Data Loading...

Four mice deep in the jungle Flipbook PDF

Four mice deep in the jungle


118 Views
50 Downloads
FLIP PDF 30.12MB

DOWNLOAD FLIP

REPORT DMCA

Dear mouse friends, Welcome to the world of

THE RODENT’S GAZETTE EDITORIAL S TAFF

Geronimo Stilton A learned and brainy

Thea Stilton

mouse; editor of

Geronimo’s sister and special correspondent at

The Rodent’s Gazette

The Rodent’s Gazette

Trap Stilton An awful joker; Geronimo’s cousin and owner of the store Cheap Junk for Less

Benjamin Stilton A sweet and loving nine-year-old mouse; Geronimo’s favorite nephew

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher. For information regarding permission, please contact Atlantyca S.p.A., Via Leopardi 8, 20123 Milan, Italy; e-mail [email protected], www.atlantyca.com. eISBN 978-0-545-39167-2 Copyright © 2000 by Edizioni Piemme S.p.A., Corso Como 15, 20154 Milan, Italy. International Rights © Atlantyca S.p.A. English translation © 2004 by Atlantyca S.p.A. GERONIMO STILTON names, characters, and related indicia are copyright, trademark, and exclusive license of Atlantyca S.p.A. All rights reserved. The moral right of the author has been asserted. Based on an original idea by Elisabetta Dami. www.geronimostilton.com Published by Scholastic Inc., 557 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. SCHOLASTIC and associated logos are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of Scholastic Inc. Stilton is the name of a famous English cheese. It is a registered trademark of the Stilton Cheese Makers’ Association. For more information, go to www.stiltoncheese.com. Text by Geronimo Stilton Original title Quattro topi nella giungla nera Original cover by Matt Wolf, revised by Larry Keys Illustrations by Merenguita Gingermouse and Marina Bonanni Special thanks to Kathryn Cristaldi Cover design by Ursula Albano Interior layout by Kay Petronio First printing, March 2004

HOW SERIOUS IS IT, DR. SHRINKFUR? I w a s l y i n g o n t h e p s y c h i a t r i s t ’s couch

. It was made of soft, fluffy cat fur. But

I wasn’t very comfortable. I was worried. “How serious is it, Dr. Shrinkfur?” I murmured, chewing my whiskers. The doctor leaned back in his chair. “Ach, first I haff to know more,” he squeaked in his funny accent. “Vhen did zis thing start?” I sighed. I was never the bravest mouse on the block. In fact, I guess you could say I’ve always been a bit of a ’fraidy mouse. I’ve

never enjoyed spooky holidays like

Halloween. I hide in my mouse hole on the 1

Boo!

Fourth of July. Fireworks make me nervous. But lately, it seemed like everything was making me jumpy. “Well, at first I was only afraid to go to the dentist, but then I ELEVATORS

suddenly became afraid of Then came the fear of flying. That was followed by a fear of spiders,

snakes, closed spaces, and crowds. After that I became afraid of heights and the dark.” I took a deep breath. Just

talking about all of my fears was making me afraid! “Oh, yes, I almost forgot, Doctor,” I added. “I’m also afraid of cats!” Dr. Shrinkfur waved his paw. “You are a mouse, you haff to be afraid of cats!” he said. I TWIRLED MY TAIL NERVOUSLY

Then I sat

up. “Please, Dr. Shrinkfur,” I squeaked. “Give it to me straight.”

.

He shook his head solemnly. “Vell, zis could be serious,” he began. “Or it could not be. Zis is up to you!” I scratched my head. “Well, is the cure going to take long?” I asked. The doctor jotted down some notes on a pad. “Vell, it could be long,” he said. “Or it could not be long. Zis is up to you!” Now I was confused. If everything was up to me, what was I paying the most famous psychoanalyst in New Mouse City to do? “Will this treatment be expensive?” I asked.

“Ho w s e r ious is it ? ”

The doctor stood up. “Vell, it could be expensive,” he said. “Or it could not be. Zis is up to you!” This rodent was beginning to sound like a broken record. Just then, he put his paw on my shoulder. “Remember, zis is all up to you!” he repeated. “You must

FACE YOUR

fears . Othervise you vill never get vell. I vill see you next Vednesday. For now, it vill be vone hundred dollars. Thank you.” I left Dr. Shrinkfur’s office feeling much lighter. That’s because my

wallet was completely empty!

I l eft Dr. Sh Well, if the r e i c n i f k f fe eli ng muc h fur’s o most famous l i gh ter.

psychoanalyst

in NEW MOUSE CITY said it was up to me to get well, then I guess it was!

WHAT’S UP, GERONIMO? For the next few days, I couldn’t leave the house. What if it rained? What if a giant cat with two heads attacked me? Yes, I had to face the fact that I was getting worse. I was

of everything.

Then one morning the “Hello,

Stilton

afraid

phone rang. speaking, Geronimo

Stilton ,” I murmured. It was my sister, Thea. She is a special correspondent for the newspaper I run, The Rodent’s Gazette. It is Mouse Island’s most popular paper! “Geronimo!!!

you been?

Where have

” squeaked my

sister. “It’s been days since you were in the office!” I could tell she was annoyed. “Did you

forget about the two television interviews?

Press

And what about the conference at the Club ? Have you lost your calendar? Or maybe you’re just turning into a cheesebrain!”

I could hear her thumping her paw angrily on the desk. Uh-oh. When my sister gets mad, she’s like my uncle Cheesebelly when the deli runs out of mozzarella balls. There’s no calming her down. “Um, well, you see,” I mumbled, “I wasn’t feeling too well.

But

there

I’ll

be

tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow, for sure. . . .”

6

ALL IN THIRTY SECONDS FLAT! The next day, I made a decision. It was time to get off my tail. I couldn’t stay inside forever. I took a deep breath and forced myself to leave the house. I took the stairs. No, I wasn’t ready for the elevator yet. (I was too

afraid

of closed

spaces.) Then I opened the front door and

stuck my snout outside. It was so noisy! I could barely hear myself think. Car horns blared. Delivery trucks rumbled down the street. Had it always been this loud? Carefully, I set a paw on the pavement. Nothing

happened. I was so relieved.

I d id it ! I r e a l l y d id Why was I so afraid to go out? It’s no big 7

it !

deal. At last, things were starting to look up. I walked to the newsstand to buy a paper. 1.I 2.

had hardly opened it when . . . A f l o w e r p o t f e l l f ro m a w i n d o w l e d g e,

hitting me on the head. 3.

Stumbling, I crashed right

into a lamppost. 1.

4.

Then I tripped on a mouse

hole cover. 5.

I fell and bashed my snout

on the hard pavement.

2.

4.

3.

5.

6. A s

I w a s g e t t i n g u p, a t a x i r a n o v e r m y t a i l .

7. T h e n

a p i g e o n d e c i d e d t o p o o p o n m y n o s e.

And it all happened in thirty seconds flat!



H“”e e e e e e e e e e l p ! ” I

shrieked in a

panic. I immediately scampered back home. “See, I was right all along!” I squeaked out loud. “Going out is

dangerous

business! From now on, I’m staying put!” I locked the door. It took a little while. I had added five extra dead bolts. You can never be too safe.

6.

7.

NO SHOTS, PLEASE! Thea called again the next day. She was at the office, even though it was a Sunday. “Geronimo! How are you?” she asked. “Well, um, I’ve got a cold,” I murmured. I

sneeze

pretended to . There was silence on the other end. Could my sister tell I was faking? “Well, don’t worry,” she finally squeaked. “We’ll just run you right over to Dr. Goodpaws. He’ll give you something to get rid of your cold. Maybe a couple of shots will do the trick!” My eyes nearly popped out of my fur. “Nooooooooo!” I shrieked in terror. “No shots, please! I’m already feeling much better. I just need to relax at home for a few more days. You know, unwind.” 10

My sister put me on squeakerphone.

