On the other side of the forest, Hildys, was readying her wooden Wagon.
She was the House Gnome of the Toymaker and his Wife, and every evening the Wife sent her out to bring Christmas Cheer to the rabbits, mice, and birds of the Forest.
With a pot of hot peppermint tea and a warm knitted sweater she watched while the Wagon was loaded.
As she stepped out the door, the voice of the Wife trailed after her...
"Be careful to feed all that are hungry, but do NOT let any of them follow you home!"
This was the Toymaker's busiest time of year.
And his Wife did not have time to chase little rodents running through her flour, or messing up her tidy cupboards.
After a long walk in the woods, Hildys was ready to return home. Turning to go, she almost stepped upon a bit of fur huddled in the snow. Poor little thing, she thought. But alas, I cannot bring it home. Perhaps a couple nuts and a piece of moss will keep it warm through the night. She left two acorns and slowly moved on.
Later that night as she sat by the mantle's candle, she could not get her mind off that tiny figure in the snow.
She was sure it was alive...and she knew what she had to do.
Well after dark, Hildys once again wrapped her sweater aound her shoulders, and trundeled off into the Forest.
By the Moon's light, she carefully retraced her steps and came upon the still figure she had left behind.
Hildyce lifted the Mouse up into the wagon. To her surprise, she found a tiny Baby curled up in a hazelnut shell beneath her.
Taking them home, she placed them in a Nest hidden deep in the Christmas tree, whispering a Christmas prayer that they would be alive and well in the morning.
The Mouse and her Baby thrived amidst the soft lights on the tree and the warmth of the little Gnome's care.
Little did she know in the meantime, that the Toymaker had spotted the pair. Just as he was about to shoo them from the house, the Mouse caught his gaze. Suddenly he was taken back in time to a Humble Barn and a Simple Manger. He saw animals gathered around, even the smallest of mice, to keep a new Baby warm.
And he knew what he had to do.
That evening, the Toymaker stopped his Toymaking to fashion a tiny Golden Bell. He tied it upon the Mouse, and in return, he asked her to hang the silvery tinsel and to keep the tree lights twinkling.
And to NOT go into the Kitchen.
All was well until Christmas Eve.
Hildys thought she might just faint when the Toymaker brought his Wife to the tree and pulled back the branches to show her the Nest.
"Wife, have you ever seen our tree look so Divine? Nary a light has gone out over these long Work Days.
And look how Perfectly the Tinsel is placed.
...My Gift to you...a Christmas Mouse who has done it all!"
The Wife could not help but marvel that not one light bulb had gone dark.
And the tinsel had glittered with the sound of tiny bells in the quiet of the night.
Nor had she seen a single sign of mouse tracks in her kitchen...
She thought upon her Gift for one Moment,
then kissed her Husband and off they went for their Long Winter's Nap.
Hildys sighed with relief because...
Now, she could finally enjoy Christmas.
Hildys gingerly climbed up the tree and curled up in the Nest with her Mice.
Together they thanked the Baby in the Manger for answering their prayers
as they waited for the Morn...
When off they would trundel with their Wagon full of Christmas Cheer...
Included in this Set...