The Tale of Grandfather Mole
Arthur Scott Bailey
Children
1:43 h
Level 2
Arthur Scott Bailey (November 16, 1877 – October 17, 1949) was an American writer. He was the author of more than forty children's books. The Tale of Grandfather Mole, a story from Sleepy-Time Tales, was published in 1920. There was a queer old person that lived in Farmer Green’s garden. Nobody knew exactly how long he had made his home there because his neighbors seldom saw him. Those that were acquainted with him called him Grandfather Mole. And the reason why his friends didn’t meet him oftener was because he spent most of his time underground.

The Tale Of
Grandfather Mole

By
Arthur Scott Bailey


Grandfather Mole Made a Rush for Mr. Meadow Mouse.


I
A Queer Old Person

There was a queer old person that lived in Farmer Green’s garden. Nobody knew exactly how long he had made his home there because his neighbors seldom saw him. He might have been in the garden a whole summer before anybody set eyes on him.

Those that were acquainted with him called him Grandfather Mole. And the reason why his friends didn’t meet him oftener was because he spent most of his time underground. Grandfather Mole’s house was in a mound at one end of the garden. He had made the house himself, for he was a great digger. And Mr. Meadow Mouse often remarked that it had more halls than any other dwelling he had ever seen. He had visited it when Grandfather Mole was away from home, so he knew what it was like.

Some of those halls that Mr. Meadow Mouse mentioned ran right out beneath the surface of the garden. Grandfather Mole had dug them for a certain purpose. Through them he made his way in the darkness, whenever he was hungry (which was most of the time, for he had a huge appetite!). And when he took an underground stroll he was almost sure to find a few angleworms, which furnished most of his meals.

To be sure, he did not despise a grub — if he happened to meet one — nor a cutworm nor a wire-worm.

The wonder of it was that Grandfather Mole ever found anything to eat, for the old gentleman was all but blind. The only good Grandfather Mole’s eyes did him was to let him tell darkness from light. They were so small that his neighbors claimed he hadn’t any at all.

Another odd thing about this odd person was his ears. The neighbors said they couldn’t see them, either. But they were in his head, even if they didn’t show. And Grandfather Mole himself sometimes remarked that he didn’t know how he could have burrowed as he did if he had been forever getting dirt in his eyes and ears. He seemed quite satisfied to be just as he was.

And he used to say that he didn’t know what good eyes were to anyone whether he was under the ground or on top of it!

Liking to dig as he did, he certainly had nothing to complain about. His long nose was as good as a drill. And his front legs were just long enough so that he could reach his large, spade-like feet beyond his nose and throw the dirt back. His fur lay in one direction as easily as in another, never troubling him in the least when he was boring his way through the dry, loose soil of Farmer Green’s garden.

So in spite of what might seem great drawbacks to others, Grandfather Mole was contented with his lot. The only thing he was ever known to grumble about was the scarcity of angleworms.


II
What the Cat Caught

Everybody knew the cat at Farmer Green’s to be a great hunter. She had long since disposed of the last mouse that was so foolish as to venture inside her home. And being very big, and not at all timid, she had made such a name for herself in the neighborhood that even the rats looked on her as a monster to be avoided.

Now it often happened that this capable cat turned up her nose at the saucer of milk that Farmer Green’s wife set before her with great regularity. And off she would go — sometimes to the barn, sometimes to the fields — to see what she could find that would furnish her both food and a frolic. For she thought it great sport to capture some small creature.

She was crossing the garden early one morning, on her way to the meadow, when she came upon Grandfather Mole. And having no pity for him — in spite of his blindness — she thought there was no sense in going any further for her breakfast. She would enjoy it right there in the garden. But first she would play with Grandfather Mole, before eating. For she was a pleasure-loving dame. She must have her sport, no matter if her breakfast waited.