Beatrix Potter and the Mouse



I shared my first studio in Paris with a few mice.


I suppose this is inevitable in a 17th century building, but, nonetheless, I was surprised when the first one made his appearance in the living room area soon after I moved in.


I remember it clearly. I was watching t.v. and he scurried across the room and stopped between the television set and the sofa, looked at me, with some confidence I might add, and then scurried off again.

I, with less confidence, got up and tried to assess the situation.

I called my friend and she came rushing over. With some squeals and much giggling, we cornered the frightened mouse in between two cabinets in the kitchenette.

Now what?



The front door wasn’t far away so our plan was to open it and somehow push the mouse out the door. But we needed something to push the mouse out with. Having just moved in, I did not own a broom.

Our eyes scanned the kitchen counter and at the same time we shouted with glee, “Of course!”

Lying there, among my many books, was a copy of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse that we were reading for a class on illustrated literature!


With my friend as backup, I used the book to gently escort the frazzled mouse out of my studio. We poured ourselves some wine, raised our glasses and congratulated ourselves.

The mouse, no doubt, quietly crept back into my flat through its secret entrance.



photos from wikipedia and amazon.

56 thoughts on “Beatrix Potter and the Mouse

    • We were trying to be kind but I think we just terrified the poor thing! But, he, or at least members of his family, did end up making their appearance throughout my stay there so I guess I wasn’t that frightening after all 🙂

  1. Well that’s certainly putting literature to good–and appropriate–use! You handled it better than me. I don’t think I’d care to have a mouse join me in watching TV. Shudder.

  2. “There is something delicious about writing the first words of a story. You never quite know where they’ll take you.” Beatrix Potter

    That is what I feel every time I read the first sentence of your posts. A marvelous story from beginning to end….

    • What a sweet thing to say! There are some stories that tell themselves. The coincidence that I’d be studying that Beatrix Potter book just when a mouse would make its appearance is just too magical (and, at the time, horrible – I was not happy to have mice in my studio!).

  3. I love the coincidence (or was it?) of having that particular book to hand, I wonder if the mouse appreciated the irony…all’s well that ends well though as he probably quietly he back to sharing your studio with you. This is the highlight of my 80+ blog odyssey. There should be an award for that.

    • 80+ blog odyssey – that’s a lot of reading in one go! Perhaps the mouse was working hand in hand with the professor who assigned the book. It was unusual undergraduate reading…. Prof. Mouse – that would be a cute children’s book title.

  4. Hilarious story, Letizia!

    It’s amazing to me how brave mice are.

    Once, one sprang forth in our house, and as it tore through the house — with two cats, one dog, and two adults after it — it soon got “cornered” in the middle of the wall.

    It had a cat on each flank, a dog on one side, when Danah and I walked up. And in that moment of everyone being frozen, the thought passed my mind, “Wow. What a great book scene this would have been.”

    First, one cat chasing the mouse, Then, another! Now, a dog!!! And holy crap: now two Eiffel-tower tall giants.

    But before I could think another thought, the thing did the damndest thing. It raced full speed straight at me. And in that moment, I was like, “What a warrior?! Oh my word, it’s coming for the largest giant around it.”

    I jumped in fright, and the mouse got away as the dogs and cats tumbled and slid into each other.

    But I’ll never forget such bravery. Truly, it was probably the bravest thing I’ve ever seen or read, and you know me, I read tons of true-life martial arts and history on war.

    (I also know that had it waited a second longer, either the dog or one of the cats would have leaped forward and it would have been “goodbye little mouse.”)

    • I love your story of the courageous mouse! What a brave little guy, taking on an army of giants and their furry sidekicks! That really had me laughing. And I had never really thought of mice as brave but you are so right!

  5. It probably doesn’t surprise you that I rescue mice that I find in my house, too. I don’t set traps for them (unless you count my two cats, but I can’t be held responsible for their actions).

