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Original Science Fiction and Fantasy every weekday. Welcome to Daily Science Fiction, an online magazine of science fiction short stories. We publish "science fiction" in the broad sense of the word: This includes sci-fi, fantasy, slipstream-- whatever you'd likely find in the science fiction section of your local bookstore. Our stories are mostly short short fiction (flash fiction) each Monday through Thursday, hopefully the right length to read on a coffee break, over lunch, or as a bedtime tale.

Please read our current short story below. Browse the topics in the sidebar; everything from aliens to time travel, fairy tales to wizard tales; and read what intrigues you. Don't forget to subscribe via email to receive each story in your inbox every weekday for free.

The Moon and the Mouse

Cat Rambo has traveled far. Her accomplishments as writer and editor are many. Her appearances in Daily Science Fiction are also more than a few.
The mouse sang to the moon.
He sang, "Great Wheel of Cheese in the sky, eaten by the Mysterious and restored each month to hover again, grant me a favor. Grant me a bride."
The moon peered down at him, for while it had heard many petitions from all manner of creature, and while many people had, on occasion asked it, the moon, to marry them, no one had ever before said, "Grant me a bride."
The moon said, "How would I give you a bride?"
The mouse replied, "Give me one of the young women that pledge themselves to you, who hunt with silver arrows, and are chaste and seemly in their speech."
The moon smiled a little and said, not ungently, "I think perhaps you are misnotioned there. Those wild girls are not for you."
"Well," said the mouse, "then make me a bride out of the tender white cheese of your backside, a cheese-bride who speaks little but is round-fleshed and plump as a dumpling."
"Oh," said the moon. "That would not end well at all."
"Then I leave it to you, for you are so much wiser than I am," the mouse said, letting his gaze fall to the ground before peering up hopefully through his lashes.
The moon felt, like most people being flattered, the urge not to disappoint the mouse, and so it thought a while on the subject as it whirled about the earth, and for three days people remarked on the blankness of its face, until finally it smiled to itself.
The moon is the Queen of mirrors, for she borrows her own light from her brother the sun. And so she took a little mirror and enchanted it, and when she set it before the mouse, he saw nothing but an image of a smaller mouse, with pale white fur, who resembled him in every other aspect but her sex.
He stared, wide-eyed, whiskers trembling with deep emotion, at his bride, who returned the gaze just as intently.
"She cannot speak," the moon said, "but she will always listen to you."
So the mouse took the bride the moon had granted him and lived with her for a year and a day before he returned to the moon, dissatisfied.
The moon peered down at him again and took a while to remember him, for she sees many creatures every night, and many speak to her. "What do you want?" she said.
"My bride is not satisfactory," said the mouse.
"Not satisfactory are words for a thing," said the moon. "Is your wife a thing?"
The mouse paused, sensing danger lurking underneath the words. Every wise being knows that few things are more mercurial than the moon's mood. So he picked his words as carefully as though stealing crumbs of cheese from a trap. "I talk to my wife, but she says nothing back."
"I warned you of that in the beginning," the moon said. "You wanted a bride with bridled words, and I gave you the closest mouthed thing I could."
The mouse looked sidelong at her, tilting his head so the moonlight fell on his long eyelashes and liquid eyes. After all, it had worked before.
But the moon remained unswayed. "Few people can say that the moon has granted them anything, and you alone a bride. You should be content in your uniqueness."
Disgruntled, the mouse returned home. But he found there nothing, as the moon had known he would, for when his reflection had vanished from the home, so had his bride, though she, like him, had gone out the front door.
This is why the mice say, Don't ask the moon for anything.
This is why the moon says, Don't grant the wishes of mice, for they always come to naught.
But what the mouse's wandering bride would say, no one knows.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, September 22nd, 2014

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