Felix jumped up onto the sofa and, lying full length against his master, began to purr noisily to show how contented he was. His master stopped reading and began to stroke him, delighting in sinking his fingers into the silken fur. Stretching out his whole body, Felix started purring even louder, as much for the pleasure he derived from being stroked as for the fact of knowing he was loved. Then, as he felt sleep overtake him, he moved away from the caressing hand, rolled up into a ball and fell deeply asleep.
Just as he was dreaming of a creamy bowl of milk, he was dragged out of his reverie by a scream of terror followed by the sound of running footsteps. Still sleepy, he got up on all fours and went in search of what had given his master such a fright. On the dresser was a tiny little mouse busily nibbling a forgotten piece of cake. She looked very hungry and was greedily devouring this heaven-sent titbit. Felix watched her for several seconds, captivated by how small she was and by her voracious appetite. As he was wondering how such a tiny creature could swallow up so much food, his master rushed in, holding a large broom, and began to swipe great blows at the dresser to get rid of the little scrounger. But she had seen the danger coming and kept leaping out of the way, each time only just escaping the redoubtable instrument. Then, tiring of this improvised ballet, she curled herself into a ball, rolled to the edge of the dresser and used a curtain hanging at the window to get down to the ground. Landing on her feet, she dashed madly away, straight into Felix’s paws. Without a moment’s hesitation, he opened his mouth wide and gulped down the poor frightened creature. That done, he paraded around proudly, his tail magnificently erect, with that belonging to the mouse protruding from his chops. He walked about like this for a few minutes before leaving the room, wishing to spare his master the sight of his enemy being massacred.
As soon as he was out of sight, he spat out his prisoner and they both looked at each other in complicity. They had been friends for many years and often played these roles to pull the wool over the eyes of the master of the house.
As his little partner-in-crime went back into her hole, Felix set off to find his master, and clung languorously to his legs, asking to be stroked.
Translated by Wendy Cross