It was the lady of the house. She sat down at the piano (for so it was) and began to practise: first some scales and arpeggios, then pieces, and finally she took one of the carol sheets from the pile on the table, put it next to a book, and played through the carols, quietly singing. At last, her practice done, she took the pile of papers from the table and left the room. The rat and the egg breathed a sigh of relief.
“I think we should wait until it gets dark before we go back, Egg,” said the rat. “The house is rather busy at the moment.”
As they waited, still hidden under the book, the two friends chatted to pass the time.
“Do you know, Egg,” said the rat, “When the fairy was talking about magic, I did not know what she meant.”
“Well,” said the egg thoughtfully, “Sometimes things happen that are, well, out of the ordinary.”
“Yes,” said the rat, hoping that he would continue.
“For example, some people,” continued the egg, “might find me extraordinary. Not everyone has met an egg like me before.”
“No indeed,” said the rat.
“But I have always thought,” said the egg, “that if one pays close attention, most things begin to seem rather unusual.”
“Oh,” said the rat.
“But I have led a very sheltered life, so I find many things in the world surprising. Magical, even.”
At this very moment, as if on cue, the book they were hiding under was suddenly pushed over and a small pudgy hand appeared and picked up the egg. Horrified, the rat ran further under the table, his paper hat falling from his head. He watched in terror as the little girl picked that up too, and took it and the egg away!
The rat crouched in the corner of the room and watched from under the tablecloth as the little girl’s feet disappeared from view. When dusk came, and the house grew quiet, he crept to his hole in the kitchen and crouched there, miserably. He had lost the egg. The foolish quest had failed. He would have to go to the Christmas tree and tell the glittery egg and the fairy and all the other decorations that the egg was gone. Gone forever. The poor sad rat lay down on his piece of sacking and wept.