The Ballad of Peter and Jake

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Copyright by
Nicholas Gordon

A kitten named Pete
Just happened to meet
A baby mouse named Jake.
What friends they became!
For though not the same,
They both loved to play and eat cake!

They met on a day
When both wanted to play -
Well, every day was like that!
Jake was lonely and saw
Pete alone on the floor,
And decided to call to the cat.


"Up here!" squeaked Jake
From right next to a cake
That sat on the dining room table.
"See what I found
Just looking around
As I wandered in from the stable!"

Pete leaped right up,
Knocking over a cup,
Which fell with a crash to the floor.
So their friendship began
As together they ran
For the luckily half-open door.

Together they hid
Under the lid
Of a garbage can placed just outside.
"Isn't it fun,"
Jake squeaked, "When we run
Together someplace we can hide?"

A human came out,
Looked all about,
And then went back into the house.
Who would have thought
That the person he sought
Was a kitten and baby mouse?

Out Jake hopped,
And out Pete flopped,
Neither one smelling so good.
But Pete licked Jake
And tasted the cake,
And wanted some more, if he could.


"Great!" Jake squeaked,
Then ran over and peeked
Through a tiny hole in the wall.
"It's still on the table,
So I should be able
To get some since I am so small."

Jake squeezed through the crack
And in moments came back
With a tiny crumb for Pete,
Who ate it and said
With a shake of his head,
"For me this is not much to eat."


"No problem!" squeaked Jake.
"I can get you more cake!"
And he went back and forth for a while,
Bringing crumb after crumb
Until he was done,
And both burrowed into the pile.

When the pile was gone,
They heard, "What's going on?"
And the door hit the wall with a crash.
So Jake made a leap
Onto Pete with a shriek,
And Pete took off in a flash.


"Imagine that!
A mouse and a cat!"
The human exclaimed from the house.
"Who ever heard
Of a thing so absurd
As a cat making friends with a mouse?"


"Hooray!" squealed Jake.
"We ate all the cake!
Well, most of it, maybe not all.
We make a great team,
Like cake and ice cream,
Since you're big and I'm very small!"

The two friends went on
To the stable and barn
Where Jake's mom and dad had their nest.
"A cat!" they cried.
"Quick! Run and hide!"
"Oh, no!" Jake said. "He's our guest."


"Our guest?" they exclaimed.
"He's my friend," Jake explained
As the other mice scampered away.
"He won't hurt anyone.
He's just here for fun.
He's a friend with whom I can play."


"A friend?" they exclaimed.
"He's a cat!" they complained.
"Get him out! Get him out of our house!
Who ever heard
Of a thing so absurd
As a cat making friends with a mouse!


"To him you're a treat,
Just something to eat,
Not a friend with whom you can play."
"Please," said Pete.
"Jake's my friend, not a treat,
Though I see now I must go away."

As Pete turned to go,
Jake said, "Oh, no, no!
If he goes then so must I."
"We can't have a cat
In our nest, and that's that!"
Said Jake's dad. "So I guess it's goodbye."

Sadly they went
On their way, their heads bent,
But soon they were happy again.
They played by a lake,
Pete the kitten and Jake,
Stopping to talk now and then.


"We could,"said the mouse,
"Go back to your house,
And stay with your parents awhile."
Said Pete, "I'm afraid
That the friendship we've made
Wouldn't make my parents smile."


"Now why is that?"
Said the mouse to the cat.
"Why does everyone say
That we shouldn't be friends?"
"I guess it depends,"
Said Pete, "on how much you play."

So they played and they played
Till the light turned to shade,
And the sun went down at last,
And then made a nest
And lay down to rest
On a bed of fur and grass.

In just a while
The moon with a smile
Shone down on the friends fast asleep,
And seemed to say
As it went on its way,
"Sleep well, for angels watch keep."

As they slept, they dreamed
Of a world where it seemed
That friends could just simply play.
And no one would care,
And no one would stare,
If they did things their own special way.

In this world of their dreams
Beneath the moon's beams,
People would let people be.
And all would be friends
'Cause friendship depends
On being both loving and free.

At last the sun rose
And tickled their toes,
And poured golden light on their heads.
As they awoke,
A deep, loud voice spoke,
And this is what the voice said:


"Imagine that!
A mouse and a cat!
Asleep in their snug little house.
Who ever heard
Of a thing so absurd
As a cat making friends with a mouse?"


"We're not asleep!"
Jake cried out with a squeak,
"And what makes you say things like that?
What's it to you
If I do what I do,
And make best friends with a cat?"


"And why," asked Pete,
"Do you have to repeat
The same words that others have said?
Have you no more
Than what's been said before
Bouncing around in your head?"


"And why," squeaked Jake,
"By this beautiful lake,
Do you want to make others feel bad?
Would you like us to
Make such fun of you?
Is it nice to make someone else sad?"


"OK," said the voice.
"I guess it's your choice,
And nothing to do with me.
Come, let's all play,
For just as you say,
People should let people be."

So they played with that moose,
And later a goose,
A beaver, a turtle, a frog,
A baby raccoon,
A lark and a loon,
A chipmunk, a deer, and a dog.

How lovely to play
Through a beautiful day,
The mouse, the cat, and their friends!
For all can be free
If they let others be.
And this is how my story ends.

Copyright by Nicholas Gordon



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