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HAMILTON THE HAMSTER
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By Paula Moore
Once upon a time there was a smart little hamster named Hamilton. He lived in a butcher shop owned by a man named Mr. Roman. Mr. Roman didn’t pay much attention to Hamilton. Hamilton had no cage – he went anywhere in the shop he pleased. Mr. Roman would put out some bread crumbs for Hamilton every now and then. But mostly Hamilton was on his own, scrambling around looking for food and water.

Hamilton was very lonely living like this. He just wanted to be someone’s pet – to live in a cozy cage with shavings to make a nest, and lots of good crunchy food. Hamilton was tired of being hungry, and he wanted to be loved!

So every day, when Hamilton heard the bells jingle on the shop door, he knew a customer would walk in and look at the meats. Hamilton would scramble on top of the wooden crates, and yell “Hey Mister! I’d make a great pet! Will you take me home? Hey look! I can do tricks. How ’bout a back flip!” Then Hamilton would jump up into the air and do a backwards somersault.

Unfortunately though, customers just didn’t notice Hamilton. And to a human, Hamilton’s yelling only sounded like “eeeeeh, eeeeeh.”

Outside on Mr. Roman’s shop window, there were store signs that said “Pork Chop Special – $1.99 per Pound” and “100% Pure Grain Fed Beef.”

One day, like many other days, a man stood outside the shop reading the store signs. Hamilton had read the signs, too, and was watching the man. The man came in, looked at Mr. Roman, and said, “Where’s the beef?” And Hamilton, who was very hungry by this time, said “Hey! Where’s the grain?!” But of course he only sounded like “eeeeeh”. Hamilton knew by now he had to do something drastic to get attention. So he decided to make a big sign, too.

Hamilton saw a big purple pen, and he found some poster paper scraps. He grabbed the pen, which of course is very long to a hamster, and wrote on the poster paper, “My name is Hamilton, please take me home to be your pet.” Then Hamilton waved the sign all around in the air. The man saw something moving over to the side of the shop, and there was the little hamster with the sign.

The man knew that most hamsters can’t read or write and thought that this must be a trick. So he said to Mr. Roman the butcher, “Roman, you must be trying to get rid of your pet hamster.” Mr. Roman said, “Nah, the little guy just hangs out here.”

Hamilton knew this was his chance to be someone’s pet. So he grabbed the purple pen, turned the poster paper over, and was about to write another message to the man, when the purple ink began to leak all over his paws and fur.

The man stared at Hamilton, thinking the Hamster had chewed on the pen, and he said “What a mess!” Thinking quickly, Hamilton wrote on the sign, “Pets Are Purple, Too!”

And as the man realized this hamster could actually read and write, he began to get an idea. This little guy would make a great pet! The kids would love him!

With Mr. Roman’s permission, the man scooped Hamilton up, put him in a nice box, and took him to a pet store where he bought all the fancy little equipment hamsters need to be happy. At home, his kids cleaned off all the purple ink and gave Hamilton a teeny little pen and a teeny little notepad. (The first question they asked Hamilton was “What is your name?”) From that time on, Hamilton lived happily ever after with his new family.

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