Radio listeners throughout the country were recently astounded by the announcement, broadcast from a Chicago station, that they were about to hear the vocal efforts of the much publicized singing mouse lately discovered in a children’ s industrial home near that city. No listener could have been more nonplussed than your indoor explorer as this strangest of radio debuts, a series of quite musical chirps and trills, reached his incredulous ears.
Having had no previous experience with the vocal achievements of mice other than the usual squeals of fright followed by a scuttling into nearby holes, the writer had supposed that their voices were never more than a means of expressing the most fundamental emotions as briefly as possible. The idea of a mouse radio-entertainer trilling and chirping with professional nonchalance into a microphone gripped your explorer’ s imagination, and caused him to murmur: “What wouldn’ t I give for a singing mouse story of my own?
The concert took place in, of all places, a New York apartment; but this was not an ordinary apartment—in fact it is probably the only one of its kind.
Tenanted by Mrs. William Le Roy Cahall, a member of the American Museum, it contains a living collection of approximately 300 tropical birds ranging from a 30-year-old large-sized parrot, to a tiny song bird about the size of your thumb. Sleeping at night in cages, all these birds have the complete run of the apartment during their waking hours. A flock of canaries, fifty strong, sweeping into the living room, circling, and flying in close formation out along the hall again is a common every-day sight for Mrs. Cahall’ s visitors.
The extraordinary breeds the extraordinary. It was therefore fitting that with all the apartments in this particular building to choose from, the three minstrel mice should have selected Mrs. Cahall’ s as their winter residence.
Of course, what really attracted them was a small room which Mrs. Cahall has set aside as storeroom for the large quantities of grain and seed necessary to feed her magnificent bird collection.
One evening, a short time ago, Doctor and Mrs. Cahall heard a soft trilling sound which, to their astonishment, evidently came from this storeroom.
The song resembled that of a female canary.
“One of canaries has slipped in there instead of going to his cage to sleep,” concluded Doctor Cahall.
“It doesn’t seem possible,” replied his wife, “they have never disobeyed me before. When I call them each and every one has always gone to his own cage to sleep, and besides the storeroom door is never opened at bed time.”