Chapter III

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Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XlV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII

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Chapter III


The Littles 1 liked to play ping-pong, but when they played it, the little balls always rolled under chairs, sofas, and radiators. So the players had to stop playing 2 and begin to look for the balls. Very soon Stuart learned to find them quicker than anybody else in the family. He found them under chairs and hot radiators and pushed them with all his might. 3 It was hard work, and it was difficult for Stuart to roll a ball along. But he liked it.

The Littles had a piano in their dining-room, and Mrs. Little liked to play it in the evenings. It was a good piano, but one of the keys stuck sometimes, and did not work properly. That was very unpleasant. Mrs. Little said: "It's all because of 4 the bad weather." But we must say that this key did not work even on bright days.

George always got very angry 5 when he played the piano and the key stuck. (To tell the truth, 6 he did not play the piano very well even on the days when the key worked properly, but still he got angry.) One day George said: "Let us put Stuart inside the piano."

You know that inside every piano there is a lot of soft hammers, and when you play the piano each hammer strikes a different cord, and you hear music. So George said: "You must stay inside, Stuart, and push up the key every time it sticks." 7

And he put Stuart inside the piano. It was hard work, because the noise inside the piano was terrible, and Stuart was quite deaf after half an hour. Besides he was afraid that a hammer might hit him on the head. But he liked this work just the same, 8 because he liked music.

Mr. and Mrs. Little often spoke about Stuart when he was not around. 9 To have a mouse in the family was a very unusual thing. Stuart was so small that sometimes his parents did not know what to do with him.

"He must not know that he is a mouse," they decided.

Mr. Little said that they must not mention the word mice in their conversation. He made Mrs. Little tear out a page 10 from a song-book with the song "Three Blind Mice." 11

"He must not know too much about mice," said Mr. Little. "He will be afraid that somebody will cut off his tail with a knife. Such things make children dream bad dreams 12 when they go to bed at night."

"Yes," said Mrs. Little, "and we must also think about the poem' 'Twas the night before Christmas...' 13 Do you remember it?" And she showed her husband the book:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. 14

 "That's right," said Mr. Little, "but what shall we say when we come to that line in the poem? We shall have to say something. We can't simply say: "Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house not a creature was stirring.' There is no rhyme here!"

"What about 15 loise?" said George.

They decided that louse was the best word. So Mrs. Little rubbed out the word mouse from the poem and wrote the word louse instead. And Stuart always thought that the poem went this way: 16

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a louse.

But there was one more 17 thing that worried Mr. and Mrs. Little. There was a mouse-hole in the kitchen. Mr. Little did not know where this hole led to. 18 He was afraid that one day 19 Stuart might get into it.

"After all, he looks like a mouse and all mice like to go into holes," he said to his wife.



1 The Littles — Вся семья Литлов

2 had to stop playing — должны были прекращать игру

3 with all his might — изо всех сил

4 It's (it is) all because of— Все это из-за

5 got very angry — очень сердился

6 To tell the truth — По правде говоря

7 every time it sticks — всякий раз, когда она застрянет

8 just the same — все равно

9 when he was not around — когда его не было поблизости

10 Не made Mrs. Little tear out a page — Он заставил миссис Литл вырвать страницу

11 Имеется в виду известная английская детская песенка;

Three blind mice, see how they run!

They all ran after the farmer's wife,

Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,

Did ever you see such a thing in your life,

As three blind mice?

12 dream bad dreams — видеть дурные сны

13 'Twas (it was) the night before Christmas' — «Была ночь накануне рождества»

14 all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse — в целом доме не было слышно (букв, не шевелилось) ни одного живого существа, даже мышки

15 What about — Как насчет

16 went this way — звучало так

17 one more — еще одна

18 where this hole led to — куда ведет это отверстие

19 one day — когда-нибудь

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