A dry wit blows from the desert in this fable of a clever mouse who meets a lion who is not a mirage or is he? ""Now a holy man is the best of company in some ways, but when it comes to eating, no... For the holier he is the less he eats... And little eating makes few crumbs, so while the man was holy the mouse was hungry."" In the evenings the mouse talked to the camels crossing the desert, where, he is warned, there are some things that are real, and other things that are not real, and those are mirages, and they are ""much more terrible."" Undaunted, the mouse starts out, and meets a lion who is not a mirage, and is much more terrible. But the lion is also vain and stupid and the mouse, by raising doubts about who is real and who is not, escapes capture. He makes his way to the city, where he finds good landlords and many, many crumbs. The illustrations resemble those in The Giant's Birthday by the same team: sharp strokes of black move against a background of broad, rough color washes. They are occasionally awkward, sometimes murky, but the humor is no mirage--it's sharp and sly and stylish.