Mouse Goes To College
first hint that something unusual was going on at State College
came in the library. One morning, three books were found in
a neat pile in the middle of the floor. One was a collection
of pictures of the great museums of the world. Another was
a history of the movies. The third was a book about the stock
market. And the corners of the pages of all three books had
been nibbled off.
" sniffed the librarian, "I'll bet some of Professor Bumbly's
mice are loose again." She was only partly right. It was a
mouse who had chewed the pages, but he did not come from the
Marvin Mouse had been born in a little antique shop. He was
just an ordinary mouse until one night, when he accidentally
rubbed against an old oil lamp on a shelf. A genie popped
out of the lamp and called Marvin his master. He saved Marvin
from a cat and gave Marvin the power of speech. Soon Marvin
set out with his genie to see the world and make his fortune.
His first stop was the library, to learn more about what he
could do. He read all night. Early that morning, he curled
up behind a filing cabinet to take a nap. He awoke to hear
the librarian's voice, talking about Professor Bumbly's mice.
Quickly Marvin rubbed his magic lamp. As soon as the genie
appeared, the mouse told him, "Take me to Professor Bumbly's
is done, Master," said the genie. And in an instant the lamp,
with Marvin perched on top of it, was sitting on a shelf in
the lab, next to some bottles and flasks.
Marvin sniffed about curiously. Soon he found the mouse cages
at the end of the table. Only one had a mouse in it. She had
shining white fur and eyes like rubies.
beautiful!" Marvin cried. "Would you like to come with me
and see the world?" But the mouse just stared at him with
her ruby eyes and said nothing at all.
course!" thought Marvin, and raced back to his lamp on the
shelf. Rubbing it quickly, he told his genie. "Make that mouse
As soon as the genie touched the white mouse with his fingertip,
she burst into excited words. "How wonderful it is! I can
talk! I feel so intelligent! Professor Bumbly's latest formula
must have worked!"
She told Marvin how the Professor had been trying to develop
a drug to make people smarter. He tried out all his formulas
on mice like her. Every day his assistant Oscar had her try
to run through a maze. But she never got any smarter until
she hissed. "Here comes Oscar now. You'd better hide! There
aren't supposed to be any wild mice in here."
Marvin ducked behind a bottle as Oscar came in whistling.
The Professor's assistant opened the cage, picked up the white
mouse, and carried her over to a maze box. Before he could
even start his stop watch, the mouse had run through the maze
without a single mistake. "That's amazing!" said Oscar. "She
never did that before."
course," said the mouse. "I'm so much smarter now."
talks!" Oscar shrieked. He picked up the mouse, and raced
into Professor Bumbly's office, yelling, "It worked, Professor!
You found it this time!"
The professor was amazed. Feverishly he thumbed his notebook.
"Ah, yes, Formula 976," he said. "That was the one I poured
the tea into by mistake. Get the water boiling, Oscar. We
must reproduce this exactly."
While Oscar set the flask on the burner, Professor Bumbly
called the Chairman's office. He asked for a special staff
meeting, to show off his new discovery.
That afternoon, a group of wide-eyed professors watched while
the talking white mouse ran through her maze. "Isn't Professor
Bumbly wonderful?" she told them. "His new formula has made
me as smart as a human being."
(Marvin Mouse, sitting behind a bottle on the shelf, laughed
you repeat the experiment?" asked one of the scientists.
Oscar handed Professor Bumbly the flask with the new batch
of Formula 976. The professor injected the formula into six
more mice. After a few minutes, he placed one of them into
the maze. It sat down and began to wash its paws.
them how smart you are now," the first white mouse urged.
But the new mouse did not say anything.
said the Professor, "are you sure you left that tea bag in
the flask for exactly three minutes?" The group of scientists
began to laugh.
mustn't laugh!" cried the white mouse. "Professor Bumbly is
a great scientist!" Tears rolled down into her whiskers. "Can't
somebody show them the formula really worked?" she cried.
Marvin scampered along the shelf behind the bottles. He rubbed
his lamp and whispered instructions to his genie. Suddenly
all six mice began to sing. The scientists gathered closer
to look at them. None of them noticed the swirl of smoke as
the genie gathered up Marvin and the white mouse and vanished
from the lab.
2013 The Silversteins