More silence from the other end. Uh-oh. My sister wasn’t buying it. “So I heard you went to see Dr. Shrinkfur,” she murmured at last. “Do you have a problem, Geronimo?” I heard another voice in the background. “Geronimo has a problem? Maybe he should get his snout out of those books. That mouse is too brainy for his own good!” I groaned. It was my annoying cousin Trap. He runs a thrift store called

Cheap

Junk for Less. He tells the worst jokes. And he loves to play tricks on me. Then I heard another, smaller voice. “What’s

the matter with Uncle Geronimo? Can I say

SQUEAKED

hello to him?” it . I smiled. It was my favorite nephew, Benjamin. The next thing I knew, my sister had put me on squeakerphone. “Go ahead, tell us 12

everything, Geronimo!” she demanded. I chewed my whiskers.“Well, I went to see Dr. Shrinkfur because I sort of have a little problem . . .” I began. When I was done talking, Trap was the first to pipe up. “So what did Dr. Shrinky Dink tell you to do?” he asked. I told him about the doctor’s advice. If I wanted to get rid of my fears, I had to face them . . . only, I was too afraid to start!

f t e d t o g et r i d o n a e m. w h t to f e d ac I a h If fe ar s , I my

A PACKAGE FOR MR. STILTON! Half an hour later, the doorbell rang.

! Ring! g I decided not to answer it. Rin ing! But the doorbell kept ringing. R It was ten times worse than the ding of the toaster oven, which I was now afraid of. I wanted to stick my head

UNDERWATER to

drown

out

the

horrible noise. Finally, I went to the

door. “A package for Mr. Stilton!” a small voice squeaked. I didn’t move. 14

Then I heard a loud sniff. “Hmm . . . this smells like a box of Cheesy Chews to me,” the voice continued. “What a lucky mouse!”

t ly, my n a t mou Ins th

. r began t o wate

I scratched my head. I couldn’t just leave

A BOX

of Cheesy Chews on my front

step. They would melt for sure. All of that delicious chocolate and cheese gone to

waste.

It

was

unthinkable.

It

was

unimaginable. It was unmousy. I waited for a couple of minutes. Then I carefully unlocked the door. I stuck my snout outside. . . .

15

CHEESY CHEWS Before I could even squeak, six paws grabbed me. They lifted me up and threw me into a car. “Heeelp!”

I

shrieked.

“I’m

being

mousenapped!” Someone started the car. We shot off with

A SQUEAL OF TIRES. I felt like I was in a movie. You know, one speed

of

those

high-

cat-and-mouse

adventure movies. Only this wasn’t a

movie.

This was real! I wheel

blinked. sat

my

At

the

sister,

Thea, with my cousin

Trap at her side. My

young

nephew

Benjamin kept me company in the back.

“BUT I'M AFRAID TO GO OUT!" I shrieked in terror. Trap squeaked, “OH, DON'T BE SUCH A

BABY!” He shoved a Cheesy Chew into my mouth. I wanted to tell him I wasn’t a baby. I just had a problem with leaving my house. And with driving in fast cars. And with putting my paws under those paw dryers in public bathrooms. They can be so hot. A mouse could burn his or her fur right off. But I couldn’t say a word. My mouth was full.

Oh, how I love my Chees y Chews! Trap was happily squeaking away. “Tell me, Cousinkins,” he babbled. “Do you like the dark chocolates with the blue-cheese filling best? 17

Or the cheddar-and-caramel creams?” Without waiting for a reply, he shoved another Cheesy Chew into my mouth. It was so good! My mood was beginning to lift! Benjamin

sat

next to me, happily nibbling away. “Look, Uncle Geronimo!” he squeaked. DIP

“Here’s

a

CARAMEL

. My favorite!”

He offered a mozzarella-andmarshmallow roll to Thea. “Try this one, Auntie,”

he said. “It’s yummy!” 18

SWISS

I must say, the

Cheesy Chews

were

delicious. We polished them off in a jiffy. I was so busy

munching chocolates

that I lost track of time. Suddenly, the car stopped.

19

We were at the airport.

MAKE WAY! MAKE WAAAAAY! I got out. That’s when it hit me. We were at the airport. I hate airports. And not just because I hate to fly. Airports are so crowded and busy. All of those rodents rushing around. It’s enough to give me a mouse-sized headache! “

W h y

h a v e

y o u

t g h u o b r

m e

h e r e ?

I asked in a panic. My cousin Trap winked at me and laughed. “Oh, we’re just getting started, Gerrykins,” he said mysteriously. “What do you mean?” I asked. I was beginning to get worried . But before I could say another word, Trap shoved me onto a luggage cart. 21





Le t

a me g d s t h e f un an be gi i i i ” he squeaked. in! Then he pushed me at breakneck speed through the airport. “Make way! Make waaaaay!” he screamed with glee. “Don’t you just love speeding?”

“Nooooooo!” I wailed in horror. But my cousin was on a roll. And I’m not talking about the rolling luggage cart. Trap was running so fast his paws barely touched the ground. Suddenly, he stopped in front of the VIR (VERY IMPORTANT RODENT)waiting lounge.

A pretty female mouse with blonde fur was just coming out. She was wearing a very TRENDY SAFARI OUTFIT with a

synthetic cat-fur vest

pair of laced-up LEATHER

and

BOOTS .

A NECKLACE MADE OF SHARK'S TEETH

completed the look.

Shark’s teeth necklace Cat-fur vest

Leather boots

24

a

SHARK’S TEETH Trap stopped in front of the stranger. I smoothed my fur. The pretty mouse seemed to be staring right at me. “Oh, my!” she exclaimed. “Aren’t you

Geronimo

Stilton , the famous writer?” I blushed to the end of my whiskers. The mouse twirled her shark’s teeth necklace. Then she leaned toward me. “Could I have your autograph?” she asked. “I’ve read all of your books. They’re so exciting! I think my favorite one is

Curse of the Cheese Pyramid

The . It made

me want to travel to Egypt. I also enjoyed

Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House . It was gripping! Only a very special mouse could write so well!” 25

I was flattered. It was so nice to meet a fan. Especially such a pretty one. I was about to say something clever when Trap took off again. We barreled toward the elevator with a squeal of tires.

W E B a

r

r e l

e d

To

w

W it h

a

ar d t

he

e

v l e

a t o r

t f s q ue a l o

ir e

s

I’M AFRAID OF ELEVATORS! Minutes later, my cousin dumped me off the luggage cart. I landed

Oo ps

in a heap on the floor.

!

“Oops-a-daisy!” Trap chuckled. I picked myself up. Then I straightened my glasses. My cousin hit a button on the wall next to us. That’s when I realized we had made it to the elevator. “No!” I shrieked at the top of my lungs. “I

CAN'T GET ON THAT! I'M

AFRAID OF ELEVATORS!” But Trap just twirled his tail. “Don’t worry,

Gerrykins,”

he

cried.

“There’s

nothing to it. Just don’t think about it!” 27

The elevator doors opened. I tried to run away, but Trap stuck out his paw. I tripped.

