Mikko walked through the forest for hours without seeing a soul. But at last he came to a cottage deep in the woods.
“I knew I’d find a sweetheart!” said Mikko. But when he went inside, he saw no one.
“All this way for nothing,” he said sadly.
“Maybe not!” came a tiny voice.
Mikko looked around, but the only living thing in sight was a little mouse on a table. Standing on its hind legs, it gazed at him with large, bright eyes.
“Did you say something?” he asked it.
“Of course I did! Now, why don’t you tell me your name and what you came for?”
Mikko had never talked with a mouse, but he felt it only polite to reply. “My name is Mikko, and I’ve come looking for a sweetheart.”
The mouse squealed in delight. “Why, Mikko, I’ll gladly be your sweetheart!”
“But you’re only a mouse,” said Mikko.
“That may be true,” she said, “but I can still love you faithfully. Besides, even a mouse can be special! Come feel my fur.”
With one finger, Mikko stroked the mouse’s back. “Why, it feels like velvet! Just like the gown of a princess!”
“That’s right, Mikko.” And as he petted her, she sang to him prettily.
“Mikko’s sweetheart will I be.
What a fine young man is he!
Gown of velvet I do wear,
Like a princess fine and rare.”