He climbed again to the top of the house and cautiously put his nose through the crack by the hatch to the loft. It was the afternoon, and the sun was streaming through the window, making long thin shadows on the floor. There was the sad figure of the egg in his glittery waistcoat, resting against a beautiful scrap of paisley silk that the rat had found in the loft.
Nervously, the rat went up to him.
“Yes,” said the egg miserably.
“Egg, I must ask you a question.”
“Yes,” said the egg in the same miserable tone.
“I know you are unhappy. I know something is troubling you. Please, Egg, please tell me what is wrong. Perhaps I can do something to help.”
“I can’t,” said the egg, still more miserably. “I don’t want to upset you, Rat.”
“Please, Egg,” begged the rat. “Please.”
The Egg waited for a moment, and then whispered something very quietly, so quietly that the rat couldn’t hear. He leaned very close to the unhappy egg and this time he did hear.
“I’m lonely,” said the egg, “I am sorry.”
“I don’t understand, Egg.”
The rat sensed the egg summoning his courage once again, and again he leaned closer.
“I would like…” began the egg.
“I would like…”
“I would like to see another egg.”
“Oh,” said the rat, sitting up on his back feet in surprise.
“I am sorry,” said the egg.
A less generous soul might have felt offended; a less kind spirit might have felt that the egg had a friend already, but no such thoughts came to the good and generous rat. A wave of determination swept through him; he drew his thin scruffy body up to his full height, and in a voice that he had never heard himself use before, he said,
“I will find another egg, Egg. I will try everything I can. And perhaps I will succeed.”
“My dear fellow,” said the egg in surprise, and, lost for words, could only say again, “My dear fellow.” Barely had he finished his sentence than the rat was gone.