Tuesday, October 16, 2007


The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter
Once upon a time there were
four little Rabbits, and their names
and Peter.
They lived with their Mother in a
sand-bank, underneath the root of a
very big fir-tree.
"Now, my dears," said old Mrs.
Rabbit one morning, "you may go into
the fields or down the lane, but don't
go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your
Father had an accident there; he was
put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."
"Now run along, and don't get into
mischief. I am going out."
Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket
and her umbrella, and went through
the wood to the baker's. She bought a
loaf of brown bread and five currant
Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who
were good little bunnies, went down
the lane to gather blackberries;
But Peter, who was very naughty,
ran straight away to Mr. McGregor's
garden, and squeezed under the gate!
First he ate some lettuces and some
French beans; and then he ate some
And then, feeling rather sick, he
went to look for some parsley.
But round the end of a cucumber
frame, whom should he meet but Mr.
Mr. McGregor was on his hands
and knees planting out young
cabbages, but he jumped up and ran
after Peter, waving a rake and calling
out, "Stop thief."
Peter was most dreadfully
frightened; he rushed all over the
garden, for he had forgotten the way
back to the gate.
He lost one of his shoes among the
cabbages, and the other shoe
amongst the potatoes.
After losing them, he ran on four
legs and went faster, so that I think he
might have got away altogether if he
had not unfortunately run into a
gooseberry net, and got caught by the
large buttons on his jacket. It was a
blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.
Peter gave himself up for lost, and
shed big tears; but his sobs were
overheard by some friendly sparrows,
who flew to him in great excitement,
and implored him to exert himself.
Mr. McGregor came up with a sieve,
which he intended to pop upon the
top of Peter; but Peter wriggled out
just in time, leaving his jacket behind him.
And rushed into the toolshed, and
jumped into a can. It would have been
a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had
not had so much water in it.
Mr. McGregor was quite sure that
Peter was somewhere in the toolshed,
perhaps hidden underneath a flowerpot.
He began to turn them over
carefully, looking under each.
Presently Peter sneezed--
"Kertyschoo!" Mr. McGregor was after
him in no time,
And tried to put his foot upon
Peter, who jumped out of a window,
upsetting three plants. The window
was too small for Mr. McGregor, and
he was tired of running after Peter. He
went back to his work.
Peter sat down to rest; he was out
of breath and trembling with fright,
and he had not the least idea which
way to go. Also he was very damp
with sitting in that can.
After a time he began to wander
about, going lippity--lippity--not
very fast, and looking all around.
He found a door in a wall; but it
was locked, and there was no room
for a fat little rabbit to squeeze
An old mouse was running in and
out over the stone doorstep, carrying
peas and beans to her family in the
wood. Peter asked her the way to the
gate, but she had such a large pea in
her mouth that she could not answer.
She only shook her head at him. Peter
began to cry.
Then he tried to find his way
straight across the garden, but he
became more and more puzzled.
Presently, he came to a pond where
Mr. McGregor filled his water-cans. A
white cat was staring at some
goldfish; she sat very, very still, but
now and then the tip of her tail
twitched as if it were alive. Peter
thought it best to go away without
speaking to her; he has heard about
cats from his cousin, little Benjamin Bunny.
He went back towards the toolshed,
but suddenly, quite close to him,
he heard the noise of a hoe--
scr-r-ritch, scratch, scratch, scritch.
Peter scuttered underneath the bushes.
But presently, as nothing happened, he
came out, and climbed upon a
wheelbarrow, and peeped over. The
first thing he saw was Mr. McGregor
hoeing onions. His back was turned
towards Peter, and beyond him was
the gate!
Peter got down very quietly off the
wheelbarrow, and started running as
fast as he could go, along a straight
walk behind some black-currant bushes.
Mr. McGregor caught sight of him
at the corner, but Peter did not care.
He slipped underneath the gate, and
was safe at last in the wood outside
the garden.
Mr. McGregor hung up the little
jacket and the shoes for a scare-crow
to frighten the blackbirds.
Peter never stopped running or
looked behind him till he got home to
the big fir-tree.
He was so tired that he flopped
down upon the nice soft sand on the
floor of the rabbit-hole, and shut his
eyes. His mother was busy cooking;
she wondered what he had done with
his clothes. It was the second little
jacket and pair of shoes that Peter
had lost in a fortnight!
I am sorry to say that Peter was not
very well during the evening.
His mother put him to bed, and
made some camomile tea; and she
gave a dose of it to Peter!
"One table-spoonful to be taken at
But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail
had bread and milk and blackberries
for supper.
"I'll be at charges for a looking-glass;
And entertain a score or two of tailors."
[Richard III]
My Dear Freda:
Because you are fond of fairytales, and have been ill, I
have made you a story all for yourself--a new one that
nobody has read before.
And the queerest thing about it is--that I heard it in
Gloucestershire, and that it is true--at least about the
tailor, the waistcoat, and the
"No more twist!"
In the time of swords and peri wigs
and full-skirted coats with flowered
lappets--when gentlemen wore
ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of
paduasoy and taffeta--there lived a
tailor in Gloucester.
He sat in the window of a little
shop in Westgate Street, cross-legged
on a table from morning till dark.
All day long while the light lasted
he sewed and snippetted, piecing out
his satin, and pompadour, and
lutestring; stuffs had strange names,
and were very expensive in the days of
the Tailor of Gloucester.
But although he sewed fine silk for
his neighbours, he himself was very,
very poor. He cut his coats without
waste; according to his embroidered
cloth, they were very small ends and
snippets that lay about upon the
table--"Too narrow breadths for
nought--except waistcoats for mice,"
said the tailor.
One bitter cold day near
Christmastime the tailor began to
make a coat (a coat of cherrycoloured
corded silk embroidered
with pansies and roses) and a creamcoloured
satin waistcoat for the
Mayor of Gloucester.
The tailor worked and worked, and
he talked to himself: "No breadth at
all, and cut on the cross; it is no
breadth at all; tippets for mice and
ribbons for mobs! for mice!" said the
Tailor of Gloucester.
When the snow-flakes came down
against the small leaded windowpanes
and shut out the light, the tailor
had done his day's work; all the silk
and satin lay cut out upon the table.
There were twelve pieces for the
coat and four pieces for the waistcoat;
and there were pocket-flaps and cuffs
and buttons, all in order. For the
lining of the coat there was fine
yellow taffeta, and for the buttonholes
of the waistcoat there was
cherry-coloured twist. And everything
was ready to sew together in the
morning, all measured and
sufficient--except that there was
wanting just one single skein of
cherry-coloured twisted silk.
The tailor came out of his shop at
dark. No one lived there at nights but
little brown mice, and THEY ran in and
out without any keys!
For behind the wooden wainscots
of all the old houses in Gloucester,
there are little mouse staircases and
secret trap-doors; and the mice run
from house to house through those
long, narrow passages.
But the tailor came out of his shop
and shuffled home through the snow.
And although it was not a big house,
the tailor was so poor he only rented
the kitchen.
He lived alone with his cat; it was
called Simpkin.
"Miaw?" said the cat when the
tailor opened the door, "miaw?"
The tailor replied: "Simpkin, we
shall make our fortune, but I am
worn to a ravelling. Take this groat
(which is our last fourpence), and,
Simpkin, take a china pipkin, but a
penn'orth of bread, a penn'orth of
milk, and a penn'orth of sausages.
