tried to run by, but Big Jess grabbed him by his shirt collar. "Hold
on, boy! They ring that bell fifty times. You have time to show
all right, Papa. Run along, Philip. Just hold on to that rope real
tight and don't get hurt."
Jess let him go and Philip was off like a flash. But at the hole
door, he turned around and blurted out, "He ain't my grandpa!"
And he disappeared.
let the humans see you!" called Mother Mouse as she heard him
skitter up. She tried to continue her work, but Big Jess sat there,
silent, and stared at her. Finally, she gave up, dropped her rag,
and sat down. "He needs time," she sighed.
needs his britches warmed," he replied sourly.
Mouse pondered the situation for a moment. "Papa," she
said. "When I was little I sat on your lap and you taught me
that the best a mouse can be is a mouse with compassion and tolerance.
I think Philip needs that now. He needs you to be the best you can
Jess nodded. "I know, child. I know," he sighed. "You're
a better mouse than me though. It seems as if you would be better
to help the kid."
Papa. He needs a grandpa. He needs you. Our Philip needs a crusty
old mouse who's brutally true to himself and can handle a feisty
really. We can't forget that Philip watched his family wash away
in the storm and never return. Adopting him was the only thing we
could do. Now he needs to feel like he belongs here. That he's one
of us. He needs to adopt us just as much as we've adopted him."
snorted Big Jess. "What do you expect ME to do about it?"
Mouse got up and smiled. "Don't be daft. You know exactly what
to do." At that, Mother Mouse picked up her rag and left to
spend some time for herself. Big Jess sat and pondered for a while.
Finally, he knew. He knew what to do. "Heritage," he said
to the air. "The kid needs his heritage."