|If you aren't dead of the cuteness yet, read on!|
Astute reader Sally dared to ask the million dollar question: why is Miss Arrietty G. Teaspoon so cute? Ah, it seems so simple. The answer, I'm afraid, is rather more complex than one might think!
I did a little thinking with this great big brain of mine and I came up with the only plausible explanation: a perfect alignment of a dozen contributing factors. If any single ingredient had been left out of this magical recipe, we would have had a miniature mule of ordinary cuteness: a two-E Squee, if you will. Instead, we wound up with Arrietty, a twelve-E Squeeeeeeeeeeee if ever I knew one!
First ingredient: a darling, dapper donkey dad. He must have been at least three times as cute as the average donkey dad. This is hard to comprehend, I know, since every donkey is pretty darned cute. Still, I promise you that it must have been true.
Second ingredient: a marvelous, magnificent miniature mare mother. She must have had the stars in her eyes, the wind in her mane, the moon on her ears, and the sun on her coat. She must have been a goddess among mares. She must have made that dapper donkey swoon!
Third ingredient: a humane and heartful human herdmaster. Arrietty's cuteness comes from without and within. Her looks are matched—nay, exceeded!—by her extraordinarily trusting, kind, and gentle temperament. A nature that willing cannot possibly have been cultivated by accident! I believe that Arrietty's breeder must have been a human of the very finest quality in order to raise a mule of her character.
Fourth ingredient: sweet and sensible subsequent stewards. Arrietty is now in her third home. We will cherish her forever! We owe a grateful nod to her intermediate home, who entrusted her to us just last month. They cared for her compassionately, kept her safe, nurtured her kindly, and showed her the love and respect due to a mule of her monumental cuteness. They were special.
Fifth ingredient: hay. It takes hay to make a mule: not much, but some. Rather a lot less than more, in this case, as my Arrietty is an easy keeper.
Sixth ingredient: water. Everything needs water—the cleaner the better. That's obvious.
Seventh ingredient: space. Ample, sanitary housing is essential to the cultivation of cute mules!
Eighth ingredient: veterinary care. Arrietty has some brutal scars on her hind end, which makes me think she was entangled in a fence, grabbed by a predator, or otherwise damaged to within an inch of her one precious and irreplaceable life at some early moment. The story has been lost to the winds of time, but the fact that the scars are painfree and that she does not flinch from touch makes us feel that she must have been tended painstakingly and well. I'm sure it was an unpleasant chapter, but by enduring it she has become the special mule that she is today.
Ninth ingredient: Stardust. I can see it sparkling whenever she bats her eyes.
Tenth ingredient: a songbird's trill. She captured it, by some magical feat, and put it into her voicebox. By what other sorcery could she sing so beautifully?
11th ingredient: teddy bears. She must have eaten at least a dozen in order to grow such an adorably fluffy winter coat.
12th ingredient: Lucky Charms. I know she's on a restricted sugar diet, but I still can't think of any other way that she could possibly have gotten so sweet. She must have eaten boxes and boxes of them. She's magically delicious!
And that, Sally, is the recipe for an extra cute mule. I don't know if it's been done since, or if it will ever be done again, but I remain ever grateful that these things aligned to bring me my darling underling.