And oh, Simpkin, with the last penny
of our fourpence but me one
penn'orth of cherry-coloured silk. But
do not lose the last penny of the
fourpence, Simpkin, or I am undone
and worn to a thread-paper, for I
Then Simpkin again said "Miaw!"
and took the groat and the pipkin,
and went out into the dark.
The tailor was very tired and
beginning to be ill. He sat down by the
hearth and talked to himself about
that wonderful coat.
"I shall make my fortune--to be
cut bias--the Mayor of Gloucester is
to be married on Christmas Day in the
morning, and he hath ordered a coat
and an embroidered waistcoat--"
Then the tailor started; for
suddenly, interrupting him, from the
dresser at the other side of the kitchen
came a number of little noises--
Tip tap, tip tap, tip tap tip!
"Now what can that be?" said the
Tailor of Gloucester, jumping up from
his chair. The tailor crossed the
kitchen, and stood quite still beside
the dresser, listening, and peering
through his spectacles.
"This is very peculiar," said the
Tailor of Gloucester, and he lifted up
the tea-cup which was upside down.
Out stepped a little live lady mouse,
and made a courtesy to the tailor!
Then she hopped away down off the
dresser, and under the wainscot.
The tailor sat down again by the
fire, warming his poor cold hands.
But all at once, from the dresser, there
came other little noises--
Tip tap, tip tap, tip tap tip!
"This is passing extraordinary!"
said the Tailor of Gloucester, and
turned over another tea-cup, which
was upside down.
Out stepped a little gentleman
mouse, and made a bow to the tailor!
And out from under tea-cups and
from under bowls and basins, stepped
other and more little mice, who
hopped away down off the dresser
and under the wainscot.
The tailor sat down, close over the
fire, lamenting: "One-and-twenty
buttonholes of cherry-coloured silk!
To be finished by noon of Saturday:
and this is Tuesday evening. Was it
right to let loose those mice,
undoubtedly the property of Simpkin?
Alack, I am undone, for I have no
more twist!"
The little mice came out again and
listened to the tailor; they took notice
of the pattern of that wonderful coat.
They whispered to one another about
the taffeta lining and about little
mouse tippets.
And then suddenly they all ran
away together down the passage
behind the wainscot, squeaking and
calling to one another as they ran
from house to house.
Not one mouse was left in the
tailor's kitchen when Simpkin came
back. He set down the pipkin of milk
upon the dresser, and looked
suspiciously at the tea-cups. He
wanted his supper of little fat mouse!
"Simpkin," said the tailor, "where is
my TWIST?"
But Simpkin hid a little parcel
privately in the tea-pot, and spit and
growled at the tailor; and if Simpkin
had been able to talk, he would have
asked: "Where is my MOUSE?"
"Alack, I am undone!" said the
Tailor of Gloucester, and went sadly
to bed.
All that night long Simpkin hunted
and searched through the kitchen,
peeping into cupboards and under the
wainscot, and into the tea-pot where
he had hidden that twist; but still he
found never a mouse!
The poor old tailor was very ill with
a fever, tossing and turning in his
four-post bed; and still in his dreams
he mumbled: "No more twist! no
more twist!"
What should become of the cherrycoloured
coat? Who should come to
sew it, when the window was barred,
and the door was fast locked?
Out-of-doors the market folks went
trudging through the snow to buy
their geese and turkeys, and to bake
their Christmas pies; but there would
be no dinner for Simpkin and the poor
old tailor of Gloucester.
The tailor lay ill for three days and
nights; and then it was Christmas Eve,
and very late at night. And still
Simpkin wanted his mice, and mewed
as he stood beside the four-post bed.
But it is in the old story that all the
beasts can talk in the night between
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in
the morning (though there are very
few folk that can hear them, or know
what it is that they say).
When the Cathedral clock struck
twelve there was an answer--like an
echo of the chimes--and Simpkin
heard it, and came out of the tailor's
door, and wandered about in the
From all the roofs and gables and
old wooden houses in Gloucester
came a thousand merry voices singing
the old Christmas rhymes--all the old
songs that ever I heard of, and some
that I don't know, like Whittington's
Under the wooden eaves the
starlings and sparrows sang of
Christmas pies; the jackdaws woke up
in the Cathedral tower; and although
it was the middle of the night the
throstles and robins sang; and air was
quite full of little twittering tunes.
But it was all rather provoking to
poor hungry Simpkin.
From the tailor's ship in Westgate
came a glow of light; and when
Simpkin crept up to peep in at the
window it was full of candles. There
was a snippeting of scissors, and
snappeting of thread; and little mouse
voices sang loudly and gaily:
"Four-and-twenty tailors
Went to catch a snail,
The best man amongst them
Durst not touch her tail;
She put out her horns
Like a little kyloe cow.
Run, tailors, run!
Or she'll have you all e'en now!"
Then without a pause the little
mouse voices went on again:
"Sieve my lady's oatmeal,
Grind my lady's flour,
Put it in a chestnut,
Let it stand an hour--"
"Mew! Mew!" interrupted Simpkin,
and he scratched at the door. But the
key was under the tailor's pillow; he
could not get in.
The little mice only laughed, and
tried another tune--
"Three little mice sat down to spin,
Pussy passed by and she peeped in.
What are you at, my fine little men?
Making coats for gentlemen.
Shall I come in and cut off yours threads?
Oh, no, Miss Pussy,
You'd bite off our heads!"
"Mew! scratch! scratch!" scuffled
Simpkin on the window-sill; while the
little mice inside sprang to their feet,
and all began to shout all at once in
little twittering voices: "No more
twist! No more twist!" And they
barred up the window-shutters and
shut out Simpkin.
Simpkin came away from the shop
and went home considering in his
mind. He found the poor old tailor
without fever, sleeping peacefully.
Then Simpkin went on tip-toe and
took a little parcel of silk out of the
tea-pot; and looked at it in the
moonlight; and he felt quite ashamed
of his badness compared with those
good little mice!
When the tailor awoke in the
morning, the first thing which he saw,
upon the patchwork quilt, was a skein
of cherry-coloured twisted silk, and
beside his bed stood the repentant
The sun was shining on the snow
when the tailor got up and dressed,
and came out into the street with
Simpkin running before him.
"Alack," said the tailor, "I have my
twist; but no more strength--nor
time--than will serve to make me one
single buttonhole; for this is
Christmas Day in the Morning! The
Mayor of Gloucester shall be married
by noon--and where is his cherrycoloured
He unlocked the door of the little
shop in Westgate Street, and Simpkin
ran in, like a cat that expects
But there was no one there! Not
even one little brown mouse!
But upon the table--oh joy! the
tailor gave a shout--there, where he
had left plain cuttings of silk--there
lay the most beautiful coat and
embroidered satin waistcoat that ever
were worn by a Mayor of Gloucester!
Everything was finished except just
one single cherry-coloured buttonhole,
and where that buttonhole was
wanting there was pinned a scrap of
paper with these words--in little
teeny weeny writing--
And from then began the luck of
the Tailor of Gloucester; he grew quite
stout, and he grew quite rich.
He made the most wonderful
waistcoats for all the rich merchants
of Gloucester, and for all the fine
gentlemen of the country round.