I had rolled right into the elevator! Before I could stop myself,

Trap hopped in behind me. “See, nothing to it!” he said. The doors slid shut. I gulped, then closed my eyes. I would never make it!

a lr e a d y h a v in g p r s a o b le m Iw s b re a th in g . My ta il w a s tr e m b l in g . ke rs is w h e r e d ri p My w p in g w it h s w e a t . It doesn’t get any worse than this, I thought. But then it did. Trap stamped on my paw. I shrieked. The pain was horrible. At last, the doors opened. “No need to thank me,” squeaked my cousin happily. “I told you, just don’t think about it!” 28

Ou c

h!

Trap stamped on my paw.

I’M AFRAID OF FLYING! By now, I’d had ENOUGH. “Take me back home!” I insisted. “I got on that elevator, but I am not getting on a plane!

I'M AFRAID OF FLYING! As usual, my cousin seemed to ignore me. Instead, he raised his eyebrows. “Look over there!” he whispered in my ear. It was the pretty mouse we had met earlier. She was standing at the check-in desk. I couldn’t help smiling. She really was attractive. And she was a fan of my books. What a great combination! I should have found out her name. Maybe we could be pen pals. Maybe we could share a grilled cheese sandwich at the Squeak & Chew sometime. 30

I stared dreamily into space. I didn’t notice my cousin scamper over to the

Mousair

check-in

counter.

returned, waving three tickets in the air. “Here we are!” he squeaked, waking me out of my daydream. “Thea, Benjamin, and I have seats at the back of the plane. Geronimo, you are in seat 11B.” I shook my head. “B-b-but I can’t sit alone,” I stammered. “I just told you, I’m afraid of flying!”

He

Then

I heard a soft voice behind me.

It was

the pretty stranger. “Did you say you are sitting in 11B?” she murmured. I nodded. “How exciting!” she exclaimed. “I am in 11A. That means we’ll sit together!” I grinned. What a sweet mouse. It

a

would be nice to spend more time with . Maybe I could get on the plane after

fan all.

Beside me, Trap winked. For some reason, he looked very pleased with himself.

P

ss

s t!

What was this all about? But there was no time to think. We were about to board. “By the way, where are

we

going?”

whispered to Trap as we stood in line. 32

I

“Um, yes, well, it’s a beautiful place,” he mumbled. “Lots of fresh air and sunshine. You’re going to love it.” For

the

first

time

since

I’d

been

mousenapped, I began to relax. Maybe a little vacation would do me some good. I could sleep until noon. Take a dip in the pool. Watch the sun set over the ocean. “That’s right,” Trap continued. “We’re headed for on the

RATTYTRAP JUNGLE

RIO MOSQUITO .”

My eyes popped open. Rattytrap Jungle? Rio Mosquito? What an odd place for a resort. Oh, well, I sighed. Maybe the mosquitoes were friendlier in the tropics.

YOU’RE A REAL GENIUS! A few minutes later, we boarded the plane. I quickly found my seat next to the pretty stranger. “I’m so honored to be sitting next to you,” gushed my fan. “

YOU ARE A

REAL GENIUS .

Your books have

changed my life!” I was so flattered I didn’t even realize we had taken off. For the next few hours, I chatted with my new friend. I was having so much fun I forgot all about my fear of flying! Unfortunately, my obnoxious cousin Trap took that moment to remind me. He began shouting at me through a megaphone. 34

it! u t a b o k n i h t ’t ” n o d t

s “heJusqueaked at the top of his lungs. The other passengers nearly jumped out of their seats. They shot him murderous looks. But Trap didn’t care. He was having too much

fun. “Just don’t think about it!” he repeated over and over. For once, I decided to take my cousin’s advice. I stopped thinking about flying. Instead, I thought about wringing his neck!

JUST SIGN HERE! Soon we were landing. My pretty new friend was still chattering away. “Oh, silly me,” she laughed. “I almost forgot to introduce myself. My name is PENELOPE POISONFUR. But you can call me P.P. for short.” She winked. I grinned. Maybe this would be a good time to mention my pen pal idea. After all, I didn’t want to lose touch with P.P. She was one special mouse. But before I had a chance to ask, P.P. began whispering in my ear. “Do you know why I’m going to the Rio Mosquito?” she asked. Then she told RIO MOSQUITO

me. It seemed Penelope

had signed up to take some kind of special 36

course. The course was only open to a few CHOICE RODENTS.

Suddenly,

she

grabbed both of my paws. “I just had the greatest idea!” she squeaked. “Why don’t you come with me?” She pulled out a piece of paper from her bag. “All you have to do is sign this form!” she added. I didn’t know what to say. I had never met such a bold mouse before. Bold ... and charming. “Well, I’m sort of traveling with my family,” I began. I glanced at the back of the plane. My

cousin was busy

launching

spitballs into the air. I pictured the vacation. Trap would probably be playing pranks on me the whole time. I’d end up with a knot in my tail and itching powder in my bed. I turned back to my

new friend.

“What kind of course is it?” I asked. 37

P.P. paw

threw

her

around

my

shoulder. “TRUST me,” she murmured. .

“IT'S JUST WHAT

. . o o h hm m m. . .

YOU NEED. YOU’LL FEEL LIKE A NEW

mouse!” Now myself

I in

pictured a

green tropical paradise. Maybe we would do yoga by the pool. Or some deep-breathing exercises by the soothing ocean. “Are you sure it’s going to be relaxing?” I asked. “I guarantee it’s going to be the best thing for

you,”

P.P.

insisted.

flirtatiously.

38

She

smiled

lush

I

e t e ly c h c om pl arm s wa

ed

.

S o I s ig n e d . In a flash, she snatched up the form. For some reason, she had the strangest look on her face. No, it wasn’t a smile this time. It was more like a sneer.

t he f t u e n “L and she squeaked.

beg s e in m a !” g

How very strange, I thought. Where had I heard those

same

words before?

t Ho w v e r y s 39

! e g n ra

IT’S SIGNED AND SEALED, STILTON! I left the plane. I had to find Thea. I wanted to introduce her to my new friend. I knew she would be thrilled to meet one of my fans. My sister calls me a bookworm, but I know she is proud of my success. “Thea!” I squeaked happily when I found her. “This is PENELOPE POISONFUR. She is a fan who has read all of my books!” My sister ignored me and turned to Penelope. “Well,

did he sign?

” she asked.

P.P. still had that same strange sneer on her face. “

He signed it, all right!

laughed. “It was as easy as taking cheese niblets from a baby!” My mouth dropped open. What was she

” she

talking about? And why did she sound so mean? Trap, Thea, and Benjamin were nodding their heads. “

He signed it ,” they whispered

to one another. Uh-oh. Something very odd was going on. What were they talking about? And why were they all staring at me? I didn’t like it one bit. “Who is he?” I asked, worried. “What did he sign?” Instead

of

a n sw e r i n g ,

Thea, Trap, and Benjamin

turned toward Penelope. She pointed her paw at me. “YOU have signed it, Stilton!” she shouted at the top of her lungs.

ED N G I S E V A H U O Y “

S T I LT O N! , T ” I

IT’S TOO LATE, STILTON! I gulped. What was going on? “But, P.P.,” I protested. “I don’t understand. What did I sign?”

Penelope held up her paw in front of my face. “First of all,” she yelled, “forget the P.P.

