Priscilla of Elm Hill

About being a mouse and staying healthy

Priscilla had a lot on her plate. So this was outrageous. How could this silly rat of a physician suggest that she walk! What did he mean "walk"?! Walk where? Priscilla knew from the moment she entered his practice that she’d made a mistake. She should have never listened to Alibert. Alibert was her husband and they had been together for the better part of their lives during which they had made approximately 327 children, most of which had turned into healthy mice themselves. Priscilla didn’t much care to admit that lately she had trouble remembering each of their names. But that was not the point. Alibert, a thin wrinkly mouse himself, had been concerned for Priscilla’s health so he had asked her to go see Doctor Plump, a rat no less, but according to online ratings the best health practitioner around.

 

Alibert had been persistent, with Priscilla limping more often than not these days. And she was sneezing constantly without having a cold. A sign of heart trouble apparently. "Well, Mrs. Bert, it would appear you have a foot problem." Priscilla raised an eyebrow. The rat was stating the obvious.

 

"Yes, which is why I am here."

"Quite right, quite right. I suggest a change in diet. Less pickles, more fibre."

 

Priscilla raised the other eyebrow, "A change in diet to cure my foot problem?" "Quite right, quite right. Also, I suggest you take walks. Every day." Now it was time for Priscilla to roll from her back onto all four feet with problems and scrunch her eyebrows in the opposite direction towards her nose: "But what if I don’t have to go anywhere?" Doctor Plumb waddled over to a shiny coin stack and put down the Q-tip. With the back turned to the patient he ground his teeth as rats do and he thought to himself that it was indeed time for him to retire. "Then walk in a circle."

"Walk in a circle. Walk in a circle! What a quack!" Priscilla thought as she scuttles towards her home. She was so deep in fury that she nearly got hit by oncoming traffic which made her even more furious. She had reached quite a respectable age, and mice rarely get this old, so she deserved a little respect! When she got home her feet with problems were warm, possibly with fury, but they hurt less than usual. She told Alibert what the doctor had said. "Well, that sounds reasonable to me," Alibert concluded chewing on a fibre stick. "No, it doesn’t! I cannot just walk — in a circle. There is so much to do here." She made a full turn to accentuate that there was in fact so much to do.

 

"At least I need a reason, or better yet a destination for me to walk to."

"Huh."

 

Alibert tilted his head and swallowed. He looked at her, “My dear, calm yourself. The kids are out of the house. It is just you and me now. We can do whatever we want.” "Yes, and I don’t wanna walk in a circle. I ain’t no hamster and this ain’t no wheel." Alibert moved next to Priscilla, leaned his body weight against her side and closed his eyes. His nose nearly touched hers. She always liked it when he did that and she smiled. "Alright then. From tomorrow onward I shall walk for no reason in particular. And to make matters worse I shall walk in a circle." "You will feel better,” Alibert opened his eyes and concluded that he’d like another fibre stick, so he scurried with appropriate velocity towards the pile of fibre sticks.

 

From this day forward Priscilla began to walk in circles in her neighbourhood. As expected she felt silly in the beginning and tried to avoid meeting anyone she knew, which frankly was impossible for she had lived here all her life. But after a while she realized how much better her feet felt and how she could make mental to-do lists during her walks. That was pretty cool. The next time she saw an acquaintance she would no longer change side-walks, but instead saunter over to them and explain what she was doing. After about a month three other mice had joined her on her walks. Her feet problems never fully went away but walking in circles really made her feel better. Some days even Alibert joined her. Priscilla had started a movement. When she passed away a few years later she had reached an exceptionally old age for a mouse. The walking-in-circle movement turned out to offer relief at a time when she and the creatures of her neighbourhood had nowhere else to go.

 

When Priscilla took her last breath she was content. Her walks only looked circular on the outside, when in fact each time she had returned home from one of her walks she had discovered a new destination.


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