MINI7    7' 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 a beautiful blue butterfly.

"You have to help us, please!" exclaimed the butterfly.

Michaela looked out the door and all around, then asked, "US?"

"The other butterflies are in hiding." replied the butterfly.

"Hiding?! Why?" asked Michaela.

"The other insects are attacking us!" exclaimed the butterfly.

"But why?" asked Michaela.

"They accused us of EATING all the flowers!" exclaimed the
butterfly, "Can you help us, please?!"

Michaela looked toward the walls at the edge of the park where
the flowers were planted. Half of the blossoms were gone. She
nodded to the butterfly and said, "You go hide with the other
butterflies. I'll solve this mystery before the sun comes up

"Oh, thank you!" exclaimed the butterfly as she flew off toward
the woods across the creek.

Michaela brought her little magnifying glass to the flower beds.
But she was interrupted by the spider who spins his web in a
bush near the flower beds.

"Michaela Mouse!" exclaimed the spider, "You have to help me!
Somebody tried to destroy my web!"

Michaela replied, "I'm sorry, I'm already investigating another
case right now."

"You don't understand!" exclaimed the spider, "Without my web to
catch insects, my family and I will go hungry."

Michaela replied, "You can always rebuild your web, but for the
butterflies this is a matter of life and death. So, I won't be
able to investigate your case until tomorrow morning."

The spider lowered his head and turned around saying, "Oh,

Michaela followed saying, "I tell you what. Let me just look at
the damage to your web. It may give me some ideas that will
speed up the investigation tomorrow."

She ran ahead of the spider and inspected his web with her
magnifying glass.

"Aha!" she exclaimed.

"Did you find something?" asked the spider.

"Yes," replied Michaela, "It looks to me like whoever destroyed
your web wasn't just being mean. He took the web fibers with

"What do you think that means?" asked the spider.

"I don't know yet." replied Michaela as she was leaving. "But
I'll keep an eye out for the fibers from your web around the
park while I'm investigating the attacks on the butterflies."

As she approached the flower beds, she noticed that the blossoms
were not the only things missing from the flowers. The leaves
were chewed off as well. She climbed up the stems of a few of
them and examined the marks left behind by the animal who chewed
off the blossoms.

"Aha!" she exclaimed.

"Did you find who did it?!" asked the queen bee buzzing above.

"Oh, hello, Your Majesty. No, I found who DIDN'T do it." replied

"What do you mean?" asked the queen.

"These blossoms have the marks of insects who chew their food."
explained Michaela. "A butterfly's proboscis can only sip
nectar. It can't chew. So, it definitely wasn't the butterflies
who did this."

"But my worker bees definitely saw butterflies chewing on the
flowers." replied the queen.

"So, it was your bees who attacked the butterflies?" asked

"Not just us." replied the queen, "The hummingbirds sip nectar
from the blossoms too. And they're as mad as we are!"

"Well," said Michaela, "You're picking on the wrong insects. And
you need to stop."

"But they saw the butterflies..." began the queen.

Michaela interrupted, "They saw what LOOKED LIKE butterflies.
And I will solve the mystery by tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, YOU
tell your bees and the hummingbirds to leave those poor
butterflies alone."

"Alright." replied the queen as she flew away, "But if you don't
catch them by tomorrow morning..."

Michaela inspected the rest of the flower beds carefully, even
the blossoms that weren't damaged.

"Aha!" she exclaimed.

"Did you find who did it?!" asked a hummingbird buzzing above.

Michaela looked up and asked, "Did the queen bee talk to you?"

"Yes," replied the hummingbird, "But we didn't really hurt the
butterflies, we just flew at them and bumped them so they
wouldn't chew off anymore blossoms. What did you find there?"

Michaela pointed at the rose blossom she was inspecting, saying,
"Several of these rose blossoms have only one petal missing. But
none of the roses had any other damage."

"What do you make of that?" asked the hummingbird.

Michaela thought for a minute or two, then replied, "I think
these two mysteries are related."

"What two mysteries?" asked the hummingbird.

"Half of the spider's web was stolen." replied Michaela, "I
think the same insect who stole the web fibers also chewed up
the flower blossoms."

"What makes you think the two mysteries are related?" asked the

"Here's what I think happened:" replied Michaela, "There were
several insects involved. These insects were not from this park,
but they wanted to blend in, to look like the other insects in
the park. So, some of them chewed off the spider web, while
others chewed off a petal from each of these roses."

"What for?" asked the hummingbird.

"The petals of these roses are pink and yellow, like the wings
of butterflies." explained Michaela, "These insects made
themselves LOOK LIKE butterflies by tying the rose petals to
their backs with the fibers from the spider web. Then, when they
started chewing on the other flowers, everyone here in the park
thought it was the butterflies who were destroying the flowers."

"But why didn't they eat the rose blossoms too?" asked the

Michaela replied, "Because if you saw a butterfly with wings
with exactly the same colors as the flower they were on, you
would know they weren't really butterflies."

"What are we going to do?" asked the hummingbird, "We can't let
these strangers keep eating our flowers!"

"First, we have to be sure that the insects were wearing rose
petals." explained Michaela, "You go asked the queen what her
worker bees really saw. If the wings of the fake butterflies
were the same color as these pink and yellow rose petals, we
know who to look for."

While the hummingbird was gone, Michaela climbed a nearby tree
to asked the mother and father robin red-breast for help. And
since Michaela had solved some mysteries for them, they were
eager to help. Just then the hummingbird swooped in.

"You were right, Michaela Mouse!" he exclaimed, "The worker bees
said the butterflies they saw chewing the blossoms were yellow
and pink, just like the roses!"

The next morning before sunrise, several fake butterflies
climbed the stems of flowers and began chewing on the blossoms.
When Michaela Mouse gave the signal, all the robins in the park
swooped in at once and ate the fakers for breakfast.

"What kind of insects were they?" asked Michaela.

"They were grasshoppers. And they were delicious!" replied the
robin red-breast!"

So, Michaela Mouse, the world's greatest mouse detective solved
two mysteries at once!

2013 Bob Snook. Conditions for use:
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