A tear slipped from the eye of the rat and he rubbed his nose with the back of his paw.
“My dear fellow!” said the egg again, warmly, managing to impart, in these few words, the affection so missed by the lonely rat.
“Now,” he continued heartily, “let us not delay. I am longing to know what you have been doing all these long months. And in return, I have much to tell you about the loft. It is a most interesting place. There are swallows nesting in the eaves, who travel to a place called Africa – I believe they are there now. There are old toys who have some fascinating tales to tell. There is a skylight and one can observe the sky and clouds, which, I must tell you, is a very great pleasure to one, like me, who has travelled so little. Do settle yourself comfortably. I have been placed a little higher up the tree this year, but we can see and hear each other very well, I think.”
And so, the rat and the egg talked long into the night and for many nights to come. And on the night before Twelfth Night, they said a cheerful goodbye, and the rat climbed up into the roof to meet his old friend.
And they lived happily ever after.