Once upon a time there was a mouse called Twinky. He lived in a mouse hole in the wall of an old, old house. Twinky had a long tail and sharp ears. He could run fast. He liked to eat cheese and food scraps.
Twinky did not like being a mouse.
He wanted to be something else. He did not know what he wanted to be, but it wasn't a mouse! Maybe it would be nice to be a rat.
One day he woke up and found that he had been turned into a rat.
He was bigger than a mouse. He had big sharp teeth and long whiskers. His tail was long and pink but it was dirty. His big sharp teeth were dirty, too. He smelled bad! And he had FLEAS! Fleas were horrible.
The owner of the house saw Twinky sitting near the door and she screamed.
"Aargh! A rat! A horrible, dirty, disgusting RAT! Aargh!"
Twinky decided to run away and hide.
People hadn't liked having a mouse around the house very much, but they HATED having a rat around. He spent most of the day trying to hide from them. They set the cat to look for him and they set the dog to look for him. He didn't even have time to find something to eat.
Twinky found a hole and sat in it and hid from all of them.
Being a rat was AWFUL. It would be better if he were something else. Maybe being a cat would be all right. People wouldn't try to catch him if he was a cat. People liked cats. Cats were good. (Unless you were a mouse or a rat, that was! Mice and rats didn't much like cats. But they were usually able to keep out of their way.) Cats looked good. They were strong and fast, and they got fed nice stuff. Yes, being a cat would be MUCH better than being a rat! ANYTHING would be better than being a rat.
The next day Twinky woke up and found that he had been turned into a cat. That was better! Cats were fast and strong. They could chase mice.
But when he went out into the garden a big dog chased him up a tree. He climbed as far as the highest branch and then found that he didn't know how to get down. His owner had to call the Fire Brigade with a long ladder to get Twinky down. His owner was very cross.
Being a cat wasn't as much fun as he had thought it would be.
"I don't think I really want to be a cat," Twinky thought. "Cats are scared of dogs and run away from them. Maybe it would be better to be a dog. Dogs are tougher than cats, and they are brave. Yes, I wish I was a dog!"
The next morning he woke up and found that he had been turned into a dog.
"Oh, good!" Twinky said to himself. "This is better. I will have a nice bone to chew on and I can sleep in the sunshine all day. And I can chase cats."
But his owner did not want Twinky to chase cats. He made him stay on a chain and guard the front gate so no burglars could get in. He did not give Twinky any nice bones to chew. And it was not nice and sunshiny at all. It was COLD and WET and RAINY but Twinky had to sit at the gate and guard it. He did not like being a dog after all. AND he had fleas! They were itchy. They made him scratch himself a lot. That was NOT nice! Rats had fleas. Rats were dirty. Dogs weren't dirty. Surely THEY were not supposed to have fleas?
He lay on the pathway and looked at the other animals. He saw the rooster sitting on the fence stretching his wings. "Ah," he thought, "Maybe it would be better to be a rooster than a dog."
The next morning when Twinky woke up he discovered that he had been turned into a rooster. He jumped up on the fence and made a lot of noise.
"Cock-a-doodle-do! COCK-A-DOODLE-DO!" he crowed. Ah, this is good fun! I like waking up early."
But not everyone else liked being woken up early. The next door neighbour did not like being woken up early. She threw a flower pot at Twinky and nearly knocked him off the fence. He jumped down and ran to hide. That was NOT nice of her. And it had been her best flower pot, too. She must have been really cross to be woken up so early.
Twinky was hungry. But he did not like having to scratch in the dirt for his food. The hens did not like him. They cackled at him and chased him away from the food. He was sure that wasn't supposed to happen. Later on he saw his owner come along and look at him.
"That rooster will be just right for our Sunday dinner," his owner said and Twinky started to tremble. Sunday dinner! He did not want to be anyone's dinner!
"Oh dear," Twinky thought. "Maybe I was better off when I was a mouse and all I had to worry about was the cat. I WISH I was a mouse again." He jumped up onto the roost and tucked his head under his wing and went to sleep.
And next morning, when he woke up, he was a mouse again. He ran off to find some food scraps to eat and was SO happy he never ever again wished he was anything other than a mouse!
But he next morning, when he woke up, he jumped up on the fence and crowed again. Later on his owner came and caught him - and the family had Twinky for dinner on Sunday!