Never were seen such ruffles, or
such embroidered cuffs and lappets!
But his buttonholes were the greatest
triumph of it all.
The stitches of those buttonholes
were so neat--SO neat--I wonder
how they could be stitched by an old
man in spectacles, with crooked old
fingers, and a tailor's thimble.
The stitches of those buttonholes
were so small--SO small--they looked
as if they had been made by little
[A Story for Norah]
This is a Tale about a tail--a tail
that belonged to a little red squirrel,
and his name was Nutkin.
He had a brother called
Twinkleberry, and a great many
cousins: they lived in a wood at the
edge of a lake.
In the middle of the lake there is an
island covered with trees and nut
bushes; and amongst those trees
stands a hollow oak-tree, which is the
house of an owl who is called Old
One autumn when the nuts were
ripe, and the leaves on the hazel
bushes were golden and green--
Nutkin and Twinkleberry and all the
other little squirrels came out of the
wood, and down to the edge of the
They made little rafts out of twigs,
and they paddled away over the
water to Owl Island to gather nuts.
Each squirrel had a little sack and a
large oar, and spread out his tail for a
They also took with them an
offering of three fat mice as a present
for Old Brown, and put them down
upon his door-step.
Then Twinkleberry and the other
little squirrels each made a low bow,
and said politely--
"Old Mr. Brown, will you
favour us with permission to
gather nuts upon your island?"
But Nutkin was excessively
impertinent in his manners. He
bobbed up and down like a little
red CHERRY, singing--
"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!
A little wee man, in a red red coat!
A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat;
If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a groat."
Now this riddle is as old as the hills;
Mr. Brown paid no attention whatever
to Nutkin.
He shut his eyes obstinately and
went to sleep.
The squirrels filled their little sacks
with nuts, and sailed away home in
the evening.
But next morning they all came
back again to Owl Island; and
Twinkleberry and the others brought
a fine fat mole, and laid it on the
stone in front of Old Brown's
doorway, and said--
"Mr. Brown, will you favour us with
your gracious permission to gather
some more nuts?"
But Nutkin, who had no respect,
began to dance up and down, tickling
old Mr. Brown with a NETTLE and
"Old Mr. B! Riddle-me-ree!
Hitty Pitty within the wall,
Hitty Pitty without the wall;
If you touch Hitty Pitty,
Hitty Pitty will bite you!"
Mr. Brown woke up suddenly and
carried the mole into his house.
He shut the door in Nutkin's face.
Presently a little thread of blue SMOKE
from a wood fire came up from the
top of the tree, and Nutkin peeped
through the key-hole and sang--
"A house full, a hole full!
And you cannot gather a bowl-full!"
The squirrels searched for nuts all
over the island and filled their little
But Nutkin gathered oak-apples--
yellow and scarlet--and sat upon a
beech-stump playing marbles, and
watching the door of old Mr. Brown.
On the third day the squirrels got
up very early and went fishing; they
caught seven fat minnows as a
present for Old Brown.
They paddled over the lake and
landed under a crooked chestnut tree
on Owl Island.
Twinkleberry and six other little
squirrels each carried a fat minnow;
but Nutkin, who had no nice
manners, brought no present at all.
He ran in front, singing--
"The man in the wilderness said to me,
`How may strawberries grow in the sea?'
I answered him as I thought good--
`As many red herrings as grow in the wood."'
But old Mr. Brown took no interest
in riddles--not even when the answer
was provided for him.
On the fourth day the squirrels
brought a present of six fat beetles,
which were as good as plums in
PLUM-PUDDING for Old Brown. Each
beetle was wrapped up carefully in a
dockleaf, fastened with a pine-needlepin.
But Nutkin sang as rudely as ever--
"Old Mr. B! riddle-me-ree!
Flour of England, fruit of Spain,
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag tied round with a string,
If you'll tell me this riddle,
I'll give you a ring!"
Which was ridiculous of Nutkin,
because he had not got any ring to
give to Old Brown.
The other squirrels hunted up and
down the nut bushes; but Nutkin
gathered robin's pin-cushions off a
briar bush, and stuck them full of
On the fifth day the squirrels
brought a present of wild honey; it
was so sweet and sticky that they
licked their fingers as they put it down
upon the stone. They had stolen it out
of a bumble BEES' nest on the tippity
top of the hill.
But Nutkin skipped up and down,
"Hum-a-bum! buzz! buzz! Hum-a-bum buzz!
As I went over Tipple-tine
I met a flock of bonny swine;
Some yellow-nacked, some yellow backed!
They were the very bonniest swine
That e'er went over the Tipple-tine."
Old Mr. Brown turned up his eyes
in disgust at the impertinence of
But he ate up the honey!
The squirrels filled their little sacks
with nuts.
But Nutkin sat upon a big flat rock,
and played ninepins with a crab apple
and green fir-cones.
On the sixth day, which was
Saturday, the squirrels came again for
the last time; they brought a new-laid
EGG in a little rush basket as a last
parting present for Old Brown.
But Nutkin ran in front laughing,
and shouting--
"Humpty Dumpty lies in the beck,
With a white counterpane round his neck,
Forty doctors and forty wrights,
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty to rights!"
Now old Mr. Brown took an interest
in eggs; he opened one eye and shut it
again. But still he did not speak.
Nutkin became more and more
"Old Mr. B! Old Mr. B!
Hickamore, Hackamore, on the King's
kitchen door;
All the King's horses, and all the King's men,
Couldn't drive Hickamore, Hackamore,
Off the King's kitchen door!"
Nutkin danced up and down like a
SUNBEAM; but still Old Brown said
nothing at all.
Nutkin began again--
"Authur O'Bower has broken his band,
He comes roaring up the land!
The King of Scots with all his power,
Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower!"
Nutkin made a whirring noise to
sound like the WIND, and he took a
running jump right onto the head of
Old Brown! . . .
Then all at once there was a
flutterment and a scufflement and a
loud "Squeak!"
The other squirrels scuttered away
into the bushes.
When they came back very
cautiously, peeping round the tree--
there was Old Brown sitting on his
door-step, quite still, with his eyes
closed, as if nothing had happened.
* * * * * * * *
This looks like the end of the story;
but it isn't.
Old Brown carried Nutkin into his
house, and held him up by the tail,
intending to skin him; but Nutkin
pulled so very hard that his tail broke
in two, and he dashed up the
staircase, and escaped out of the attic
And to this day, if you meet Nutkin
up a tree and ask him a riddle, he will
throw sticks at you, and stamp his
feet and scold, and shout--
[For the Children of Sawrey
from Old Mr. Bunny]
One morning a little rabbit sat on a
He pricked his ears and listened to
the trit-trot, trit-trot of a pony.
A gig was coming along the road; it
was driven by Mr. McGregor, and
beside him sat Mrs. McGregor in her
best bonnet.
As soon as they had passed, little
Benjamin Bunny slid down into the
road, and set off--with a hop, skip,
and a jump--to call upon his
relations, who lived in the wood at the
back of Mr. McGregor's garden.
That wood was full of rabbit holes;
and in the neatest, sandiest hole of all
lived Benjamin's aunt and his
cousins--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail,
and Peter.
Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she
earned her living by knitting
rabbit-wool mittens and muffatees (I
once bought a pair at a bazaar). She
also sold herbs, and rosemary tea,
and rabbit-tobacco (which is what
we call lavender).
