MINI2    3' Mini-mysteries for the mouse detective

Michaela Mouse lived in a hole under the roots of a large tree.
One day she heard a knock at the door. When she opened it, she
saw the queen ant.

"You have to help me! Please, Michaela Mouse, help me!"
exclaimed the queen ant.

"What's wrong, Your Majesty?" asked Michaela.

"Somebody stole a hundred of my eggs!" exclaimed the queen.

Michaela and the queen went to the ant mound to investigate.

Michaela asked, "Is this the only entrance to your ant hole?"

"Yes." replied the queen.

"So, whoever stole the eggs had to go in through here?" asked

"Yes, but he couldn't get in this way." replied the queen.

"Why not?" asked Michaela.

"Because I have my soldier ants guarding this entrance all day
and all night." replied the queen.

Michaela asked, "So, if someone got in there to steal your eggs,
he got in through another way?"

"But there is no other way!" replied the queen.

"We'll see." said Michaela as she walked around and around the
ant mound in wider and wider circles. Several feet away, she
found the entrance to a mole hole. She lowered her mouth into
the hole and shouted, "Hello? Hello? Mr. Mole, are you here?".

There was no answer. So, she crawled down into the hole and
searched every part of the mole hole for clues. Then she went
back up to see the queen.

Michaela explained, "In the deepest part of the mole hole I
found a small tunnel from the mole hole into your ant hole. When
I looked through the hole, I saw ant eggs all around."

The queen exclaimed, "So, the mole stole my eggs?"

"No," replied Michaela, "It's definitely not the mole!"

"How can you be so sure?" asked the queen.

"First of all," replied Michaela, "The tunnel was smaller than
the mole hole. Moles only dig big holes. Second, a mole couldn't
reach your eggs with his paw through that small opening. He
would have to crawl into the ant hole. But his big body couldn't
fit into the ant hole. The animal that stole your eggs was much
smaller than the mole. It could crawl through the small hole
into your egg chamber. He just used the mole hole because he
knew the mole wasn't home."

"Who would do that?!" asked the queen.

Michaela replied, "Well, I found bits of spider web down there."

"How could spider webs get into a mole hole?" asked the queen,
"You think a spider stole my eggs?"

"Yes." replied Michaela.

The queen exclaimed, "But a spider couldn't carry all hundred
eggs out of the mole hole! He probably couldn't carry more than
one or two eggs at a time. He wouldn't have had time to go in
and out of that deep hole a hundred times."

Michaela replied, "He could do it with spider webs."

(Can you tell how the spider stole a hundred eggs at a time?)

Michaela and the queen's soldier ants searched the nearby trees
and bushes for the nearest spiders. On one spider's web was what
looked like a tiny pearl necklace. 

"There are your eggs, Your Majesty!" Michaela exclaimed, "The
spider wrapped each egg in a spider web, then he strung the eggs
together in a long string using web silk. When he had about a
hundred eggs strung together, he merely had to pull the first
egg out of the hole and all the other eggs trailed behind like a
long train."

Thanks to the excellent detective work of Michaela mouse, the
world's greatest detective, the eggs were returned home. And
they all lived happily ever after.

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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