So, once again, the rat squeezed through the crack by the hatch into the loft, unwrapped the glittery egg, and set her next to his old friend, sparkling like a diamond against the paisley silk.
“Oh!” gasped the egg, in a very different tone from the one that had greeted the weeble.
“Oh!” cried the glittery egg, in a rather similar tone.
“My dear fellow!” said the egg, in quite his usual tone.
“Ingenious rat!” said the glittery egg, fondly.
The rat shifted awkwardly from foot to foot. Then he remembered, and carefully put the glittery egg’s hat on her head. Suddenly he felt embarrassed.
“Well,” he said, “I will leave you to get acquainted.”
And before the two eggs could say anything else, he darted away, running much faster without the cardigan.
He ran blindly for a while, not realising where he was going. A terrible thought had come to him. The egg did not need him any more. The egg had a new friend; the beautiful glittery egg. The glittery egg was cheerful and charming and kind. The rat was skinny and awkward and ate bad food and didn’t know what to say. The egg had a new friend. The egg did not need him.
He found that his terrified rush had brought him back to his old hole by the kitchen. He lay down on a piece of sacking while the thoughts ran round in his head. At last, exhausted, he fell asleep.
When he woke up, it was morning, and he did not know where he was. He looked round for the egg and remembered everything that had happened. He ached from the running, climbing, and egg carrying and his heart ached, missing the egg. He sat and thought for a while, and a shaft of cheerful sunlight passed through the hole almost at the same moment as his thoughts became wiser. He still loved the egg. Being with the egg made him happy. He could still go to the loft and see the egg and the kind egg would not mind. He would go back. He would go right now.
Gingerly, he poked his nose through the familiar hole by the loft door, and froze. The two eggs were talking.
“I am sure he will come back soon,” said the glittery egg.
“Do you think so?” said the egg anxiously.
“Oh yes!” said the glittery egg. “Such a clever and ingenious rat will come to no harm, I am sure.”
“I dare say you think me foolish,” said the egg, “But it is natural to feel concern for the welfare of our dearest friends.”
A wave of warmth swept through the rat and all his tiredness disappeared. The eggs were talking about him. They missed him. They were worried about him.
He coughed slightly, and then squeezed his thin body through the hole.
“My dear fellow!” said the egg joyfully.
“Ingenious rat!” said the glittery egg at the same time. “I have told your good friend the egg about all the clever things you have done, and he tells me how pleasant it is in the loft. I think I would like to stay for a little while, if that is agreeable.”
“Oh, very agreeable,” said the rat happily, and he skipped over to the makeshift sofa he had made for the eggs and curled his thin body comfortably around both of them, making sure that he could reach the smartphone with his tail.
“There is an interesting cloud,” remarked the egg. “I think it looks a little like a rat. What do you think, my dear fellow?”
“Oh yes indeed, Egg,” agreed the rat happily. “Quite like. Quite like indeed.”