Little Benjamin did not very much
want to see his Aunt.
He came round the back of the firtree,
and nearly tumbled upon the top
of his Cousin Peter.
Peter was sitting by himself. He
looked poorly, and was dressed in a
red cotton pocket-handkerchief.
"Peter," said little Benjamin, in a
whisper, "who has got your clothes?"
Peter replied, "The scarecrow in Mr.
McGregor's garden," and described
how he had been chased about the
garden, and had dropped his shoes
and coat.
Little Benjamin sat down beside his
cousin and assured him that Mr.
McGregor had gone out in a gig, and
Mrs. McGregor also; and certainly for
the day, because she was wearing her
best bonnet.
Peter said he hoped that it would
At this point old Mrs. Rabbit's voice
was heard inside the rabbit hole,
calling: "Cotton-tail! Cotton-tail! fetch
some more camomile!"
Peter said he thought he might feel
better if he went for a walk.
They went away hand in hand, and
got upon the flat top of the wall at the
bottom of the wood. From here they
looked down into Mr. McGregor's
garden. Peter's coat and shoes were
plainly to be seen upon the scarecrow,
topped with an old tam-o'-shanter of
Mr. McGregor's.
Little Benjamin said: "It spoils
people's clothes to squeeze under a
gate; the proper way to get in is to
climb down a pear-tree."
Peter fell down head first; but it
was of no consequence, as the bed
below was newly raked and quite
It had been sown with lettuces.
They left a great many odd little
footmarks all over the bed, especially
little Benjamin, who was wearing
Little Benjamin said that the first
thing to be done was to get back
Peter's clothes, in order that they
might be able to use the pockethandkerchief.
They took them off the scarecrow.
There had been rain during the night;
there was water in the shoes, and the
coat was somewhat shrunk.
Benjamin tried on the tam-o'-
shanter, but it was too big for him.
Then he suggested that they should
fill the pocket-handkerchief with
onions, as a little present for his Aunt.
Peter did not seem to be enjoying
himself; he kept hearing noises.
Benjamin, on the contrary, was
perfectly at home, and ate a lettuce
leaf. He said that he was in the habit
of coming to the garden with his
father to get lettuces for their Sunday
(The name of little Benjamin's papa
was old Mr. Benjamin Bunny.)
The lettuces certainly were very
Peter did not eat anything; he said
he should like to go home. Presently
he dropped half the onions.
Little Benjamin said that it was not
possible to get back up the pear-tree
with a load of vegetables. He led the
way boldly towards the other end of
the garden. They went along a little
walk on planks, under a sunny, red
brick wall.
The mice sat on their doorsteps
cracking cherry-stones; they winked
at Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin
Presently Peter let the pockethandkerchief
go again.
They got amongst flower-pots, and
frames, and tubs. Peter heard noises
worse than ever; his eyes were as big
as lolly-pops!
He was a step or two in front of his
cousin when he suddenly stopped.
This is what those little rabbits saw
round that corner!
Little Benjamin took one look, and
then, in half a minute less than no
time, he hid himself and Peter and the
onions underneath a large basket. . . .
The cat got up and stretched
herself, and came and sniffed at the
Perhaps she liked the smell of onions!
Anyway, she sat down upon the top
of the basket.
She sat there for FIVE HOURS.
I cannot draw you a picture of
Peter and Benjamin underneath the
basket, because it was quite dark, and
because the smell of onions was
fearful; it made Peter Rabbit and little
Benjamin cry.
The sun got round behind the
wood, and it was quite late in the
afternoon; but still the cat sat upon
the basket.
At length there was a pitter-patter,
pitter-patter, and some bits of mortar
fell from the wall above.
The cat looked up and saw old Mr.
Benjamin Bunny prancing along the
top of the wall of the upper terrace.
He was smoking a pipe of rabbittobacco,
and had a little switch in his
He was looking for his son.
Old Mr. Bunny had no opinion
whatever of cats. He took a
tremendous jump off the top of the
wall on to the top of the cat, and
cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it
into the greenhouse, scratching off a
handful of fur.
The cat was too much surprised to
scratch back.
When old Mr. Bunny had driven the
cat into the greenhouse, he locked the
Then he came back to the basket
and took out his son Benjamin by the
ears, and whipped him with the little
Then he took out his nephew Peter.
Then he took out the handkerchief
of onions, and marched out of the
When Mr. McGregor returned
about half an hour later he observed
several things which perplexed him.
It looked as though some person
had been walking all over the garden
in a pair of clogs--only the footmarks
were too ridiculously little!
Also he could not understand how
the cat could have managed to shut
herself up INSIDE the greenhouse,
locking the door upon the OUTSIDE.
When Peter got home his mother
forgave him, because she was so glad
to see that he had found his shoes and
coat. Cotton-tail and Peter folded up
the pocket-handkerchief, and old Mrs.
Rabbit strung up the onions and hung
them from the kitchen ceiling, with
the bunches of herbs and the rabbittobacco.
[For W.M.L.W., the Little Girl
Who Had the Doll's House]
Once upon a time there was a very
beautiful doll's-house; it was red
brick with white windows, and it had
real muslin curtains and a front door
and a chimney.
It belonged to two Dolls called
Lucinda and Jane; at least it belonged
to Lucinda, but she never ordered
Jane was the Cook; but she never
did any cooking, because the dinner
had been bought ready-made, in a
box full of shavings.
There were two red lobsters and a
ham, a fish, a pudding, and some
pears and oranges.
They would not come off the plates,
but they were extremely beautiful.
One morning Lucinda and Jane had
gone out for a drive in the doll's
perambulator. There was no one in
the nursery, and it was very quiet.
Presently there was a little scuffling,
scratching noise in a corner near the
fireplace, where there was a hole
under the skirting-board.
Tom Thumb put out his head for a
moment, and then popped it in again.
Tom Thumb was a mouse.
A minute afterwards, Hunca
Munca, his wife, put her head out,
too; and when she saw that there was
no one in the nursery, she ventured
out on the oilcloth under the coal-box.
The doll's-house stood at the other
side of the fire-place. Tom Thumb
and Hunca Munca went cautiously
across the hearthrug. They pushed
the front door--it was not fast.
Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca
went upstairs and peeped into the
dining-room. Then they squeaked
with joy!
Such a lovely dinner was laid out
upon the table! There were tin
spoons, and lead knives and forks,
and two dolly-chairs--all SO
Tom Thumb set to work at once to
carve the ham. It was a beautiful
shiny yellow, streaked with red.
The knife crumpled up and hurt
him; he put his finger in his mouth.
"It is not boiled enough; it is hard.
You have a try, Hunca Munca."
Hunca Munca stood up in her
chair, and chopped at the ham with
another lead knife.
"It's as hard as the hams at the
cheesemonger's," said Hunca Munca.
The ham broke off the plate with a
jerk, and rolled under the table.
"Let it alone," said Tom Thumb;
"give me some fish, Hunca Munca!"
Hunca Munca tried every tin spoon
in turn; the fish was glued to the dish.
Then Tom Thumb lost his temper.
He put the ham in the middle of the
floor, and hit it with the tongs and
with the shovel--bang, bang, smash,
The ham flew all into pieces, for
underneath the shiny paint it was
made of nothing but plaster!
