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Five Mice in a Mouse-trap by the Man in the Moon.

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Children, down on the planet which you call Earth, allow me to introduce myself to you! I am the Man in the Moon. I have no doubt that you know a good deal about me, in an indirect way, and that your nurses have told you all sorts of nonsense about my inquiring the way to Norwich—as if I didn't know the way to Norwich! and various things equally sensible. But now I am going to tell you a little about myself, and a great deal about yourselves, and about everything in general. In short, I am going to write you a book, and this is the beginning of it.

You see, I live very quietly up here, very quietly indeed, with only my dog to bear me company. He is a good dog, and very funny sometimes, but still I have a good deal of time on my hands, and nothing amuses me so much as to watch all that is going on down on your planet, and see what people in general, and children in particular, are doing, every day and all day. You may wonder how I can see so far, and see distinctly, but that is easily explained. I have a great, monstrous mirror, which is—oh! well, if I were to tell you how big it is, you would not believe me, so I will only say that it is very big indeed. This mirror has also the advantage of being a very strong magnifying glass, and as I can tip it in any direction I please, you will easily understand that I can see just what is going on in any part of the world that I happen to be interested in. For instance, Tommy Tiptop, the glass was tipped towards New York this morning, and I saw you take away your little sister's stick of candy, you greedy boy! Yes, and I saw you put in the closet for it, too, so that was well ended. Children are the same, I find, all the world over, for it was only yesterday that a little boy in Kamschatka (an ugly little Tartar he is, and not so very unlike you), named Patchko, while his father was out hunting, took away a tallow candle from his sister, which seemed just as good to her as the barley sugar did to little Katie.


But, children all, I beg your pardon! I am not writing this book for Tommy Tiptop, and I hope that most of the boys who read it will be better than he is. I do want, however, to tell you about some children of whom I am very particularly fond, and whom most of you do not know. These children live in the town of Nomatterwhat, which, as you are probably aware, is in the State of Nomatterwhere, which again is, or really ought to be, one of the United States of America. Perhaps these are Indian names; similarly, perhaps they are not. There are five of these children, and I call them my Five Mice; and the queer house that they live in I call the Mouse-trap. They are such funny children! I watch them sometimes all day long, their pranks are so amusing; and then when night comes, I slide down a moonbeam and sit by their pillows, and tell them stories and sing them songs. Ah! they like that, you may believe! And you all shall hear the stories and songs too, if you like, for I will write them down....