dreaming about.

“Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

Hark! Was that a mouse? Yes, I think it was.

Some one was awake after all.

Mr. and Mrs. Mouse lived in a hole in the pantry wall.

They were talking quite loud now.

“Yes, we must move right away,” Mrs. Mouse was saying.

“This nest is not large enough for six.”

“That is true,” said Mr. Mouse. “I can’t get my tail in now, and when the babies grow, it will be still worse.”

“But where shall we go?” said Mrs. Mouse.

“I will go house-hunting this very night, my dear.”

“Be sure you find a large house, where the cat can’t find us.”

“Yes, indeed!” said Mr. Mouse. Then he whisked through a little hole and went away.

“Be careful, dear,” called Mrs. Mouse, and she peeped through the hole and watched him out of sight.

Mr. Mouse ran across the kitchen floor into the dining-room.

It was very still!

Then he ran into the hall.

“This is too far from the kitchen,” he thought.

“I am afraid the babies would have to go to bed hungry in here.”

Then he went back into the dining-room.

“This would be a good place for us,” he thought.

He looked all around the room.

Where could he find a home?

It must be high up out of the reach of Pussy Cat, and big enough for
Mrs. Mouse and her four babies.

What was that in the corner?

It was like a box, only very, very tall.

Mr. Mouse certainly did not know what it was, but I will tell you.

It was Boy Blue’s grandfather’s clock.

It had stood in that corner a long, long time, but Mr. Mouse had never seen it before.

“I think I could make a good nest on top of that box,” he thought.

“Pussy Cat could not get up there, I know.”

So Mr. Mouse began to run up the clock.

He heard it ticking very loudly.

“Tick-tock! Tick-tock!” it was saying.

“I wonder what that noise is,” he said to himself.

“I hope it doesn’t make that noise in the day-time.

“It might keep the babies awake.”

He climbed a little higher, looking this way and that.

“I think Mrs. Mouse will like this,” he thought.

Just then the clock struck one.

How Mr. Mouse trembled!

He nearly fell off the clock, he was so frightened.

He took one jump down to the floor, and then he ran.

Oh, how he ran! Across the dining-room, across the kitchen, across the pantry, and into his hole he ran!

“Oh, my dear, my dear! what is the matter?” cried his wife. “Did you see the dog? Was the cat chasing you?”

“No, no!” panted Mr. Mouse.

“I was hunting for a house, and I climbed up on a tall box.

“Just as I had found the very place for us, there was an awful noise inside the box.”

“That was a clock, my dear,” said his wife.

“It tells Boy Blue’s mother when to have dinner, and when to put the baby to bed.

“I have heard her telling Boy Blue about it.”

“I think it was telling me it was time to go home,” said Mr. Mouse, and they both laughed softly so as not to wake up the babies.

The next night Mr. Mouse went house hunting in the barn.

There he found a very good home in a box of grain.

Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells, and cockle shells,
And pretty maids all in a row.