Some say that living well is the best revenge. Not for these paragons of virtue the acts of signing up those who have slighted them to a mailing list of double glazing firms or satellite TV providers, or organising random deliveries of horse manure and Hawaian pizzas with extra anchovies. Oh no - some say that rising above the cruel or heartless or sometimes plain stupid acts of others is the best way to show you no longer care about what they did.
Mice do not think like this. For mice, revenge is a dish best served cold. With cheese.
And so this was discovered by Marie on the morning following the Battle of the Mice 'n' Dolls. It was Christmas Day. Marie was confined to bed, her badly cut arm well bandaged and her mother very unhappy that the whole of the Christmas celebrations had been completely ruined by her youngest child's thoughtless and most selfish act of throwing herself into a large glass-fronted cabinet for no apparent good reason.
Of course, Marie had tried to explain to her parents about the mouse invasion and the Seven Headed Mouse King and her dolls coming to the rescue, led by the brave NutCracker. But her parents had merely upped her doses of Junior Disprol because it was quite clear their daughter was suffering from an over-heated brain and needed medicating in order to bring down the inflammation.
Luckily, just before lunch, whilst everyone else was downstairs joining in the traditional making of the Christmas jigsaw puzzle, Mrs Drosselmiggins arrived. And in her, Marie found a sympathetic ear because, of course, Mrs Drosselmiggins had witnessed the battle from atop the clock in the hall.
'Of course it was real, my dear,' Mrs Drosselmiggins assured Marie. 'And of course your parents won't believe a word you say.'
'Is it because they are adults and I am a mere child?' said Marie.
'No,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'It is because they are mad as a box of frogs. What matters is that YOU believe what you saw. You certainly have the battle scars to prove it.' And she poked Marie in her bad arm.
'Ouch!' said Marie. 'That hurt.'
'Good,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'Perhaps it will teach you not to do it again. Now, I believe this belongs to you.' She handed over a parcel to Marie, who opened it and let out a small gasp.
'My NutCracker!' she said, unwrapping him from where he had been carefully cushioned in tissue paper.
'All mended,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'Good as new.'
Marie sighed. 'But still, sadly, looking like a hippo's backside.'
'Never judge by appearances,' scolded Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'Remember, he has a kind and heroic heart, despite his face looking like Botoxed clown who has accidentally sat on a drawing pin.'
Marie nodded and hugged the NutCracker to her.
'Shall I tell you the story of how the NutCracker came to look as he does?' said Mrs Drosselmiggins, totally rhetorically, of course, because she was going to relate the tale regardless of what Marie said.
Luckily, Marie agreed. She settled back on her pillows and listened attentively.
'There once lived,' began Mrs Drosselmiggins,'a King and Queen who had a daughter by the name of Princess Pirlipat. Unfortunately, for the purpose of the telling of this tale, she shall henceforth be known as Princess Pearly Pants...'
'Why?' said Marie.
Mrs Drosselmiggins sighed. 'Because Mrs Pumphrey refused to take on the role otherwise. She made us write it into her contract and everything. And then she went out and had a pair of pearly pants specially made. It's a contractual thing, dear. Now just be quiet and listen, there's a good girl.'
Marie settled back on her pillows. Pearly pants sounded a jolly glamorous idea. She might ask for a pair for her next birthday.
Mrs Drosselmiggins continued. 'Princess Pearly Pants' mother, the Queen, had a friend. And her friend was called Madame Mouserinks and she was a queen, too. Queen of the Mice, in fact.'
'The wife of the Seven-Headed Mouse King?' said Marie.
'Sharp child,' observed Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'Indeed she was. Now, it so happened that one day, around Christmas-time, Madame Mouserinks and the Queen were sharing a cup of tea and a bit of lightly spicy fruit cake. Madame Mouserinks had brought her mouse children with her and...'
'Did they have names?' said Marie. 'The mouse children?'
'Does it matter?' said Mrs Drosselmiggins.
'Yes,' said Marie.
'All right,' sighed Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'The mouse children were called Tinky, Gumble, Mozzle, Farting, Nobbler and Dave. Satisfied?'
'Yes,' said Marie.
'You said 'Farting!' ' sniggered Fritz, who was eavesdropping outside the door.
Mrs Drosselmiggins sighed. 'To continue,' she said. 'The mouse children were very hungry but refused all offers of the lightly spicy fruit cake. Instead they were eyeing up the massive lump of lard on the kitchen table.'
'Oh yuk!' said Marie. 'Lard?'
'It wasn't any old lard,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'It was special lard. For the King's sausage.'
(The Company will now pause in a dramatic freeze frame in order that the more smutty-minded of the audience can get over all images associated with the phrase 'the King's sausage.' All right? Are we done? Good.)
'Madame Mouserinks,' continued Mrs Drosselmiggins,'was a cunning creature and she tricked the Queen into allowing the mouse children the gobble up the lard meant for the King's sausage. When the King found out about the whole lard and sausage thing, he was extremely angry with Madame Mouserinks. And even more angry when he discovered she had partaken of a not inconsiderable portion of lightly spicy fruit cake, too. In revenge, he ordered his Court Inventor - Mrs Drosselmiggins -'
'You?' said Marie.
'Indeed,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins, ' - me. To make traps in order to destroy all the children of Madame Mouserinks.'
'Sounds drastic,' said Marie, 'and all for the sake of a bit of lard.'
'More importantly it led to a cycle of hideous revenge,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'For, on hearing of the deaths of her children, Madame Mouserinks swore revenge on Princess Pearly Pants, the daughter of the Queen. The Queen organised a guard of cats to protect Princess Pearly Pants from the wrath of Madame Mouserinks, and to prevent the cats - who were called Phoebe Flumpbum, Tybalt SquibbleToes and Flora Bijou Mybug - from falling asleep at their duty, as cats are wont to do, she employed a team of nurses to stroke them and keep them awake. However, stroking a cat is a very soporific activity and so the nurses soon fell asleep themselves and then did the cats. You should have heard the snoring.'
'This is dreadful!' said Marie.
'You're telling me,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins. 'You'd never catch a chicken behaving like that. Anyway, with Princess Pearly Pants now unguarded, Madame Mouserinks cast an evil curse and turned Pearly Pants into an ugly, enormous-headed, wide mouthed and insanely grinning, cotton bearded NutCracker.
'The King blamed me. 'Find a cure for this curse!' he demanded. 'You say that like it is an easy thing to do,' said I in return. 'It better had be,' roared the King. 'For you have but four weeks to provide a cure and turn my daughter back into the beautiful Princess Pearly Pants we all know and love - or else!'
Marie clapped her hand to her mouth. 'Or else what?' she said.
'That,' said Mrs Drosselmiggins,'you will find out later on. For Christmas lunch is a-calling and nothing but nothing will stand between Mrs Drosselmiggins and her Brussel sprouts.'
('Gosh!' says Primrose. 'I wonder what will happen in Act 4.'
'Something supernatural and other-worldly I reckon,' says Camilla.'
'What makes you say that?' says Primrose.
'I did the research for the production,' says Camilla.
'Ah. Right,' says Primrose.)