Tales of Peter the Hedgehog – Peter And Misty Mouse

When the summer holidays finished, and Peter saw all the children going back to school, it gave him an idea. He was standing under the horse chestnut trees that hang over School Lane, at the time, and he began to walk up and down talking to himself.

“There’s something very noble about school,” he said. “Very noble indeed. It’s full of learning and painting and drawing on the blackboard.” He walked up and down a bit more, then stood staring up the lane to the school. “I’m almost tempted to go myself,” he thought. “But I suppose it’s hard work learning to write, and make plasticine models.”

He was just about to walk away, when he suddenly remembered the afternoon sleep the infants have. Then his eyes opened wide with surprise at not having thought of it before, and he said in a very loud voice, “”And school dinners.”

The children were still in the playground when he arrived, and the new infants class were just getting ready to go in. He stood on the end of the line, and watched all the mothers kiss their children goodbye, and realised that he wasn’t the only one to

be going to school for the first time. Then the teacher, who was quite thin, had thick glasses on, and had white hair, said loudly, “Infants one – this way.” And she led them into the classroom. When they were all inside and she had shut the door,

she said, “Let’s get to know each other, shall we” All make a big circle round me. No – not like aeroplanes, those two boys -just stand still, and I’ll ask you your names.”

Peter happened to be the first one she looked at. She couldn’t see very well, and she put her head very close to Peter, and stared at him through her thick spectacles. “My goodness,” she said, whatever’s happened to you? Doesn’t your mummy ever comb

your hair? And look at your nose, it’s all black and shiny, you look just like a hedgehog.”

Peter gave a sort of hedgehog smile – which is more like a twinkle in the eyes than an opening of the mouth – and said, “I am a hedgehog, Mrs.”

“Now dear,” she said, trying to pat his head, “don’t let’s be silly shall we. You can make believe your a hedgehog during playtime, but not during class. And my name is Miss Tinghouse, not Mrs. Now, tell me your name and be a good boy.” “I’m Peter Hedgehog, Misty Mouse”, he said, trying to say her name properly.

“Ah, well, I suppose you’ll grow out of it” she said, trying to pat his head again, but getting her fingers pricked. “But you really must get your hair combed before you come to school again.”

After Miss Tinghouse had got to know all their names, and had explained about school, it was time for milk. “Now Infants One, line up, and I will give you your milk, and a straw.

Peter hadn’t realised they were given milk too. He couldn’t quite manage to be first in the queue, but he was first to finish his milk, and he joined the end of the line again. There wasn’t any milk left when his turn came, and he ran back to his bottle to see whether he had left any in it.

Soon, it was dinner time. All the children walked into the dining hall, and sat at little tables. Mr. Snorks, the headmaster, said grace, and women in white overalls and caps, began to bring the food in. When Peter saw it was sausages, he said in a very loud voice, “A-ha, look at dinner!”

All the children looked round at Peter and giggled, and Mr. Snorks, who had already begun his dinner, stood up to see who had shouted. “Quiet” he said, in a loud voice, and sat down again.

The sweet was rhubarb pie and custard. This time, Peter shouted “Rhubarb pie! Three cheers for the cook.”

Everybody laughed until Mr. Snorks bellowed, “Come here that boy.” When Peter came he said “Great Blotted Exercise Books! Whose class are you in?”

“Misty Mouse’s sir,” Peter replied.

“Misty Mouse?” Mr. Snorks shouted.

“Yes Mr. Snorks?” said Miss Tinghouse, getting up from her table.

“What’s this hedgehog doing in your class”? he asked, his eyes bulging.

“Plasticine modelling and painting,” she replied.

Peter began to creep out of the room in the confusion. He heard Mr. Snorks’ loud voice saying, “He’ll have to go Miss Tinghouse! He’ll have to go.” So he went. The only time he ever goes back is for nature study, and then only when Mr. Snorks is out. But even now he still talks about his wonderful days at school.

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