    I remember Mrs. Tittlemouse, and I am pretty sure I have a copy somewhere. I have read all of Beatrix Potter’s books, and I adored them as a child. And as a mom reading them to her kids. Classics through and through.

    • It’s no surprise you are a mouse-freer! (I excuse your cats – my dog is a mouse/chipmunk/rabbit/rat killer as well. We all have our own nature).

      I love Potter’s books as well, so charming. I’m not familiar with all of them but the stories and drawings are just so charming. How lovely to have read them as a child and then to have read them to your own children.

  6. What a fabulous story! A children’s book in the making. I think you should write it. Then the grad students could write a thesis on intertextuality in picture books. 😀

    Seriously. I think you should write the picture book.

    We had a wee mouse in our house awhile back. It would appear in the wee hours of the night when it thought we should be asleep and scavenge for stray unpopped popcorn kernels under the stove. We caught it in a humane trap and released it in a nearby park. Cutie little thing, but not welcome in our kitchen.

    • I’m sure that mice love popcorn kernels! I like that you used a humane trap and released him in a park.

      You would have liked the course on illustrated literature I read the Potter book for. We explored the relationship between the text and the illustration. Very interesting. Sadly, I can’t remember any text we studied other than the Potter book (which I remember because of the mouse incident…).

  7. Letizia love your mouse story, when I was a young lass we use to place pieces of cheese out for a tiny weeny mouse, just to watch it. Unfortunately one of our new flatmates did not know we had a pet living inside and he, well yes a sad ending for Milko. Hope you do not have too many family members joining you.

  8. Oh what a charming tale this is Letizia, I love it! I’m a huge fan of Beatrix Potter, having read all the books as a kid and then to my own children. I love Mrs Tittlemouse, what a perfect way to get your visitor to scurry off. In one of the houses we lived in the the States, I was on the phone one evening after putting the children to bed and to my shock and horror a mouse popped up from inside the stove hob and then disappeared just as quickly. I don’t know who was more frightened, me or the mouse 😉

    • Oh dear, I know just what you mean! I think the reason they scare is is that they startle us so. One minute we are alone, the next a tiny creature is scurrying past us. “Eek!” we and the mouse both scream.

  9. Love this story, Letizia! I am not as brave as you. I usually scream and jump up on something. I don’t even know why. And it was brilliant to use Mrs. Tittlemouse to shoo your friend away.

    • I was quite scared of the little animal as well! I think it’s because he’s so quick and can catch you off guard, suddenly running behind you or who knows where (our imaginations are our worst enemy!).

  10. Aw, this is such a cute episode from your life! I visited Beatrix Potter’s house a few years ago, and I think the mice would have loved it there. As I was coming out the door into the garden I did see 5 cute bunny rabbits hopping on the lawn. They knew what they were doing.

    • How lovely to see rabbits at her house! I saw some of her sketches recently at an exhibit in NYC. I’d love to visit her house though. It must have been a lovely experience.

  11. So funny! I read all the Beatrix Potter stories to my kids, and remember Mrs. Tittlemouse very well. After all her kids left home, I was visiting my mother in Detroit. I remember sitting opposite the kitchen door and watching two little mice springing up from the floor (Boing! Boing! Boing!) trying to jump up onto her kitchen counter like in some cartoon. It turned out that she had been feeding one, putting treats in a little dish. It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it brought a friend, and the party had gotten out of hand. We also showed them the door!

    • What a funny story! I can just imagine the mice jumping up and down trying to reach the kitchen counter, haha! I’m glad you showed them the door before they became too numerous though – that really could have gotten out of hand!

  12. Yes, a tale well worthy of Miss Potter 😀 I remember sitting (okay, slouched) in my armchair one night, reading. My legs stretched out, my ankles crossed. I looked down and perched on my foot was a little grey mouse–just sitting there looking at me. Then he jumped down, ran across the floor and disappeared. I’m quite fond of little grey mice 🙂

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