From now on, I’m Ms. Poisonfur to you!” My mouth dropped open in shock. She’d seemed like such a sweet mouse on the plane. “Don’t look so surprised, Stilton!” Ms. Poisonfur b a r k e d . “Just do as you’re told and don’t make a squeak. Now get on that jeep!” She pointed to a

YELLOW TRUCK

parked by the plane. I blinked. This was getting ridiculous. Who was this mouse? And why was she

screaming at me? Before I could ask, she shoved a piece of paper in my face. It was the form that I had signed on the plane. “It’s too late, Stilton, you’ve already signed!” Penelope squeaked. I was beginning to get a terrible feeling in my stomach. I glanced at the form. It read: TO THE LAST WHISKER SURVIVAL SCHOOL “I’ve signed up for some kind of boot camp!” I screeched. “But I’m not the bootcamp type. I’m afraid of bugs and dirt and things that go squeak in the

t a

night. Plus, I look awful in

l o o t

khaki. It’s just not my color!” Oh, what had I gotten myself into this time? I

s’

t i l t on !” s e,

tI “

decided I had only one 43

TO THE LAS T

WHISKER

SURVIVAL SCHOOL

Tarantu l a Tr a i l 115 Rat t y t rap Jungle — R io Mosqui t

o

I, the undersi gned, agree to take part in survival cours the e offered by T o th e Last Whisk The course w er. ill last for seve n d ay s. It will take place in Ratty trap Jungle o n the Rio Mo squito. By signing th is form, I ag ree to obey w question all of ithout Ms. Penelope Poisonfur’s ord ers. Should I refuse to take part in the course or one million do to obey Ms. Po llars. isonfur, I promi se to

pay a fine of

Signed: G e ro n i m

n o Stilto

choice. I’d have to make a run for it. But just as I turned to leave, Penelope grabbed me by the tail. “Get in the jeep, Stilton!” she ordered. Then she handed me a magnifying glass. “You haven’t read the small print,” she smirked. I read the last line on the form out loud. “Should I refuse to take part in the course or to obey Ms. Poisonfur, I promise to pay a fine of ONE M-M-M-M-MILLION dollars,” I stammered. This was outrageous! “But I don’t have one million dollars!” I cried. My paws were shaking. Penelope shot me an evil look. “Exactly!” she sneered. “NOW GET IN THAT JEEP!”

Hh m

m m .. .

“I’LL FIX YOU ALL RIGHT, STILTON!”

I stumbled forward. I must be having a bad dream, I thought. I closed my eyes. But when I opened them, Ms. Poisonfur was glaring at me. My family watched as I climbed into the jeep. “Benjamin,” I squeaked. “How could you trick me like this?”

My favorite nephew had tears in his eyes. “Uncle, it’s for your own good! I promise!” Thea nodded her head. “That’s right,” she chimed in. “You’ll thank us.” Trap winked at me. “The week will just fly by, you’ll see!” he added. “Don’t worry!” Ms. Poisonfur squeaked. Then she punched me hard in the shoulder. I winced. This was one tough mouse. “I’ll fix you!” she sneered. “



o t I ’ l l fi x y o u l al l r igh t , st i 47

n!

I’M AFRAID OF BUGS! The jeep made its way along a paved road. Soon the road turned into a beaten track. Then it became a MUDDY path. It was so hot I felt like a walking sprinkler. I was dripping sweat! Clouds of mosquitoes swarmed around me. They were having a party in my fur. I figured my tail was their dinner. They were making a meal out of it. What if they gave me some rare disease?

I'M AFRAID OF DISEASES! We reached the camp in the middle of the night. It looked like an army barracks. It stood in the middle of a clearing surrounded by very tall trees. 48

I was so tired. I fell onto a smelly bunk bed. I tried not to think about the fleas that were probably crawling in it. Ugh!

I'M AFRAID OF BUGS! Exhausted, I fell asleep fully dressed. That night, I kept hearing Trap’s voice in my dreams. “Just don’t think about it!” he chanted over and over.

DAY 1: MONDAY At dawn, Penelope gave me a wake-up call. She poured a bucketful of icy water on

E UP ! ” she shrieked.

my head! “LIN

I looked outside. That’s when I discovered there were four other mice taking this crazy jungle course. I was about to slip into the green jumpsuit I’d found in my closet. But, even though I was in the hot jungle, I’d put on a clean undershirt first. I love my undershirts. I wear one all the time, even in the summer. That’s because I'M AFRAID OF DRAFTS. Unfortunately, Penelope was watching me. Before I could put one paw through my undershirt,

she

snatched

it

squeaked at the top of her lungs,

50

away

and

E C I M L A E R R O E ICFLE OF CLOTHING M A G A FIND THE ART SE L MOU A REA

1

AR. OT W E N D L WO U

3

2

6

5 4

R: ANSWE

IRT (2). DERSH THE UN EAR IS NOT W WOULD MOUSE A REAL THING OF CLO TICLE THE AR

’ t We a r n o d e c i M l t ea R “ il

t S und er s h ir t s ,

o

n

” !

I cringed, then put on the jumpsuit. Penelope threw an enormous backpack at me. It weighed a ton. I’d be lucky if I could take one pawstep. Meanwhile,

Penelope

lifted

her

own

backpack without batting an eyelash. Then I followed her outside.

MA

H!”

“FORWARD RC she yelled. We left ca mp and began our long trek. I introduced myself to the other mice.

o S t ton m r il G e oni

52

“Good morning, everyone,” I said. “My name is Stilton, Geronimo

Stilton.”

A big, tough, muscled mouse nodded at me. He wore his fur in a crew cut. “I’m Burt Burlyrat. But you can call me B.B.,” he announced. “I’m a forest ranger.” Next to B.B. stood a short, round rodent. He clasped my paw. “How do you do, my name is Tubby Tumblemouse,” he said. Then

he

whispered,

“My friends call me Furball.” I smiled. Tubby

seemed like a nice mouse. I wondered why he had signed up for this course.

Burt Burlyrat, RAT aka B.B. 53

Tubby

told

salesmouse.

me

he

was

a

cheese

He had put on a few extra

pounds eating too many samples. “I thought this was an easy weight-loss course. Ms. Poisonfur told me it would be like a mini vacation,” he explained. Sweat dripped down his fur. “She didn’t tell me we’d be forced to run twenty miles a day!” “W-w-what?” I stammered, sinking

under the heavy

backpack. “Twenty miles a

never

day? I’m going to make it! I’ve got low blood pressure! I’ve got low iron! I’ve got low selfesteem!” This was going to be worse than I’d thought.

TUBBY TUMBLEMOUSE,

“Oh,

how

did

I

get

myself into this mess?!”

AKA FURBALL 54

I sobbed, burying my snout in my paws. Tubby put his paw around my shoulder. “Don’t panic, Geronimo,” he whispered. “I’ve brought an emergency supply

cheese sandwiches.

of They’re hidden in my backpack.” Just then, a teenaged mouse

with

pigtails

scampered over. “Hi, there!” she chirped.

Suzie Squeakers

“I’m Suzie Squeakers.” Next came an elderly female rodent. She was

s m a l l a n d s k i n ny

, with wiry fur.

She wore a pair of thick glasses and a

purple baseball cap.

She introduced herself as Sandy Silverfur. Sandy was old, but you wouldn’t find her in any old mouse home. Not yet, anyway. Sandy 55

loved to

live dangerously. In fact, you could say she was a bit of a daredevil. She once went scuba diving off the shores of Tomcat Island! Unlike Sandy and B.B., hiking through the jungle was not my idea of a good

Sandy Silverfur

time. Within minutes, my paws were covered with blisters.

Suddenly, a

terrible screeching

filled the air. It was Penelope, singing. “I AM A WILD RODENT, I HAVE A WILD HEART! NOTHING EVER SCARES ME, BECAUSE I’M TOUGH AND SMART! THIS COURSE IS REALLY SUPER, YOU LEARN TO BE A TROUPER!

YOU LEARN TO MARCH AND SWEAT AND SING YOU LEARN TO DO MOST ANYTHING!”

