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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 25, 2004

Little Maile makes a very pretty Christmouse

 •  Our Little Tree

By Doreen Lowther
Special to The Advertiser

The winner of the children's division of The Advertiser's 2004 Holiday Fiction Contest has given herself a great Christmas present — twice!

Doreen Lowther, an 'Ewa Beach artist and writer, won the honor last year with "Mr. Kim's Christmas," and again this year with "The Wannabe Angel." Both stories offer subtle morals — one about Christmas kindness, and the other about persistence and belief in yourself. Lowther and her husband, Tom, have three children and three grandchildren, and it's those mo'opuna who motivate her to write children's fiction.

Lowther was born in 'Aiea Heights and lived in several states growing up. With her husband, Tom, and their three children, she has lived in Madrid, Paris and Montreal. The Lowthers now live in 'Ewa Beach.

Doreen belongs to the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and the National Writers Association, Honolulu Chapter. She won last years contest with "Mr. Kim's Christmas Eve." She has completed a children's novel called "Tullee and the Teapots — The Treasure Hunt."

'The Wannabe Angel'

It was Christmas Eve. Maile and her brother Danny 'Iole sat outside their mouse hole in the living room. The two mice children watched their human family decorate the tree and put presents under it; then the humans left.

"And where do you think you're going, squirt?" asked Danny, grabbing Maile's tail as she pushed past him.

"Up there," said Maile, pointing to the angel on top of the tree. As she looked up, the blue bow between her ears slid down her back.

"You've got goobers for brains. The cat will get you," yelled Danny.

"Says you," argued Maile, fixing her bow. "I'll wait until old fuzzball gets bored and goes away."

Danny let go of her tail and said, "Suit yourself. I'm going outside to play with my friends. Don't follow me." Off he scurried.

Now Maile was alone with the tree. The lights glittered and danced on the ornaments.

"It's so beautiful," she whispered and began crossing the room, looking only at the tree.

Maile bumped into something, causing her bow to fall over her eyes. The something was warm and fuzzy. She pushed her bow back between her ears and looked up.

"Uh, oh," said Maile.

"Going somewhere?" It was Edgar the cat. His claws sounded like drums as he tapped them on the floor.

"Up there to the top of the tree," answered Maile in a whisper. "I'm going to be the angel."

"Whoever heard of a mouse being an angel?" Edgar fell on his back and roared with laughter.

"I'll show you," answered Maile, forgetting to be afraid of the cat. "Laugh all you want, you old pickle-puss. I'm going up that tree." She fixed her bow, pointed her little black nose in the air and scampered toward the tree.

Once under the tree Maile looked up and shivered. "The tree was so little when I was on the other side of the room. From here I can't see the top," she said to herself. She looked back across to her mouse hole and thought about going home.

But she changed her mind when she saw Edgar still laughing.

"I bet fuzzface isn't really laughing," Maile grumbled. "He's probably just going to spit up a fur ball. It would serve him right for laughing at me."

She had climbed a few branches when she discovered some strung popcorn. "I'll nibble only the backs. I hope no one will notice," she thought. So every few branches, she stopped for a tasty snack.

Soon Maile was near the top of the tree. The branches were now narrow and short.

"Wow, I can see forever from here!" yelled Maile.

She could see her family peeking out the mouse hole. She waved to them, but no one could hear or see her. She was hidden among the dazzle of lights and ornaments.

She looked up. "The angel," squeaked Maile. "I'm almost there."

Next to her was a round, red ornament hanging from a wire hook. "If I hop on that and stand up, I will be right under the angel," she thought.

Maile put one little mouse foot on the ornament, then the other. The bulb swung backward. She grabbed the wire hanger as her feet slipped off the shiny, red bulb.

Maile's eyes got big. She was scared. The bulb she was hanging from began to slide down the branch, popping needles as it went. A tree light wire was near her, so she took a deep breath and grabbed it.

Now she was dangling from the wire, watching the red bulb tumble from branch to branch. Down the tree it went and bounced off a present's big bow at the bottom. The bulb rolled across the floor, whacking Edgar right on the nose.

The old, gray, fat cat leaped into the air and headed for the kitchen. Maile snickered.

The wire sagged, letting Maile's feet touch the branch under her. Feeling brave, she let go and ran up the last of the tree trunk. She stopped when she was under the skirt of the angel ornament.

"Made it!" hollered Maile, breathing a sigh of relief.

She got busy. First, she took off the halo, then the angel's dress. She squeezed the undressed doll among the branches in the back of the tree.

Maile, with her sharp teeth, chewed a few stitches off the back of the dress. Now it fit over her ears. She put on the halo and placed her bow on top of it. Maile felt so beautiful.

The hour was late and the whole house was still. She had had a very busy evening. Maile yawned and grew sleepy. She curled up, closed her brown eyes and fell asleep.

Maile was awakened in the morning by lots of noise. "It's Christmas!" she shouted.

She looked down at her human family gathered around the tree opening presents. Paper and bows were scattered everywhere.

Maile stood up straight and tall. Her white dress sparkled with gold trim and sequins. The morning light made the halo shine like a star.

The children stopped playing with their toys. They looked up at Maile and said, "Doesn't our angel look extra beautiful this year?"

Maile's parents and Danny were standing by their mouse hole. They all beamed with pride as they looked up at their little angel on the treetop.

The smirk went right off Edgar's face.