From the Campbell Carriage Factory Museum summer blog (http://campbellcarriagefactory.wordpress.com/).
Recently, we have started selling items in our museum gift shop. One idea that came up was the creation of a museum mascot, a knitted mouse. The mouse, or now mice, as they have rapidly multiplied, are sold in the gift shop, but also hidden in the museum for children to find. The mouse’s name is Spokes, and his story goes something like this:
My home is the Campbell Carriage Factory. I’ve lived here ever since I can remember, and so have my parents before me. The factory has many hiding spots for a small mouse like me, and the workers always leave me some crumbs and left over coffee. During the day, I used to watch the carriage makers work, as they expertly filed, sawed, glued and hammered a new carriage into existence, or put an old one back into shape. They worked fast and efficiently, and exchanged friendly banter or stories about the local people. I built my nest in the upholstery corner, up on the shelf where they keep all the material for the seat making. One morning, while I was still asleep in a ball of horsehair, one of the workers grabbed me without noticing. He was repairing the seat of an old side-spring wagon which had a huge rip and had lost a lot of the stuffing. Before I knew it, I was trapped inside a wagon seat. It was nice and warm, so I didn’t mind too much, until I started getting hungry, and the vehicle started moving and the guy who owned it sat down. The wagon lurched forward and from side to side in a sickening motion and I could hardly move, wedged between strands of horsehair and coarse leather. Needless to say, I didn’t enjoy it much. Until I gnawed a hole in the seat and peered outside. I saw an enormous pond, and a huge mill. There were children playing on the bridge. As we crossed it, the carriage started moving faster, and houses rushed by. I don’t know how much time passed, but finally the carriage stopped moving. That night, I gnawed a huge hole in the seat of the carriage, trying desperately to get out. I did, but then decided it was not such a good idea after all. Where would I go? I had never been outside. So, I waited patiently, knowing that the owner of the carriage would have to go back to the Factory again to get the seat repaired once more. And I was right! I made it back safe and sound.
Today, things are different here. Carriages are no longer on the road, and the factory is mostly a quiet, old museum. Sometimes, the tour guides bring through some visitors and tell them about the old days. I listen carefully and think back to those times. The tools here are gathering dust, and hardly anyone picks them up anymore. But I don’t mind too much. I’m getting old, and I find the quiet is relaxing, although it is a bit lonely. Sometimes, a neighbourhood cat strolls through my factory. The students here call him Boots. He walks through the building as though he owns it, and when he sees me, he tries to stare me down. But I don’t let him get to me. I’m smarter than him, and have been around much, much longer. This factory is my kingdom.