I grumbled. That was the most ridiculous song I had ever heard. Who likes to march? But soon the rest of the group was singing along. Well, you wouldn’t catch me joining in. I wasn’t into singing. I was having enough trouble just breathing! Then, someone waved the contract under my snout. It was Penelope. “You signed it, Stilton. Now sing!” she demanded. “Sing or you’ll be sorry!” Her beady little eyes drilled right through me. I shivered. Then I sang at the top of my lungs. I was so busy singing I s

hardly noticed we had entered

the

forest.

Trees as tall as

s S n

57

a

p

n

a

p

a n

! p

skyscrapers surrounded us. The foliage was

so

thick

we couldn’t see any

sunlight. The trees were home to all kinds of animals. They called to one another as we

passed by. Monkeys, parrots, cheetahs, and snakes watched our every move. We were like rodent celebrities at an awards show. Only no one was snapping our picture.

Instead, they were snapping their teeth! This tropical jungle was a very scary place. One wrong pawstep and we’d all be history!

WE MARCHED And then? WE MARCHED some more. We didn’t even stop for a meal. Instead, Penelope handed out sandwiches as we hiked. Unfortunately, they were not cheese sandwiches. They were made of mashed fleas. I had never seen anything so gross in my life. Some of the fleas were still kicking their tiny legs. I was so disgusted. But I was so hungry. I ate every bite. We were allowed to stop only to go to the bathroom. Penelope timed us. Fifteen seconds

for each mouse. For any other emergency, we had to hand in a written request.

I quickly jotted down a note. “Dear Ms.

60

of ds n i k All

... als m i an

p! Sna

...wat ched our e very move . Snap !

p! Sna

Sn ap!

Sna p!

! Snap

! Snap

Sna p!

Sna p!

! Snap

Sn ap!

Sn

p! Sna

Sna p!

ap!

e... y plac r a c s y A ver

Sn ap!

! Snap

! istory h e b d all ...we’

Snap !

Poisonfur,” it read. “Would it be possible to take a short break?” Penelope read the note out loud, then laughed. “You city rodents are spineless,” she smirked. “You’re as soft as a bowl of cheese with extra cream, Stilton!” She twirled her tail, deep in thought. “This may be harder than I thought,” she murmured. “But don’t worry. I’ll fix you. When you’re done with this course, you’ll be stronger than a maximum-strength glue trap. And best of all, you’ll be smarter than the sharpest street mouse in all of New Mouse City!” We marched for the rest of the day. When it turned dark, the jungle became even more

terrifying.

Spooky shadows were

everywhere. Strange eyes glowed in the

n S t ra g e

the tre e n i ey s. d es g lo w e

trees. Night birds sang to one another. And I'm not talking happy jingles. These songs sounded more like creepy Halloween music. Worst of all, it was dark. Very dark. Did I mention . . .

I'M A AFRAID OF THE DARK But I was forced to forget about it. I had to put one paw in front of the other. I had no choice. Finally, at midnight, we stopped. We were so tired. We sat down AROUND A FIRE "Come and get it!" shouted Penelope, banging on a pot with a spoon. I was starving. I grabbed my bowl and began to slurp up the reddish liquid.

Seconds

later,

started to gag. "Bleah!!!! What's this?" I cried.

I

Penelope sneered. “That’s redant soup, Stilton!” she squeaked. “

EAT IT OR YOU’LL BE SORRY!



The rest of us looked at one another. We looked at the soup. Then we looked at Penelope. She glared at us, her paws planted firmly on her hips. The soup looked scary. But Penelope looked like a rabid cat about to go on a hunting spree. Like robots, we picked up our spoons and ate. I was so tired I could hardly chew. Later, I

FELL ASLEEP with my snout

in my bowl. Oh, well. At least no one was bothered by my snoring.

64

I fell asleep with my snout in my bowl.

DAY 2: TUESDAY The next morning, Penelope woke me up

E

with another bucketful of icy water. “LIN

UP! ” she yelled. Hadn’t she ever heard of an alarm clock? After a breakfast of grilled beetles, we continued

our

marching.

We

marched

nonstop until noon. I was hoping Penelope had decided to give us a break. But instead, S p la s

h!

she gave us a crash course in first aid. I must admit, she taught us some pretty neat things.

We even learned mouse-to-mouse resuscitation. 66

I guess we were all doing okay until lunch. That’s when Tubby lost it. After

eating

decided TO

his

snailburger,

he

DIG INTO his secret

supply of cheese sandwiches. But before he could take a single bite, Penelope caught him. She threw all of the sandwiches into the river. Poor Tubby was beside himself. “ I WANT

TO GO HOME!” he sobbed. But Penelope just waved the contract under his snout. “Too late, Tubster!” she shrieked. “You signed it!” In a sudden fit, Tubby snatched the paper from her paw. Then he shoved it in his mouth and chewed it up. He looked so pleased with himself. But Tubby’s excitement didn’t last long. In a flash, Penelope had pulled out another 67

Crunch crunch cru nch!

Ha- ha- h aaa ! contract from her backpack. “That was just a copy, Tubby Tails,” she chuckled. “I have the original in my office!” Tubby’s whiskers drooped. He hung his head.

His tail dragged on the ground. I had never seen a mouse look so beaten. “Here, have my snailburger!” I insisted. “I’ll skip lunch.” Tubby thanked me with tears in his eyes. “Geronimo, you are a true friend. I will never forget you,” he cried. After lunch, it was back to marching. At last, we reached the Rio Mosquito. 68

A rope hung over the water, stretched between

two

trees.

The

river

roared

downstream, picking up anything in its path. I saw twigs. I saw tree trunks. I saw a houseboat filled with monkeys. Everything was swept away in the raging current. “I’m scared!” I squeaked. I'M AFRAID OF DROWNING! Penelope rolled her eyes. “Get moving or you’ll be sorry!” she demanded. We did as we were told. What choice did we have? I grabbed the rope and began to cross the river. One

paw at a time,

I

told myself. Slowly we made our way to the other side. I was doing it! But suddenly, disaster struck. Someone was crying. “I’m so hungry! I’m going to faint!” Tubby wailed. Seconds later, the rope slipped from his paws. He hit the 69

water with a loud splash. What could I do? I dove in after him. Tubby’s snout was already underwater. I quickly grabbed hold of his tail. Groaning, I dragged him onto the bank. Then I gave him mouse-to-mouse resuscitation. It worked! “Thank

you!

You

squeaked a grateful Tubby.

saved

my

life!”

I grinned. I felt like Supermouse when he does a good deed. Too bad I wasn’t really Supermouse. If I were, I could have flown

Still, I was proud of myself for facing another fear. right home!

I guess Penelope was proud of me, too. “You’re learning, Stilton!” she sniggered. “You’re learning!”

DAY 3: WEDNESDAY “Today is a day of rest!” shouted Penelope the next morning. As usual, she had woken us up with a bucketful of icy water. “Today we will build a tree house,” Penelope continued. “Stilton, you’ll be the first one to climb that tree over there!” She pointed to a tree. It wasn’t just any old tree. It was the tallest tree I had ever seen in my life! Up, up, up it went.

I got dizzy just looking at it. “I c-can’t climb that t-t-tree!” I stammered.

"I'M AFRAID OF HEIGHTS!” Just

then,

a

small

paw

tapped

my

shoulder. It was Suzie Squeakers. “Don’t worry,” she whispered. “I’m a friend of

Pinky Pick. She sent me along 72

to

help

handed

you.” me

a

Suzie pink

envelope. It was a letter from Pinky. Have I told you about Pinky

Pick?