Then there was no end to the rage
and disappointment of Tom Thumb
and Hunca Munca. They broke up the
pudding, the lobsters, the pears and
the oranges.
As the fish would not come off the
plate, they put it into the red-hot
crinkly paper fire in the kitchen; but it
would not burn either.
Tom Thumb went up the kitchen
chimney and looked out at the top--
there was no soot.
While Tom Thumb was up the
chimney, Hunca Munca had another
disappointment. She found some tiny
canisters upon the dresser, labelled--
Rice--Coffee--Sago--but when she
turned them upside down, there was
nothing inside except red and blue
Then those mice set to work to do
all the mischief they could--especially
Tom Thumb! He took Jane's clothes
out of the chest of drawers in her
bedroom, and he threw them out of
the top floor window.
But Hunca Munca had a frugal
mind. After pulling half the feathers
out of Lucinda's bolster, she
remembered that she herself was in
want of a feather bed.
With Tom Thumbs's assistance she
carried the bolster downstairs, and
across the hearth-rug. It was difficult
to squeeze the bolster into the mousehole;
but they managed it somehow.
Then Hunca Munca went back and
fetched a chair, a book-case, a birdcage,
and several small odds and
ends. The book-case and the birdcage
refused to go into the mousehole.
Hunca Munca left them behind the
coal-box, and went to fetch a cradle.
Hunca Munca was just returning
with another chair, when suddenly
there was a noise of talking outside
upon the landing. The mice rushed
back to their hole, and the dolls came
into the nursery.
What a sight met the eyes of Jane
and Lucinda! Lucinda sat upon the
upset kitchen stove and stared; and
Jane leant against the kitchen dresser
and smiled--but neither of them
made any remark.
The book-case and the bird-cage
were rescued from under the coalbox--
but Hunca Munca has got the
cradle, and some of Lucinda's
She also has some useful pots and
pans, and several other things.
The little girl that the doll's-house
belonged to, said,--"I will get a doll
dressed like a policeman!"
But the nurse said,--"I will set a
So that is the story of the two Bad
Mice,--but they were not so very very
naughty after all, because Tom
Thumb paid for everything he broke.
He found a crooked sixpence under
the hearth-rug; and upon Christmas
Eve, he and Hunca Munca stuffed it
into one of the stockings of Lucinda
and Jane.
And very early every morning--
before anybody is awake--Hunca
Munca comes with her dust-pan and
her broom to sweep the Dollies' house!
[For the Real
Little Lucie of Newlands]
Once upon a time there was a little
girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm
called Little-town. She was a good
little girl--only she was always losing
her pocket-handkerchiefs!
One day little Lucie came into the
farm-yard crying--oh, she did cry so!
"I've lost my pocket-handkin! Three
handkins and a pinny! Have YOU seen
them, Tabby Kitten?"
The Kitten went on washing her white paws;
so Lucie asked a speckled hen--
"Sally Henny-penny, have YOU
found three pocket-handkins?"
But the speckled hen ran into a
barn, clucking--
"I go barefoot, barefoot, barefoot!"
And then Lucie asked Cock Robin
sitting on a twig. Cock Robin looked
sideways at Lucie with his bright
black eye, and he flew over a stile and
Lucie climbed upon the stile and
looked up at the hill behind Littletown--
a hill that goes up--up--into
the clouds as though it had no top!
And a great way up the hillside she
thought she saw some white things
spread upon the grass.
Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast
as her short legs would carry her; she
ran along a steep path-way--up and
up--until Little-town was right away
down below--she could have
dropped a pebble down the chimney!
Presently she came to a spring,
bubbling out from the hillside.
Some one had stood a tin can upon
a stone to catch the water--but the
water was already running over, for
the can was no bigger than an eggcup!
And where the sand upon the
path was wet--there were footmarks
of a VERY small person.
Lucie ran on, and on.
The path ended under a big rock.
The grass was short and green, and
there were clothes-props cut from
bracken stems, with lines of plaited
rushes, and a heap of tiny clothes
pins--but no pocket-handkerchiefs!
But there was something else--a
door! straight into the hill; and inside
it some one was singing--
"Lily-white and clean, oh!
With little frills between, oh!
Smooth and hot-red rusty spot
Never here be seen, oh!"
Lucie knocked-once-twice, and
interrupted the song. A little
frightened voice called out "Who's
Lucie opened the door: and what
do you think there was inside the
hill?--a nice clean kitchen with a
flagged floor and wooden beams--
just like any other farm kitchen. Only
the ceiling was so low that Lucie's
head nearly touched it; and the pots
and pans were small, and so was
everything there.
There was a nice hot singey smell;
and at the table, with an iron in her
hand, stood a very stout short person
staring anxiously at Lucie.
Her print gown was tucked up, and
she was wearing a large apron over
her striped petticoat. Her little black
nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and
her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and
underneath her cap-where Lucie
had yellow curls-that little person
"Who are you?" said Lucie. "Have
you seen my pocket-handkins?"
The little person made a bobcurtsey--"
Oh yes, if you please'm; my
name is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle; oh yes if
you please'm, I'm an excellent clearstarcher!"
And she took something
out of the clothesbasket, and spread it
on the ironing-blanket.
"What's that thing?" said Lucie-
"that's not my pocket-handkin?"
"Oh no, if you please'm; that's a
little scarlet waist-coat belonging to
Cock Robin!"
And she ironed it and folded it, and
put it on one side.
Then she took something else off a
clothes-horse--"That isn't my pinny?"
said Lucie.
"Oh no, if you please'm; that's a
damask table-cloth belonging to
Jenny Wren; look how it's stained with
currant wine! It's very bad to wash!"
said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's nose went
sniffle sniffle snuffle, and her eyes
went twinkle twinkle; and she fetched
another hot iron from the fire.
"There's one of my pockethandkins!"
cried Lucie--"and there's
my pinny!"
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle ironed it, and
goffered it, and shook out the frills.
"Oh that IS lovely!" said Lucie.
"And what are those long yellow
things with fingers like gloves?"
"Oh that's a pair of stockings
belonging to Sally Henny-penny--look
how she's worn the heels out with
scratching in the yard! She'll very soon
go barefoot!" said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.
"Why, there's another hankersniff--
but it isn't mine; it's red?"
"Oh no, if you please'm; that one
belongs to old Mrs. Rabbit; and it DID
so smell of onions! I've had to wash it
separately, I can't get out that smell."
"There's another one of mine," said Lucie.
"What are those funny little white things?"
"That's a pair of mittens belonging
to Tabby Kitten; I only have to iron
them; she washes them herself."
"There's my last pocket-handkin!"
said Lucie.
"And what are you dipping into the
basin of starch?"
"They're little dicky shirt-fronts
belonging to Tom Titmouse--most
terrible particular!" said Mrs. Tiggywinkle.
"Now I've finished my ironing;
I'm going to air some clothes."
"What are these dear soft fluffy
things?" said Lucie.
"Oh those are woolly coats
belonging to the little lambs at
"Will their jackets take off?" asked
"Oh yes, if you please'm; look at the
sheep-mark on the shoulder. And
here's one marked for Gatesgarth,
and three that come from Little-town.
They're ALWAYS marked at washing!"
said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.
