Although Trick-or-Treating for Halloween is really an American tradition, many English children have adopted it now, including the children here in Chagford. My former cottage, where I lived for 18 years, was located down a pedestrian lane at the center of the village, so many Trick-or-Treaters found their way to my door. But I was never home on Halloween. Instead, a bashful mouse would greet them, with a shy little flick of her long pink tail, standing in the candle-lit doorway of that fairy-tale cottage with its roof of thatch.
Below is as picture of the mouse (photographed at a friend's house, as I have no pictures from my own). She appears here in her everyday clothes, but she always dressed up special for Halloween in a long brown velvet dress. She was known to the children as Miss Mouse, and lived in the cottage walls all the rest of the year.
These day, I live on the outskirts of the village, and only a few intrepid youngers climb the overgrown path to our door on Halloween. Now it's only Tilly, Howard, and I who greet them, for Miss Mouse has long since disappeared; she was last seen, clutching a little mouse-sized suitcase, on the day that I moved from Weaver's Cottage.
A generation of Chagford children grew up with Miss Mouse. (Some even brought her presents of cheese.) I know that they'll carry that memory...and I know that she's still missed. Wherever you are Miss Mouse, stay warm and cozy, and have a good Halloween.
Images above: "Lady Mouse" by Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) and Miss Mouse in her everyday clothes.