nce upon a time, in a loft at the top of a big old house, there lived a rat and an egg. Ever since they had first met, they had been the best of friends. The egg, who was a Christmas decoration, spent the Christmas season hanging on the tree, and the rest of the year living in the loft with the rat. The rat loved the egg for his enthusiasm and cheerfulness, and the egg loved the rat for his kind and humble nature. They spent their time happily watching the clouds and stars through the skylight in the roof, playing draughts and chess, and surfing the internet on an old smartphone that someone had lost in the loft. Everything was pleasant, and everyone was happy.
One morning, when the spring winds were blowing gently through the cracks in the roof of the loft, the rat woke up, shook his head to clear his thoughts, and scampered over to the egg.
“It’s a beautiful day, Egg,” he said. “Shall we watch the clouds together for a while?”
“Maybe later, Rat,” said the egg quietly.
“Would you like me to look up some astronomy sites on the internet? We could look for that constellation we saw last night.”
“Not now, Rat,” said the egg.
“Would you like to sit quietly for a while?”
“Yes, dear Rat,” said the egg in his small, quiet voice, “I will sit here and think.”
“I will leave you in peace, then, Egg,” said the rat, and, troubled in his mind, he scampered away.
The worried rat climbed through the old house, through nooks and crannies, along rafters, down pipes and under floors, until he came to his old home, a small hole in the wall of the kitchen at the bottom of the house. He sat there for a while and thought. Was the egg all right? What was wrong? What could he do?
He sat, and fidgeted, and scratched his ears, and cleaned his fur, and tried to think about something else. He scratched a rough picture on the wall of the hole, to pass the time, and swept its dusty floor with his tail. At last, he couldn’t bear it any longer. He had to go back to the loft and talk to the egg.