And she hung up all sorts and sizes
of clothes--small brown coats of
mice; and one velvety black moleskin
waist-coat; and a red tail-coat with
no tail belonging to Squirrel Nutkin;
and a very much shrunk blue jacket
belonging to Peter Rabbit; and a
petticoat, not marked, that had gone
lost in the washing--and at last the
basket was empty!
Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made
tea--a cup for herself and a cup for
Lucie. They sat before the fire on a
bench and looked sideways at one
another. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's hand,
holding the tea-cup, was very very
brown, and very very wrinkly with the
soap-suds; and all through her gown
and her cap, there were HAIRPINS
sticking wrong end out; so that Lucie
didn't like to sit too near her.
When they had finished tea, they
tied up the clothes in bundles; and
Lucie's pocket-handkerchiefs were
folded up inside her clean pinny, and
fastened with a silver safety-pin.
And then they made up the fire
with turf, and came out and locked
the door, and hid the key under the
Then away down the hill trotted
Lucie and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle with the
bundles of clothes!
All the way down the path little
animals came out of the fern to meet
them; the very first that they met
were Peter Rabbit and Benjamin
And she gave them their nice clean
clothes; and all the little animals and
birds were so very much obliged to
dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.
So that at the bottom of the hill
when they came to the stile, there was
nothing left to carry except Lucie's
one little bundle.
Lucie scrambled up the stile with
the bundle in her hand; and then she
turned to say "Good-night," and to
thank the washer-woman.--But what
a VERY odd thing! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle
had not waited either for thanks or
for the washing bill!
She was running running running
up the hill--and where was her white
frilled cap? and her shawl? and her
gown-and her petticoat?
And HOW small she had grown--
and HOW brown--and covered with
Why! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle was
nothing but a HEDGEHOG!
* * * * * *
(Now some people say that little Lucie
had been asleep upon the stile--but then
how could she have found three clean
pocket-handkins and a pinny, pinned with a
silver safety-pin?
And besides--I have seen that door into
the back of the hill called Cat Bells--and
besides _I_ am very well acquainted with dear
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!)
Pussy-cat sits by the fire--how should she be fair?
In walks the little dog--says "Pussy are you there?
How do you do Mistress Pussy? Mistress Pussy, how
do you do?"
"I thank you kindly, little dog, I fare as well as you!"
[Old Rhyme]
Once upon a time there was a
Pussy-cat called Ribby, who invited a
little dog called Duchess to tea.
"Come in good time, my dear
Duchess," said Ribby's letter, "and we
will have something so very nice. I am
baking it in a pie-dish--a pie-dish
with a pink rim. You never tasted
anything so good! And YOU shall eat it
all! _I_ will eat muffins, my dear
Duchess!" wrote Ribby.
"I will come very punctually, my
dear Ribby," wrote Duchess; and then
at the end she added--"I hope it isn't
And then she thought that did not
look quite polite; so she scratched out
"isn't mouse" and changed it to "I
hope it will be fine," and she gave her
letter to the postman.
But she thought a great deal about
Ribby's pie, and she read Ribby's letter
over and over again.
"I am dreadfully afraid it WILL be
mouse!" said Duchess to herself--"I
really couldn't, COULDN'T eat mouse
pie. And I shall have to eat it, because
it is a party. And MY pie was going to
be veal and ham. A pink and white
pie-dish! and so is mine; just like
Ribby's dishes; they were both bought
at Tabitha Twitchit's."
Duchess went into her larder and took
the pie off a shelf and looked at it.
"Oh what a good idea! Why
shouldn't I rush along and put my pie
into Ribby's oven when Ribby isn't
Ribby in the meantime had received
Duchess's answer, and as soon as she
was sure that the little dog would
come--she popped HER pie into the
oven. There were two ovens, one
above the other; some other knobs
and handles were only ornamental
and not intended to open. Ribby put
the pie into the lower oven; the door
was very stiff.
"The top oven bakes too quickly,"
said Ribby to herself.
Ribby put on some coal and swept
up the hearth. Then she went out
with a can to the well, for water to fill
up the kettle.
Then she began to set the room in
order, for it was the sitting-room as
well as the kitchen.
When Ribby had laid the table she
went out down the field to the farm,
to fetch milk and butter.
When she came back, she peeped
into the bottom oven; the pie looked
very comfortable.
Ribby put on her shawl and bonnet
and went out again with a basket, to
the village shop to buy a packet of tea,
a pound of lump sugar, and a pot of
And just at the same time, Duchess
came out of HER house, at the other
end of the village.
Ribby met Duchess half-way down
the street, also carrying a basket,
covered with a cloth. They only
bowed to one another; they did not
speak, because they were going to
have a party.
As soon as Duchess had got round
the corner out of sight--she simply
ran! Straight away to Ribby's house!
Ribby went into the shop and
bought what she required, and came
out, after a pleasant gossip with
Cousin Tabitha Twitchit.
Ribby went on to Timothy Baker's
and bought the muffins. Then she
went home.
There seemed to be a sort of
scuffling noise in the back passage, as
she was coming in at the front door.
But there was nobody there.
Duchess in the meantime, had
slipped out at the back door.
"It is a very odd thing that Ribby's
pie was NOT in the oven when I put
mine in! And I can't find it anywhere;
I have looked all over the house. I put
MY pie into a nice hot oven at the top.
I could not turn any of the other
handles; I think that they are all
shams," said Duchess, "but I wish I
could have removed the pie made of
mouse! I cannot think what she has
done with it? I heard Ribby coming
and I had to run out by the back
Duchess went home and brushed
her beautiful black coat; and then she
picked a bunch of flowers in her
garden as a present for Ribby; and
passed the time until the clock struck four.
Ribby--having assured herself by
careful search that there was really no
one hiding in the cupboard or in the
larder--went upstairs to change her dress.
She came downstairs again, and
made the tea, and put the teapot on
the hob. She peeped again into the
BOTTOM oven, the pie had become a
lovely brown, and it was steaming hot.
She sat down before the fire to wait
for the little dog. "I am glad I used the
BOTTOM oven," said Ribby, "the top
one would certainly have been very
much too hot."
Very punctually at four o'clock,
Duchess started to go to the party.
At a quarter past four to the minute,
there came a most genteel little tap-tappity.
"Is Mrs. Ribston at home?" inquired Duchess
in the porch.
"Come in! and how do you do, my
dear Duchess?" cried Ribby. "I hope I
see you well?"
"Quite well, I thank you, and how
do YOU do, my dear Ribby?" said
Duchess. "I've brought you some
flowers; what a delicious smell of pie!"
"Oh, what lovely flowers! Yes, it is
mouse and bacon!"
"I think it wants another five minutes,"
said Ribby. "Just a shade longer; I will
pour out the tea, while we wait.
Do you take sugar, my dear Duchess?"
"Oh yes, please! my dear Ribby; and
may I have a lump upon my nose?"
"With pleasure, my dear Duchess."
Duchess sat up with the sugar on
her nose and sniffed--
"How good that pie smells! I do
love veal and ham--I mean to say
mouse and bacon--"
She dropped the sugar in confusion,
and had to go hunting under the teatable,
so did not see which oven Ribby
opened in order to get out the pie.
Ribby set the pie upon the table;
there was a very savoury smell.
Duchess came out from under the
table-cloth munching sugar, and sat
up on a chair.
"I will first cut the pie for you; I am
going to have muffin and
marmalade," said Ribby.