She’s

a

young assistant at my office. I’m sure you can guess Pinky’s favorite color. It’s pink, of course!

Pinky has pink sneakers and rides a pink bicycle to work. She will only write on pink paper and loves squeaking on her pink cell phone. I guess

Pinky Pick Boss Assistant to the

SS, DEAR BO

s. Suzie Squeaker You can trust friend. She’s my best got bil Scout. She Suzie is a Ger ar. badge last ye s es n er d il w her the whole night in She spent one hole! e her mouse woods outsid Good luck! Pinky Pick e it back alive, P.S. If you mak mputer? have a pink co

can I

Gazette The Rodent’s e Center 17 Swiss Chees nd 13131 ity, Mouse Isla New Mouse C

stilton.com o im n o r e .g w ww

you could say Pinky is sort of hung up on the color pink. One

winter,

she

lost

her

favorite pink mittens. She had

to

wear

blue

ones

instead. Poor Pinky cried for weeks!

Pinky Pick

Now I bent over Pinky’s letter.

Suzie winked at me. When Penelope wasn’t looking, she began to follow me up the tree. Immediately, I felt faint. “Don’t look down!” Suzie advised. It was good advice. If I didn’t look down, I couldn’t tell how high up we had climbed. I breathed a sigh of relief. This was no big deal. We were only a few feet off the ground. I probably could have jumped down if I’d 75

wanted to. I pretended I was climbing up the steps to my mouse hole. Oh, it would be so nice to be home! Home with my cheesefilled fridge. Home with my treasured books. I glanced down at my paws. Big mistake. No, I wasn’t at home. Far from it. I was up so high even Penelope Poisonfur looked har mless. My I w as g oing to

h e a d b e g an t o

f a l l ! Newspaper headlines

flashed before my eyes. Geronimo Stilton Killed in a Terrible Fall! Jungle Terrorizes Publisher! Stilton’s Last Squeak! Just then, someone grabbed my tail. It was Suzie. “It’s okay!” she shrieked. “I got you!” I was so happy I could have jumped for 76

joy. Luckily, I remembered where I was just in

time. I was happy, but I wasn’t a cheesehead. I wasn’t about to let go of that tree! At last, we came to a very long branch with thick leaves. “This is the perfect spot to build our shelter,” announced Suzie. Together we built a ladder out of some tree limbs. Before long, our tree house was

I was so proud of myself and my new friends.And looking great.

best of all, I realized being up so high wasn’t that scary after all. “Not bad for a bunch of city mice,” Penelope admitted when we were finished. “Not bad at all . . . ” That night I dreamed that Pinky Pick was winking at me. “What do you say, BOSS?” she squeaked. “Can I have that pink computer now? Can I, Boss?” 77

DAY 4: THURSDAY The next morning, I woke up to a pair of singing birds. The sun warmed my fur. I stretched. For the first time since I’d arrived in the jungle, I felt great. But what was different about today? I just couldn’t put my paw on it. Then it hit me—a

icy water

bucketful of

right in my snout!

Penelope Poisonfur snickered, then she barked

out

orders.

“LINE

UP!

she

squeaked. “Today you will learn to use a compass. Each of you must find your way to our next

CAMPSITE

before nightfall. And you

must do it on your own!” I shuddered. “BUT I'M AFRAID TO BE LEFT ON MY OWN IN THE FOREST!"

I cried. Too late. Everyone had already left. 78

I was alone in the forest. This was worse than the time I got separated from my uncle Nibbles at the Marvelous Mouse Tail Circus. At least that time, the rat clowns kept me laughing. Now there wasn’t a

SHRIEKED at Snakes HISSED from

rodent in sight. Monkeys me from the trees. behind

rocks.

Even

the

singing

birds

sounded SCARY. I jumped at every noise. I was like a furry rubber band ready to snap. I decided I’d better study the map. This will be as easy as cheesepie, I told myself. All I had to do was figure out how

Um

to get to the camp. “ , let’s see,” I mumbled. “I am

maybe I’m here.

here, or And then

I’m

headed there — or maybe there?” I checked 79

the compass. North, South, East, West. It wasn’t as easy as I’d thought. I tried giving myself a pep talk. “You can figure it out, Stilton,” I insisted. “Just use your brain!” But my brain must have been taking a cheese break. Half an hour later, I burst into tears. “Rotten rat’s teeth!” I squeaked.

"I'm lost”

I roamed the jungle for hours. Every now and then, I would stop to have a good cry. Oh, how could my family do this to me? They said they wanted to help me, but maybe they just wanted to get rid of me! Yes, that had to be it! If I were gone, my sister would probably sell The Rodent’s Gazette. She’d buy a beauty salon and get her fur done every day for free. My cousin would move into my large, comfy mouse hole. He was such a slob. He’d make a mess of my

pretty cat-fur rug. Just thinking about it made me angry. “I’m going to make it back if it kills me!” I cried, stamping my paw. Suddenly, I heard a rustling sound in the leaves. I gulped. Maybe I shouldn’t have used the word kill. I didn’t want to give some wild animal any ideas! Grabbing a big stick for protection, I hid behind a tree. Just then, I saw a bush move. “Take that, you wild animal!” I shrieked, striking with all my might. ” a voice cried out. A “ u

Geronimo Stilton

uc

o o o “O

” ! h t ra rly Bu rt Bu

O o oo c h ! ! g gg g n a B

rodent crawled out from behind the bush. No, it wasn’t a wild animal at all. It was Burt Burlyrat. “Oh, I’m so sorry, B.B.!” I apologized. “I thought you were about to attack me!” Burt rubbed his head. He looked annoyed.

By now, he had sprouted a huge bump on his forehead. I felt bad about the bump. But I didn’t feel bad about running into B.B. With his help, I could definitely get to the NEW CAMP.

After all, B.B. had said he was a

forest ranger. A forest ranger should be able

he c T “ o m ! g !! n p ! o a ” r s w s r e v e n si

to read a map and a compass, right? “Let’s get going!” he ordered, sounding like an army general. I hopped to my paws. B.B. checked the compass. “This way!” he shouted, storming off. “The compass is never wrong!” I scurried behind him. B.B. wasn’t exactly the friendliest mouse around. I mean, I wouldn’t invite him over for one of my aunt Honeywhisker’s yummy cheddar casseroles. But I didn’t care. I just wanted to get out of this creepy jungle. After a while, I started to

worry again.

We had been hiking for five hours, but we didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. “Um, B.B., shouldn’t we be there by now?” I asked, wiping sweat from my fur. He shot me a look. “I told you, Stilton, this is the right direction!” he shrieked. 84

“The compass is never wrong!” After

two more hours,

my paws were killing me. B.B. kept insisting we were going the right way, but I had a terrible feeling. Something wasn’t right. Finally, the sun began to set. I started to panic. “Um, are you sure you know where we’re going?” I asked B.B. for the millionth time. Instead of scowling at me, B.B began to tremble. Then he did the most un-B.B.-like thing. He began to cry! He cried so hard I

thought we would have to swim out of there. “I’m lost!” he choked. “I’m totally and completely lost!” I tried to cheer him up. “Don’t worry,” I said. “We are lost together. We’ll find our way out of here. I promise.” I stared at the trees surrounding us. All of a sudden, I had an idea. “Let’s climb a tree!” I said. “From way up high, we may be able to see our CAMP!” B.B. brightened. Then he turned sad

. again. “I can’t climb a tree,” he groaned. b “My head is still spinning from the bump. m li You are the only one who can save us, c o Geronimo!” t I was worried. But I couldn’t let B.B. n down. “No problemo,” I said, trying to a g sound brave. e I began to climb. My paws felt like cream b I 86

cheese, but I remembered Suzie Squeaker’s advice. I never looked down. I

climbed higher

and higher.

