Gentle was following his sister through one of the corridors of the house. She was walking very quickly, and he had to run to catch up. This was difficult, as he was carrying the bell, and it bumped on the floor as he ran, making a loud noise.
One day, Gentle the mouse received a letter from his brother, Nosy. Gentle’s family was very big, but he was the only one who lived in the Great Forest. The rest of his family had moved to live underneath a big house. They told him he was stupid to stay in the forest, because in the house there was always lots of delicious food. But Gentle loved living in the forest, and didn’t want to live under a house, where it was dark and cold.
The news of Crush’s proposal spread quickly. The mice argued, the foxes made jokes, and the birds flew from one tree to another, telling each other of the news. By sunset the same day, there was not a creature in the Great Forest who had not heard about Crush and Charcoal.
One day, Gentle the mouse went over to visit Crush the lion. Neither he, nor Bright Eyes the hawk, nor Grunt the pig had seen him for several days, and Gentle was starting to worry.
Gentle stood at the edge of the cave where Crush lived. It was very dark inside, and he was too scared to enter.
One day, Gentle the mouse was eating a mushroom. He loved nothing more than to eat mushrooms. The mushroom was very big, so as he ate, he climbed inside.
Gentle climbed out of the mushroom to see who it was. It was Hoppy the frog. Hoppy was quite unpopular in the Great Forest. The other animals always said he was strange, and kept away from him. He had never spoken to Gentle before, but he had a big smile on his face.
In the Great Forest, Crush the lion and Gentle the mouse were arguing.
‘Crush, you don’t understand!’ said Gentle. ‘Just because you’re stronger than someone, it doesn’t mean they have to admire you.’
‘But I am king of the forest! I am stronger than all other creatures! If an animal wants to speak to me, he should bow his head and call me “Sir Crush”. Otherwise, I shall eat him for being rude.’
Little Mike was my first ever pet. My parents had always said I was too careless for one, but I looked after my stag beetle like he was the most important thing in the world. Once a week, Big Mike came round to visit Little Mike.
‘I think he’s growing bigger,’ he would say. ‘Soon he’ll be as big as you.’