"I think"--(thought Duchess to
herself)--"I THINK it would be wiser if
I helped myself to pie; though Ribby
did not seem to notice anything when
she was cutting it. What very small
fine pieces it has cooked into! I did not
remember that I had minced it up so
fine; I suppose this is a quicker oven
than my own."
The pie-dish was emptying rapidly!
Duchess had had four helps already,
and was fumbling with the spoon.
"A little more bacon, my dear
Duchess?" said Ribby.
"Thank you, my dear Ribby; I was
only feeling for the patty-pan."
"The patty-pan? my dear Duchess?"
"The patty pan that held up the
pie-crust," said Duchess, blushing
under her black coat.
"Oh, I didn't put one in, my dear
Duchess," said Ribby; "I don't think
that it is necessary in pies made of
Duchess fumbled with the spoon--
"I can't find it!" she said anxiously.
"There isn't a patty-pan," said
Ribby, looking perplexed.
"Yes, indeed, my dear Ribby; where
can it have gone to?" said Duchess.
Duchess looked very much
alarmed, and continued to scoop the
inside of the pie-dish.
"I have only four patty-pans, and
they are all in the cupboard."
Duchess set up a howl.
"I shall die! I shall die! I have
swallowed a patty-pan! Oh, my dear
Ribby, I do feel so ill!"
"It is impossible, my dear Duchess;
there was not a patty-pan."
"Yes there WAS, my dear Ribby, I am
sure I have swallowed it!"
"Let me prop you up with a pillow,
my dear Duchess; where do you think
you feel it?"
"Oh I do feel so ill ALL OVER me, my
dear Ribby."
"Shall I run for the doctor?"
"Oh yes, yes! fetch Dr. Maggotty,
my dear Ribby: he is a Pie himself, he
will certainly understand."
Ribby settled Duchess in an
armchair before the fire, and went
out and hurried to the village to look
for the doctor.
She found him at the smithy.
Ribby explained that her guest had
swallowed a patty-pan.
Dr. Maggotty hopped so fast that
Ribby had to run. It was most
conspicuous. All the village could see
that Ribby was fetching the doctor.
But while Ribby had been hunting
for the doctor--a curious thing had
happened to Duchess, who had been
left by herself, sitting before the fire,
sighing and groaning and feeling very
"How COULD I have swallowed it!
such a large thing as a patty-pan!"
She sat down again, and stared
mournfully at the grate. The fire
crackled and danced, and something
Duchess started! She opened the
door of the TOP oven;--out came a
rich steamy flavour of veal and ham,
and there stood a fine brown pie,--
and through a hole in the top of the
pie-crust there was a glimpse of a
little tin patty-pan!
Duchess drew a long breath--
"Then I must have been eating
MOUSE! . . . No wonder I feel ill. . . .
But perhaps I should feel worse if I
had really swallowed a patty-pan!"
Duchess reflected--"What a very
awkward thing to have to explain to
Ribby! I think I will put MY pie in the
back-yard and say nothing about it.
When I go home, I will run round and
take it away." She put it outside the
back-door, and sat down again by
the fire, and shut her eyes; when
Ribby arrived with the doctor, she
seemed fast asleep.
"I am feeling very much better,"
said Duchess, waking up with a jump.
"I am truly glad to hear it! He has
brought you a pill, my dear Duchess!"
"I think I should feel QUITE well if he
only felt my pulse," said Duchess,
backing away from the magpie, who
sidled up with something in his beak.
"It is only a bread pill, you had
much better take it; drink a little milk,
my dear Duchess!"
"I am feeling very much better, my
dear Ribby," said Duchess. "Do you
not think that I had better go home
before it gets dark?"
"Perhaps it might be wise, my dear
Ribby and Duchess said good-bye
affectionately, and Duchess started
home. Half-way up the lane she
stopped and looked back; Ribby had
gone in and shut her door. Duchess
slipped through the fence, and ran
round to the back of Ribby's house,
and peeped into the yard.
Upon the roof of the pig-stye sat Dr.
Maggotty and three jackdaws. The
jackdaws were eating piecrust, and
the magpie was drinking gravy out of
a patty-pan.
Duchess ran home feeling
uncommonly silly!
When Ribby came out for a pailful
of water to wash up the tea-things,
she found a pink and white pie-dish
lying smashed in the middle of the
Ribby stared with amazement--
"Did you ever see the like! so there
really WAS a patty-pan? . . . But MY
patty-pans are all in the kitchen
cupboard. Well I never did! . . . Next
time I want to give a party--I will
invite Cousin Tabitha Twitchit!"
[For Stephanie
from Cousin B.]
Once upon a time there was a frog
called Mr. Jeremy Fisher; he lived in a
little damp house amongst the
buttercups at the edge of a pond.
The water was all slippy-sloppy in
the larder and in the back passage.
But Mr. Jeremy liked getting his feet
wet; nobody ever scolded him, and he
never caught a cold!
He was quite pleased when he
looked out and saw large drops of
rain, splashing in the pond--
"I will get some worms and go
fishing and catch a dish of minnows
for my dinner," said Mr. Jeremy
Fisher. "If I catch more than five fish, I
will invite my friends Mr. Alderman
Ptolemy Tortoise and Sir Isaac
Newton. The Alderman, however,
eats salad."
Mr. Jeremy put on a mackintosh,
and a pair of shiny galoshes; he took
his rod and basket, and set off with
enormous hops to the place where he
kept his boat.
The boat was round and green, and
very like the other lily-leaves. It was
tied to a water-plant in the middle of
the pond.
Mr. Jeremy took a reed pole, and
pushed the boat out into open water.
"I know a good place for minnows,"
said Mr. Jeremy Fisher.
Mr. Jeremy stuck his pole into the
mud and fastened the boat to it.
Then he settled himself crosslegged
and arranged his fishing
tackle. He had the dearest little red
float. His rod was a tough stalk of
grass, his line was a fine long white
horse-hair, and he tied a little
wriggling worm at the end.
The rain trickled down his back,
and for nearly an hour he stared at
the float.
"This is getting tiresome, I think I
should like some lunch," said Mr.
Jeremy Fisher.
He punted back again amongst the
water-plants, and took some lunch
out of his basket.
"I will eat a butterfly sandwich,
and wait till the shower is over," said
Mr. Jeremy Fisher.
A great big water-beetle came up
underneath the lily leaf and tweaked
the toe of one of his galoshes.
Mr. Jeremy crossed his legs up
shorter, out of reach, and went on
eating his sandwich.
Once or twice something moved
about with a rustle and a splash
amongst the rushes at the side of the
"I trust that is not a rat," said Mr.
Jeremy Fisher; "I think I had better get
away from here."
Mr. Jeremy shoved the boat out
again a little way, and dropped in the
bait. There was a bite almost directly;
the float gave a tremendous bobbit!
"A minnow! a minnow! I have him
by the nose!" cried Mr. Jeremy Fisher,
jerking up his rod.
But what a horrible surprise!
Instead of a smooth fat minnow, Mr.
Jeremy landed little Jack Sharp, the
stickleback, covered with spines!
The stickleback floundered about
the boat, pricking and snapping until
he was quite out of breath. Then he
jumped back into the water.
And a shoal of other little fishes put
their heads out, and laughed at Mr.
Jeremy Fisher.
