The lion leaped through the window. The first thing he saw was the witch flying out the door. He jumped to grab her before she got away, but she was to fast. He fell smash unto the floor. However, his best friend the unicorn saw the witch fly out of his grasp, and started chasing her. In a few seconds the lion was up again, and the two of them went running through the forest. They tried to follow the witch, but because she was flying, they could not always see her through the trees. Soon they became hopelessly lost, but decided they would keep walking in a straight line until they meet someone who saw where the witch went.
A few minutes later, they came over the brow of a hill, and there was a little girl sitting on a stump. She took one look at them, shrieked, and ran away. In her haste, she dropped a bowl.
The lion, who was always hungry, walked up and sniffed. “Ew, it is curds and whey.”
The unicorn, who was the more observant of the two, noticed the stump on which the girl had been sitting was at the end of a trail. They followed the path down the hill, and at the bottom, they found a little broken-down house. A man was sitting on the log pile near the front door. He was old, and his cloths were in rags.
“Old man,” said the unicorn, “Have you seen a witch?” Then he realized the old man was crying. “What is wrong?” he asked compassionately.
So the old man told his story. “My name is Jack. I am an old man, and all my life, everything had been going against me, until, a year ago today, I found a bent sixpence beside an old style. I took it to town, and with it bought this rundown house, my cat, Ginger, and a cow. I found Ginger to be an excellent mouser, and lent her out to catch mice from the neighbors' farms. My cow produced more milk than all the other cows in town, and better milk too. Between the two of them, the money piled up. I hired a maid to help with the milking, I had all the food I could want, and I fixed up this old house. It was all fine until yesterday, when my cat got sick and died, my cow ran away, my maid eloped, her future husband stole all the money, and an earthquake just destroyed my house.”
“Well, Jack, we can't do anything for you, we are only two lonely strangers wandering through this country in search of an evil witch. By the way, you haven't seen her, have you?” the unicorn asked.
Jack replied that he hadn't, so they continued on their way.
Around the next bend in the road, they met a young boy, about ten years old, who was practicing his trumpet. Beside him lay three bulging bags.
Immediately, the unicorn asked “Have you seen a witch?” The boy shook his head, and continued to play.
The lion was very curious. “What is in your bag?” he asked.
The boy put down his trumpet, and looked around. “Oh those. It's just wool from our black sheep. I'm supposed to give it to the master or the dame, whoever shows up. “
“Where do you keep your sheep? I don't see any in the field,” commented the Unicorn.
The boy jumped up and ran around the haystack. Sure enough, there were no sheep in the pasture. Then he saw his little sister running towards him.
“Little Bo Peep, what is wrong?”
“I have lost them. I don't know where to find them.” she sobbed, and crumpled to the ground.
The lion and the unicorn followed Little Boy Blue up the pasture hill. Far in the distance they could see all the sheep, following the young maiden that had ran away and left her whey behind.
“All the sheep love Mary,” said Little Boy Blue. “They follow her every chance they get. I will have to go bring them back from school. They would all crowd into the schoolroom with her if they could. If you would be so kind as to watch for the master or the dame, I will go rescue the sheep.”
The lion and the unicorn laid down in the shade of the haystack. The lion almost immediately fell asleep. The unicorn was nodding off when he heard some tiny squeaks. The mice were talking.
First mouse: “We can't do anything with that lion there. He will surely eat us.”
Second mouse: “Well, we will just have to be really quiet, so he doesn't hear us.”
First mouse: “The three blind mice can't be quiet, they have to use their sticks to tap out where they are.”
Third mouse: “If we just had a way of knowing when he moves, we could run into hiding fast enough.”
First mouse: “Since the three blind mice can't see, we need something that makes noise when he moves.”
Fourth mouse: “We could tie a bell to the lion, and it would warn us when he moves.”
All the mice: “What a good idea” and all sorts of other exclamations.
Second mouse: “Yes, but who will do it?”
All the mice were silent. At this moment, the lion woke up, and stretched. The unicorn was laughing into his hoof.
“What,” demanded the lion
“The mice were planning to tie a bell around your neck, so that when you awoke they would know, and would scurry away to safety. They were afraid you would eat them.”
At this the lion started laughing as well. “Me, eat a mouse! I would never.”
A few moments later, a mouse head poked out of the haystack. “Really?” the mouse asked.
The unicorn was composed enough to answer for the lion, who was now laughing so hard he was crying. “He would never eat a mouse. He promised he would never harm a mouse after one pulled a sliver out of his foot. You are perfectly safe.”
“Oh, that is good. We can continue with our plans. Or, perhaps you could help us!” The mouse explained the situation: “My son has gotten himself stuck on top of the clock, and we must rescue him. He has been without food and water for 14 hours. We couldn't rescue him before, because the master and the dame were in the house. But now you could help make our plans easier if you could lift us through the window.”
The unicorn was happy to oblige, and soon the little mouse was back with his family again. Then the Unicorn remembered something. “Little mouse, did you see a which fly over about half an hour ago?”
“Well,” squeaked the little mouse, “I did see a black something fly over. It was headed that way.” and he pointed down the trail.
At this moment the lion and the unicorn saw Little Boy Blue returning with his sheep, so they said goodbye to the mice, and continued on their search for the witch.
They followed the road leading down the hill, in the direction the little mouse had pointed out. Along the way they met a man who was walking the opposite way. His seven wives, each with seven wiggling, squirming bags were struggling up the hill behind him. They took up so much of the road that the lion and the unicorn were forced to stand in the bushes to wait for them to pass. After that, they rounded a corner and saw a small town nestled on the coast of a lake. They also saw the sun setting, and all the townspeople hurrying back to their houses. By the time the lion had inched and slid down the mountain road, and the unicorn had come tumbling after, not a single person was in sight.
The unicorn turned to the lion. “I guess we can't ask anyone if they saw the witch, because they will all be in bed. We will have to save our search till tomorrow,” he said.
At the very first inn they saw they stopped and asked for a room for the night. They had dinner brought up to them, and then crawled into bed. The lion debated whether he should do it or not. He was really shy, and he was embarrassed about sleeping with a stuffed animal. What if the unicorn laughed at him? They were best friends, though, and he could deal with the unicorn laughing at him. So he reached into his pocket, and pulled out his warm fuzzy. Then he glanced slyly over at the unicorn, to see if he had seen the warm fuzzy. What to his wondering eyes should appear, but another warm fuzzy, cuddled in the unicorn's hoofs! He stopped worrying about his warm fuzzy right away, and went to sleep.