After a while, I stopped. I stared out over the treetops. There! In the dark, I could see the lights from the CAMP. I was so happy. I felt like I had just been named author of the year. “I can see the camp. It’s over there!” I called to B.B. 87

Slowly, I climbed down again. As soon as I reached the ground, B.B. hugged me. It turns out he wasn’t a real forest ranger after all. He was just a pretend forest ranger at

Mouseyworld,

the

popular

rodents’

amusement park. That explained why he couldn’t figure out the compass. Fifteen minutes later, we reached the CAMP.

88

DAY 5: FRIDAY Penelope woke

us up at dawn with the

usual shower of icy water. I was beginning to wonder where she was getting it. I hadn’t had a nice, icy beverage since we left New Mouse City! After a breakfast of scrambled worms, she gave us a lesson on survival techniques. “ Rattytrap

Jungle is full of dangers!

she squeaked. “You must be careful where you step, as you are about to see.” She stuck a red flag in the ground. “Sit HERE, STILTON!” she ordered. I was about to sit down when Penelope began to shout, “Don’t MOVE, STILTON!” She kicked

away a leaf on the ground. 89



! n o i p r o c s e g u h a y al h t a e n r e d n U

Underneath lay a huge scorpion! “Be careful where you step,” our teacher repeated. “If you had sat down, you’d be A DEAD MOUSE, STILTON!” I shivered. My life flashed before my eyes. Then, suddenly, someone was poking me. “No

time

for

daydreaming!”

Penelope

shouted. She pointed to the path ahead. “Danger is everywhere,” she said again. “Now walk to the end of the path, Stilton!” I set out. I had hardly taken more than a couple of steps when I was suddenly lifted into the air! A rope was hidden in the

It was a trap!

bushes. “Cheese niblets!” I cried. I was dangling upside down! Our teacher chuckled. “See what I mean, Stilton?” she said, cutting the rope that was holding me up. I fell right on my snout! 90



Ow! But

” I screamed. Penelope

wasn’t

finished with me. “Run toward that tree, Stilton!” she demanded. I groaned. What would happen to me this time? Would I be blinded by a sharp tree branch? Would I break all of my paws? I sighed. Then I took off. Seconds later, I fell into a deep, dark hole. “H e l p ! ” I

shrieked. Our teacher peeped into the hole.

i v l e, a l l ” i t s ? n u il t o o y t “ s e Ar she smirked. “Good. Deal with it!” Then she turned to the others. “I hope that you will all remember what has happened to our friend here today!” she squeaked. “Now let’s go!” My mouth dropped open. I began to shake. This was the lowest of the low. How could she leave me alone in this dark, scary place? It was so horrifying. Can you guess why?

That’s

ENCLOSED

right,

I'M

AFRAID

OF

SPACES!

I waited three hours. Finally, Penelope came back and pulled me out. I was still shaking, but I was proud of myself. I had

Geronimo Stilton, had

done it! Yes, I, faced another fear!

92

Our teacher peeped into the hole.

DAY 6: SATURDAY The next morning, I got up extra early. I hid behind my cabin door. I was going to trick our evil teacher at her own game. When she arrived with her bucket of icy water, I stuck out my paw. She tripped. Water flew everywhere. But not a drop landed on me. “

Oops

,”

I said when

Penelope caught me. She handed me a mop. “

THIS M E S S !

CLEAN UP

” she ordered, but she

was half smiling. “Not bad, Stilton,” she admitted. “Not bad for a scaredy mouse.” After a breakfast of fried fleas, we lined up. Penelope said she needed a volunteer. Someone who was afraid of spiders. I quickly hid behind B.B. I’m sure you 94

already know why. I AM AFRAID OF SPIDERS! “I’m going to choose a name,” our teacher announced. She stared up at the clouds. She pretended to be deep in thought. But she didn’t fool me. I knew what was coming. Seconds later, she cried, “Stilton!” Oh, why did she always have to pick on me?! I sighed and came forward. Penelope picked up a small cage. It was

full of hairy spiders. Stale Swiss rolls! Just seeing all of those spindly me

legs

gave

mouse bumps!

“Just remember to stay calm,” she advised. “Now close your eyes, Stilton!” She placed something on my snout. 95

“Keep very still, Stilton,” our teacher whispered. “And whatever you do, don’t open your eyes!” I tried. But I was curious. I just had to see what was on my snout. Slowly, I peeked open one eye. An enormous hairy spider stared back at me! I was too horrified to squeak.

“Keep still for ten seconds,” Penelope ordered. Then she began to count. The rest of the group joined in. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five . . .” MY WHISKERS TREMBLED WITH FEAR.

“You can do it!” Tubby shouted. “You’re almost there!” B.B. cheered. “Hurray for Stilton!” everyone shouted when the countdown was over. I pointed to the spider with a trembling paw. “Take it off, please,” I squeaked. Our teacher sneered. She took the spider and waved it under my nose. How strange. The spider’s legs didn’t seem to be moving at all. In fact, it looked quite stiff. I peered at it closely. “It’s plastic, Stilton!” Penelope smirked. I fainted. But moments later, she woke me up with a bucketful of icy water! So

much for starting my day off on the right paw. Next, Penelope pulled a

e n s n a ke hug e g r e

from a sack. She twisted it

up into a ball like a pro. “I’m going to teach you how to tell the difference between a

poisonous

snake

and

one

that

is

harmless,” she said. “The one I’m holding now is harmless. Catch it, Silverfur!” she in

shouted, throwing it to Sandy. o ld e h T

m o u se

e w e nt pal

,

b

u

t

sh

e

s t i ll

e k m a n ag

Without batting an eyelash, Sandy shouted,

Everyone applauded.

an s

e d to c a tch

The reptile twisted itself around her neck.

"Yip-peeee!"

m id a

t

a h t

ir .

Penelope grabbed another snake from the sack. She whirled it in the air. “Always hold a snake by its tail,” she explained. “This way it can’t bite.” I watched carefully. It looked so easy. Without thinking, I picked up a snake that looked just like the others. I began whirling it over my head. “Look at me!” I shouted with pride. For some odd reason, Penelope didn’t look happy. Maybe she liked to be the only one showing off. Oh, well, I decided, old Poisonfur would just have to get used to it.

Geronimo Stilton

The new was brave. He was tough. And he wasn’t afraid to show it! Then I noticed Penelope had dropped her snake. She waved her paws in the air. What was she doing? Some kind of jungle dance?

That’s the wrong snake, Stilton!”



I began whirling the snake over my head.

Penelope squeaked. “It’s poisonous!” Moldy mozzarella sticks! I was terrified. “Don’t

panic,

Stilton,”

our

teacher

continued. “Just keep whirling it!” My knees wobbled. My fur stood on end. Still, I managed to keep whirling the snake. g a t u n e on h e r fl u te . n i y P e n e lo p e b e g an p l a The snake closed its eyes. Soon it fell asleep. I

wished

I

was

sleeping,

too.

Old

Poisonfur had started yelling at me. Then she picked me up and began whirling me over her head!

ar n, e l ll ’ u ” o ! y n o “ No w S t i l t Oh, what a day in the jungle!

101

DAY 7: SUNDAY Saturday night, we marched nonstop. On Sunday morning, we reached our CAMP.

FIRST

We had only been gone for one week.

Still, it felt like a lifetime.

