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A Mouse's Christmas

On Hubbard Street, situated in the heart of Concord Massachusetts, is an old brick house with black shutters. In this house on Hubbard Street, lived a mouse by the name of Margaret. Margaret lived with her Mother, her father the carpenter, and her younger brother Maxwell. Margaret and Max were so close in age that they quickly became best friends. Margaret and Max spent all of their time together. They would take swimming lessons together at Walden Pond and ice skating in the winter. They loved catching games at Fenway Park. And from time to time their father would take them to get a cup of chowder at the Colonial Inn. All of this changed in 1933 when Margaret turned 5 years of age. On a crisp fall morning in September, Max watched his sister get on a big yellow bus and drive far away. He waited for a long time for her to come back, but, she never returned. This made him very sad. He went back into the house and sulked all day long. That afternoon while he was helping his mother in the kitchen he heard the bus again. He couldn't believe his eyes when he looked out the window and saw the same big yellow bus pulling up to their house. He ran outside and with a great big grin on his face he gave his sister a hug. He followed her into the house and listened to her as she told him all about her day. He watched her go off to school every day and waited patiently every day for her to return so that she could teach him all the new things she had learned that day.

One day, later that September, Margaret returned home upset. Max came out to greet her and she walked right past him to her mother. She told her mother that she had fallen during recess and ripped her new school coat. Her mother took the coat and patched it up with an olive- green patch. She was glad to have her coat back to being whole and she thought the green patch made her navy-blue coat look nifty. She went to school the next day excited to show her friends the patch on her coat. The next afternoon, when Margaret got off the bus Max went to greet her and once again she passed him and climbed into her mother's arms and cried. Max listened intently while Margaret told their mother about the kids making fun of the patched-up coat. Max wrapped his arms around her and told her it would be okay, he would still be her friend. But nothing Max told her seemed to make her feel better so Max decided he would get her a new coat.

The next day, Max went down to the store with his mother and found the most beautiful coat in the store. It was a bright red double breasted princess coat. It had black leather buttons all down the front and a black wool collar. He went up to the man behind the counter and asked him how much the coat in the window display cost. The man's reply, "Five dollars". Max's elation sunk suddenly as he realized he could never afford the coat. He asked his mother if he could have the money to buy the coat and she told him that she couldn't give him the money but that he might be able to do some chores around the neighborhood to earn the money. So, he started that day by going by to his neighbor's house and asking her what she needed help with in exchange for some money. His neighbor, Mrs. Mousatesta, was an 80-year-old widow from Italy. Despite her age she still made meatballs and sauce by hand and she was delighted to have Max assist her with rolling the meatballs. In return she gave him a quarter. He then went to his grandmother's house, Mrs. Mousenton. His grandmother had very weak hands and couldn't knead the dough for some Norwegian cookies, so he helped her knead the dough. His grandmother believed in spoiling her grandchildren so she gave him 40 cents. He followed this pattern of going door to door and asking each person what they needed help with in exchange for payment. By Thanksgiving he had the 5 dollars he needed to buy the coat in the store window for his sister. The very next day Max went to the store and asked the man behind the counter to wrap up the coat for him. He paid the 5 dollars and went on home. He placed the brightly wrapped box under the Christmas tree for Margareat to open on Christmas morning.

On Christmas morning, Margaret and Max ran into the living room to open presents. The first box Margaret opened was the coat. She was so happy to see that she had a new coat that big smile came across her face. There was a box under the tree for Max as well. Max opened the box and to his surprise there was navy blue wool winter coat in the box: With the coat was a note from the man that ran the store and it read:

Mr. Maxwell Mousenton,

I watched you all fall long, work hard for the money to buy your sister a new coat. I believe that to those who are willing to work hard good things are deserved. I am giving you this coat free of charge. Merry Christmas.