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Fr. Cecil Champneys Burnham

1914 - 2002

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I hope you’ll think my tale is nice.

It’s all about some saintly mice.

No better mice had ever been.

Their ways were quiet, their habits clean.

Nor had the ladies of their house

Been frightened by a single mouse.

Instead they exercised the cat,

Preventing him from getting fat.

But life’s unfair and sad to say,

Fate struck them down one dreadful day.

On poisoned cheese alas they fed,

And in a minute all were dead.

Ah! Do not weep! Though life was spent,

Each mouse at once to heaven went.

There purest cheese was their delight —

And not a trace of cat in sight!

They’d been in heaven a week or more

When Peter came through Golden Door.

Thus spake the saint, “Dear mice, don’t fear

Just tell me how you like it here.”

The Leading Mouse, by name Horatius,

Said, “Very much. You’re all most gracious.

There’s one thing only causing pain.”


Horatius twirled his tail around

And fearlessly he stood his ground.

Said he, “We’re grateful, Sir. We are —

For cosy cloud and twinkling star.”

“It’s not a real complaint at all.

The fact is, Sir, we’re very small.

Your heaven’s so vast. Without a doubt

Our little legs can’t get about.”

“I see,” said Peter, “indeed I do.

You’re very small. That is quite true.

Some sure solution must be found

To help you mice to get around.”

“I’ll have a think. A plan I’ll seek

And let you know some time next week.”

Their hopes so high in time grew faint,

For weeks went by — but came no saint.

To mice forlorn one radiant morn

There came the sound of angel horn

When Peter came with great commotion

And schemes for mousey locomotion.

As trumpets yet more loudly blew,

Sweet cherubs in formation flew

And each was carrying on his back

A gift wrapped presentation pack.

This you can guess caused such a stir

That brave Horatius asked, “Please, Sir,

What wonders are in these concealed?”

The saint said, “All will be revealed.”

“Their contents will, I’m sure, surprise.

You’ll find it hard to trust your eyes.

They’ll give you Freedom of the Gates.

I’m fitting you with roller skates.”

I tell no lie. That’s what he did.

With speedy wheels each mouse could skid.

This plan indeed each did mouse please,

For all could get around with ease.

Now as the weeks and months went by

These saintly mice did multiply

And by their providential fates

Were born equipped with roller skates.

You might well think that that was that,

But then arrived a saintly cat.

Nine lives he’d had of wear and tear

And love for humans in his care.

He’d faithfully served his home in Devon,

So his reward of course was heaven.

St. Peter called just after Lent

And asked “Dear Tom, are you content?”

The cat replied, “It’s like a dream.

Fish twice a day AND DOUBLE CREAM!

Just everything in heaven appeals,

But best of all — your meals on wheels!”


Copyright © 2000 [Rev. C. Champneys Burnham]. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 24, 2018 .