I had learned

so much! Yes, I had to admit, the course in the jungle had changed my life.

After our final bug breakfast, we said our good-byes.

I was sad to see my new

friends go. We had been through so much together. Tubby hugged me. “Thank you, Geronimo,” he said.

“If it

weren’t for

” r! e v i r you fa o m , I’d o be at the bott

Suzie Squeakers winked at me. “It was great to meet you, Boss! Pinky would be proud of you!” she grinned. Burt Burlyrat crushed my paw in his strong grip. And Sandy Silverfur gave

me

a

photo

of

me

whirling the snake. “So you won’t

forget this course,"

she chuckled. I knew

grinned. I

I

would

never forget my adventures

in

the

jungle. Or the friends I had made. I invited them all to New Mouse City. Finally, it was Penelope’s turn. “I’ve fixed 104

you, haven’t I, Stilton?” she smirked. I shook her paw. I wasn’t about to argue. Penelope had cured me. I felt like a new mouse. I wasn’t afraid of anything anymore. I could swim in wild rivers. I could climb trees as tall as skyscrapers. I could even eat bug sandwiches. Of course, I didn’t have to like them. From now on, I’d be sticking to my favorite kind of sandwiches. The ones with cheese! Like grilled cheese on rye, ham and cheese on a hard roll, and cream cheese and jelly on whole wheat. I turned around to leave, then shouted,



T H A NK YOU , ” MS . P O I S ON F U R!

105

Penelope waved. “You can call me P.P.,” she giggled. She really was one special mouse. Maybe someday I could take her out to dinner after all. As long as she didn’t

Or make me take her mountain climbing course! order any bugs.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by my family. Thea, Trap, and Benjamin were a sight for sore eyes. I hadn’t realized how much I had missed them. Yes, I know my sister can be bossy at times. And my cousin loves to play pranks on me. But they’re still family. Just then, my nephew threw his paws around my neck. “Are you still angry with me, Uncle Geronimo?” Benjamin asked. I stroked his tiny ears and grinned. “Of course not, my little mousey,” I sighed. “I love you too much!” Then I hugged Thea and Trap, too.

“You were right, Stiltons,” I said. “This course was the best thing for me. I’m cured!” The same yellow jeep took us back to the airport from CAMP.

Then we boarded a

plane to New Mouse City. I couldn’t wait to get there. As we were flying home, I thought about everything that had happened to me. I had faced my fears and I had met great new friends. you

counted

Five,

Penelope!

this

four if

Yes,

experience

had

taught me a lot of things.

Like it’s much easier to overcome a problem if you tackle it together. And a bucketful of icy water is a terrible way to wake up in the morning!

TELL ME EFERYTHING, PLEASE! The next morning, I went to see Dr. Shrinkfur.

“Tell me eferything, please!” he insisted. “You were right, Doctor!” I squeaked. “I went to the Rattytrap Jungle and faced all of my fears. I’m cured!” He seemed very pleased: “I told you it vas all up to you! Ach, my niece is very clever!” he murmured. I sat up straight.



Ms. Poisonfur is

your niece? ” I asked.

“Yes, vell, it vas I who gave her name to your relatifes,” he confessed. “I vas sure it vould vork. Penelope’s style can be a little vacky, but I knew she vas the only vone who could help you.” 108

Sn r o f th ea e d a rk! F

ts! He ig h S

co

rp io n s!

ake s!

Sp

id e r s!

IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS . . . So I guess that’s the end of my story. It really all boils down to this: I’m no longer afraid of FLYING! I’m no longer afraid of the DARK! I’m no longer afraid of SPIDERS! I’m no longer afraid of SNAKES! As I said, I’m cured!

Oh, well, there is still one thing.

110

I’m not afraid!

I’m still afraid of CATS! But then again, Dr. Shrinkfur says that’s perfectly normal. After all, I am a mouse!

.. . L L A

R E T AM F I A a

! E S MOU

A BOUT THE A UTHOR Born in New Mouse City, Mouse Island,

GERONIMO STILTON

Rattus Emeritus of Mousomorphic Literature

and

of

Neo-Ratonic

Comparative Philosophy. For the past twenty years, he has been running The Rodent’s Gazette, New Mouse City’s

most widely read daily newspaper. Stilton was awarded the Ratitzer Prize for his scoops on The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid and The Search for Sunken Treasure . He has also received the Andersen 2000 Prize for Personality of the Year. One of his bestsellers won the 2002 eBook Award for world’s best ratlings’ electronic book. His works have been published all over the globe.

In his spare time, Mr. Stilton collects antique cheese rinds and plays golf. But what he most enjoys is telling stories to his nephew Benjamin.

is

6

5

4

1 3

2

1. Main entrance 2. Printing presses (where the books and newspaper are printed) 3. Accounts department 4. Editorial room (where the editors, illustrators, and designers work) 5. Geronimo Stilton’s office 6. Helicopter landing pad

THE RODENT’S GAZETTE

Map of New Mouse City 1.

Industrial Zone

24.

The Daily Rat

2.

Cheese Factories

25.

The Rodent’s Gazette

3.

Angorat International

26.

Trap’s House

Airport

27.

Fashion District

WRAT Radio and

28.

The Mouse House

4.

Television Station

Restaurant

5.

Cheese Market

6.

Fish Market

7.

Town Hall

30.

Harbor Office

8.

Snotnose Castle

31.

Mousidon Square

9.

The Seven Hills of Mouse Island

29.

Environmental Protection Center

Garden 32.

Golf Course

10.

Mouse Central Station

33.

Swimming Pool

11.

Trade Center

34.

Tennis Courts

12.

Movie Theater

35.

Curlyfur Island

13.

Gym

14.

Catnegie Hall

36.

Geronimo’s House

15.

Singing Stone Plaza

37.

Historic District

16.

The Gouda Theater

38.

Public Library

17.

Grand Hotel

39.

Shipyard

18.

Mouse General Hospital

40.

Thea’s House

19.

Botanical Gardens

41.

New Mouse Harbor

20.

Cheap Junk for Less

42.

Luna Lighthouse

(Trap’s store)

43.

The Statue of Liberty

Aunt Sweetfur and

44.

Hercule Poirat’s Office

Benjamin’s House

45.

Petunia Pretty Paws’s

21.

22.

Mouseum of Modern Art

23.

Amousement

University and Library

Park

House 46.

Grandfather William’s House

Map of Mouse Island 1.

Big Ice Lake

21.

Lake Lakelake

2.

Frozen Fur Peak

22.

Lake Lakelakelake

3.

Slipperyslopes Glacier

23.

Cheddar Crag

4.

Coldcreeps Peak

24.

Cannycat Castle

5.

Ratzikistan

25.

Valley of the Giant

6.

Transratania

7.

Mount Vamp

26.

Cheddar Springs

8.

Roastedrat Volcano

27.

Sulfurous Swamp

9.

Brimstone Lake

28.

Old Reliable Geyser

10.

Poopedcat Pass

29.

Vole Vale

11.

Stinko Peak

30.

Ravingrat Ravine

12.

Dark Forest

31.

Gnat Marshes

13.

Vain Vampires Valley

32.

Munster Highlands

14.

Goose Bumps Gorge

33.

Mousehara Desert

15.

The Shadow Line Pass

34.

Oasis of the

16.

Penny Pincher Castle

17.

Nature Reserve Park

35.

Cabbagehead Hill

18.

Las Ratayas Marinas

36.

Rattytrap Jungle

19.

Fossil Forest

37.

Rio Mosquito

20.

Lake Lake

Sequoia

Sweaty Camel