A Short Story read after 2000, seemed to be written much earlier. A German scientist is living in America. He talks a lot to a mouse in his house who he catches, and keeps in a cage. He calls the mouse Mickey after Disney's famous creation. He builds a tiny rocket to be the first to fly to the moon. He sends the mouse up in the rocket and watches through his telescope.

The project seems to have failed completely. Contact with the rocket is lost, long before it would have reached the moon.

The rocket has been intercepted by intelligent beings living on a tiny planetoid. The planetoid was, many years ago, painted in non reflecting paint. After being moved, it could no longer be seen by the inhabitants evil enemies. Of course, it cannot be seen from Earth either.

The aliens living on the planetoid are much smaller than the mouse, and far more intelligent than human beings. They have had an advanced civilisation for millions of years. They are worried that at some point in the future humanity might become a danger to them.

The aliens decide to use a machine to increase Mickey the mouse's intelligence. Not to their level, only to make him as clever as the stupid humans. The machine helps the mouse remember everything the scientist said to him and hence learn English. They modify his vocal chords.

The aliens' plan is than by increasing the intelligence of mice, the two equally intelligent species on Earth will fight each other and be less of a future problem for the aliens.

They send Mickey home with a machine he can use to increase the intelligence of all his fellow mice. They warn him to avoid electricity as his recently enhanced brain could be damaged by it.

Mickey flies back to Earth in his rocket. He scares the wits out of a drunk by speaking to him. The man never drinks again.

He finds his old scientist friend and proposes a treaty with humanity. The mice should be given Australia. All the mice will be captured, made intelligent and move to Australia. They will also slay all of their old enemies the rats. There being no rats will be a great boon to humanity.

The scientist has his doubts but offers to tell humanity about the offer. Mickey goes to use the intelligence increasing machine on his wife. He accidentally gets an electric shock and becomes just an ordinary dumb mouse once more.

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    @coppereyecat I used the tag story-identification which states that my question is "What is this story?" I used the tag short story which represents written short stories. Do you think I would have been better to repeat this information in the text of my question ? Commented Apr 16 at 20:33
  • @coppereyecat I edited it to make clear it is a short story. Commented Apr 16 at 20:46
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    In my previous comment, for "short stort" read "short short". By the way, the ISFDB classifies "The Star Mouse" as a novelette. Also, far from needing improvement, this question is among the most detailed and accurate identification questions on the site.
    – user14111
    Commented Apr 16 at 22:00
  • @user14111 Thank you for your kind words. Commented Apr 16 at 22:08

1 Answer 1


"The Star-Mouse" (1942) by Fredric Brown. It's available on Project Gutenberg.

It starts:

Mitkey, the mouse, wasn't Mitkey then.

He was just another mouse, who lived behind the floorboards and plaster of the house of the great Herr Professor Oberburger, formerly of Vienna and Heidelberg; then a refugee from the excessive admiration of more powerful of his fellow-countrymen. The excessive admiration had concerned, not Herr Oberburger himself, but a certain gas which had been a by-product of an unsuccessful rocket fuel—which might have been a highly-successful something else.

The aliens say this:

"Exactly. Focused upon this creature's brain-center, they can, without disturbing his memories, be so delicately adjusted as to increase his intelligence—now probably about .0001 in the scale—to the point where he is a reasoning creature. Almost automatically, during the process, he will assimilate his own memories, and understand them just as he would if he had been intelligent at the time he received those impressions.

Back on Earth, Mitkey (who learned English by listening to the German professor) says:

"Yess, Brofessor. I see your boint, that you think an intelligent race of mices und an intelligent race of men couldt nodt get along side by sides. But it vould not be side by sides; as I said, there are only a ferry few beople in the smallest continent of Australia. Und it vould cost little to bring them back und turn offer that continent to us mices. Ve vould call it Moustralia instead Australia, und ve vould instead of Sydney call der capital Dissney, in honor of—"

And it ends with:

It wasn't deliberate. It couldn't have been, because the Professor didn't know about Klarloth's warning to Mitkey about carelessness with electricity—"Der new molecular rearrangement of your brain center—it iss unstable, und—"

And the Professor was still back in the lighted room when Mitkey ran into the room where Minnie was in her barless cage. She was asleep, and the sight of her—Memory of his earlier days came back like a flash and suddenly Mitkey knew how lonesome he had been.

"Minnie!" he called, forgetting that she could not understand.

And stepped up on the board where she lay. "Squeak!" The mild electrical current between the two strips of tinfoil got him.

There was silence for a while.

Then: "Mitkey," called the Herr Professor. "Come on back und ve vill discuss this—"

He stepped through the doorway and saw them, there in the gray light of dawn, two small gray mice cuddled happily together. He couldn't tell which was which, because Mitkey's teeth had torn off the red and yellow garments which had suddenly been strange, confining and obnoxious things.

"Vot on earth?" asked Professor Oberburger. Then he remembered the current, and guessed.

"Mitkey! Can you no longer talk? Iss der—"


Then the Professor smiled. "Mitkey," he said, "my little star-mouse. I think you are more happier now."

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    And there was a squeakwel, "Mitkey Rides Again" in Planet Stories, November 1950.
    – nebogipfel
    Commented Apr 17 at 0:34
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    I vill read this squeakwel! Commented Apr 17 at 10:31

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