The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale

When I read the rules for the First Annual Pretty Much World Famous Valentiny Writing Contest hosted by the lovely Susanna Hill (kid-friendly, 214 words max, with a grumpy character), I thought immediately of an old family favorite – The Sleeping Grump: A Cooperative Game (Family Pastimes, 1981). While the Grump in this Valentiny story may or may not be a giant ogre and while the goal may not be to steal his treasure (while leaving some for him in the spirit of true cooperation and sharing), I hope I’ve captured his sleepy, grumpy character and the essence of the game.

Note: some of you may recognize the characters. Margaret tried to arrange the perfect picture for Mama in Perfect Christmouse Pic’, as brothers Mick and Tim thwarted her every move. Can the trio work together on Valentine’s Day to out-manoeuvre the Sleeping Grump?

The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale

Outside, snowflakes swirl. Wind roars; Grump snores. Inside, red glitter scatters, red candies crunch underpaw.  Red tempers flare.

“Give it back!”

“That’s mine!”


“One more to make. Then we’ll put on our red shoes! Dance! Party,” Margaret shimmies.

“Party-schmarty,” Mick teases. “You’re just making a Valentine for Wondermouse!”

Mick and Tim prance, grab Valentine, chant, “Margaret has a boyfriend!”

Margaret snatches Valentine, scampers outside. Screech! She freezes. Tiptoes around snow-covered

“Grump,” she whispers, “Asleep!” Grump stirs. Margaret scurries inside.

“No need to fear, Mighty Mouse is here,” Mick cries, swipes crumpled Valentine. “Grump can’t seize me! I’ve got a cloak for invisibility.” Mick twirls outside. Cloak swirls across Grump’s eyes. They open, shut. Mick disappears inside.

“I’m an Alien! This is Major Mouse, dropping through!” Tim flies, nabs Valentine, catapults

Flop! Ker-plop! Nosedives!


“Eew! Goo! Smarmy Alien, coming through.”

Grump snivels, sobs, pokes goopy nose inside.

“There’s gotta be a better way,” Margaret reasons. “If together, we…and then…until finally…”

Margaret tiptoes towards Grump. Mick carries cloak-covered bundle. Tim catapults with

“Valentine? For me,” Grump asks.

“Cookies,” Mick reveals. “For you,” Margaret smiles, “Please let us pass.”

“Valentine! For me,” Grump grins.

The trio trudge past…into drifts. “Too much snow! No party, no-how,” Margaret sighs.

Grump grins.”Snow-schmo! On my back! Let’s go!”

29 responses to “The Sleeping Grump: A Valentiny Tale

  1. Cookies make me happy too and so did this story 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love the line, “Inside, red glitter scatters, red candies crunch underpaw.” And it’s fun to see these characters again!

  3. Fun to read! Like the dialogue.

  4. Fun! Love it….there’s ALWAYS a better way 😉

  5. I”m not familiar with these characters but it was fun to read your story. So sweet that Grump thought the valentine was for him and it softened him right up. 🙂

    Great imagery, too. Love it. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  6. Aw! This is delightful! So many wonderful rhymes and verbs. It won me over for sure!

  7. Cookies have a way of cheering someone up. This is a fun story!

  8. I’m not familiar with the The Sleeping Grump game. But after reading this, I’ll be looking it up. Nice work. =)

  9. Great story! There’s some absolutely wonderful language, I just love the word “underpaw”, for instance. That word could inspire a story all on its own!

  10. This is really cute and clever. I love their solution and especially the ending. Nice work!

  11. loved the story, its so nice

  12. Pat…you lyrical language was a pleasure to read…you have quite a gift…lots of fun and a great story. 🙂

  13. Love the cozy setting of them inside with the snow swirling outside while they work on their Valentine surprises 🙂 And glad they cheered Grump with cookies – yum! 🙂 Thanks so much for joining in the first ever Valentiny fun, Patricia! 🙂

  14. I’m going to have to add Fuddliwinks to my “near -swear” list 🙂

    • Hmm, hadn’t thought of it as a “near swear”, but I think you’re right. I was just trying to catch the sentiment with as few words as possible – the 214 limit was so, so short!

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