And while Mr. Jeremy sat
disconsolately on the edge of his
boat--sucking his sore fingers and
peering down into the water--a MUCH
worse thing happened; a really
FRIGHTFUL thing it would have been, if
Mr. Jeremy had not been wearing a
A great big enormous trout came
up--ker-pflop-p-p-p! with a splash--
and it seized Mr. Jeremy with a snap,
"Ow! Ow! Ow!"--and then it turned
and dived down to the bottom of the
But the trout was so displeased
with the taste of the mackintosh, that
in less than half a minute it spat him
out again; and the only thing it
swallowed was Mr. Jeremy's galoshes.
Mr. Jeremy bounced up to the
surface of the water, like a cork and
the bubbles out of a soda water
bottle; and he swam with all his
might to the edge of the pond.
He scrambled out on the first bank
he came to, and he hopped home
across the meadow with his
mackintosh all in tatters.
"What a mercy that was not a
pike!" said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. "I have
lost my rod and basket; but it does
not much matter, for I am sure I
should never have dared to go fishing
He put some sticking plaster on his
fingers, and his friends both came to
dinner. He could not offer them fish,
but he had something else in his
Sir Isaac Newton wore his black
and gold waistcoat.
And Mr. Alderman Ptolemy
Tortoise brought a salad with him in a
string bag.
And instead of a nice dish of
minnows, they had a roasted
grasshopper with lady-bird sauce,
which frogs consider a beautiful treat;
but _I_ think it must have been nasty!
This is a fierce bad Rabbit; look at
his savage whiskers and his claws and
his turned-up tail.
This is a nice gentle Rabbit. His
mother has given him a carrot.
The bad Rabbit would like some
He doesn't say "Please." He takes it!
And he scratches the good Rabbit
very badly.
The good Rabbit creeps away and
hides in a hole. It feels sad.
This is a man with a gun.
He sees something sitting on a
bench. He thinks it is a very funny
He comes creeping up behind the
And then he shoots--BANG!
This is what happens--
But this is all he finds on the bench
when he rushes up with his gun.
The good Rabbit peeps out of its
hole . . .
. . . and it sees the bad Rabbit
tearing past--without any tail or
This is a Pussy called Miss Moppet;
she thinks she has heard a mouse!
This is the Mouse peeping out
behind the cupboard and making
fun of Miss Moppet. He is not afraid
of a kitten.
This is Miss Moppet jumping just
too late; she misses the Mouse and
hits her own head.
She thinks it is a very hard
The Mouse watches Miss Moppet
from the top of the cupboard.
Miss Moppet ties up her head in a
duster and sits before the fire.
The Mouse thinks she is looking
very ill. He comes sliding down the
Miss Moppet looks worse and
worse. The Mouse comes a little
Miss Moppet holds her poor head in
her paws and looks at him through a
hole in the duster. The Mouse comes
VERY close.
And then all of a sudden--Miss
Moppet jumps upon the Mouse!
And because the Mouse has teased
Miss Moppet--Miss Moppet thinks she
will tease the Mouse, which is not at
all nice of Miss Moppet.
She ties him up in the duster and
tosses it about like a ball.
But she forgot about that hole in
the duster; and when she untied it--
there was no Mouse!
He has wriggled out and run away;
and he is dancing a jig on top of the
[Dedicated to All Pickles,
--Especially to Those That Get upon My Garden Wall]
Once upon a time there were three
little kittens, and their names were
Mittens, Tom Kitten, and Moppet.
They had dear little fur coats of
their own; and they tumbled about
the doorstep and played in the dust.
But one day their mother--Mrs.
Tabitha Twitchit--expected friends to
tea; so she fetched the kittens indoors,
to wash and dress them, before the
fine company arrived.
First she scrubbed their faces (this
one is Moppet).
Then she brushed their fur (this
one is Mittens).
Then she combed their tails and
whiskers (this is Tom Kitten).
Tom was very naughty, and he
Mrs. Tabitha dressed Moppet and
Mittens in clean pinafores and
tuckers; and then she took all sorts of
elegant uncomfortable clothes out of
a chest of drawers, in order to dress
up her son Thomas.
Tom Kitten was very fat, and he
had grown; several buttons burst off.
His mother sewed them on again.
When the three kittens were ready,
Mrs. Tabitha unwisely turned them
out into the garden, to be out of the
way while she made hot buttered
"Now keep your frocks clean,
children! You must walk on your hind
legs. Keep away from the dirty ashpit,
and from Sally Henny Penny, and
from the pigsty and the Puddleducks."
Moppet and Mittens walked down
the garden path unsteadily. Presently
they trod upon their pinafores and fell
on their noses.
When they stood up there were
several green smears!
"Let us climb up the rockery and sit
on the garden wall," said Moppet.
They turned their pinafores back to
front and went up with a skip and a
jump; Moppet's white tucker fell
down into the road.
Tom Kitten was quite unable to
jump when walking upon his hind
legs in trousers. He came up the
rockery by degrees, breaking the ferns
and shedding buttons right and left.
He was all in pieces when he
reached the top of the wall.
Moppet and Mittens tried to pull
him together; his hat fell off, and the
rest of his buttons burst.
While they were in difficulties, there
was a pit pat, paddle pat! and the
three Puddle-ducks came along the
hard high road, marching one behind
the other and doing the goose step--
pit pat, paddle pat! pit pat, waddle
They stopped and stood in a row
and stared up at the kittens. They had
very small eyes and looked surprised.
Then the two duck-birds, Rebeccah
and Jemima Puddle-duck, picked up
the hat and tucker and put them on.
Mittens laughed so that she fell off
the wall. Moppet and Tom descended
after her; the pinafores and all the
rest of Tom's clothes came off on the
way down.
"Come! Mr. Drake Puddle-duck,"
said Moppet. "Come and help us to
dress him! Come and button up
Mr. Drake Puddle-duck advanced
in a slow sideways manner and
picked up the various articles.
But he put them on HIMSELF! They
fitted him even worse than Tom Kitten.
"It's a very fine morning!" said Mr.
Drake Puddle-duck.
And he and Jemima and Rebeccah
Puddle-duck set off up the road,
keeping step--pit pat, paddle pat! pit
pat, waddle pat!
Then Tabitha Twitchit came down
the garden and found her kittens on
the wall with no clothes on.
She pulled them off the wall,
smacked them, and took them back
to the house.
"My friends will arrive in a minute,
and you are not fit to be seen; I am
affronted," said Mrs. Tabitha
She sent them upstairs; and I am
sorry to say she told her friends that
they were in bed with the measles--
which was not true.
Quite the contrary; they were not in bed:
NOT in the least.
Somehow there were very extra--
ordinary noises overhead, which
disturbed the dignity and repose of
the tea party.
And I think that some day I shall
have to make another, larger book, to
tell you more about Tom Kitten!
As for the Puddle-ducks--they
went into a pond.
The clothes all came off directly,
because there were no buttons.
And Mr. Drake Puddle-duck, and
Jemima and Rebeccah, have been
looking for them ever since.
[A Farmyard Tale for
Ralph and Betsy]
What a funny sight it is to see a
brood of ducklings with a hen!
Listen to the story of Jemima
Puddle-duck, who was annoyed
because the farmer's wife would not
let her hatch her own eggs.
Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Rebeccah
Puddle-duck, was perfectly willing to
leave the hatching to someone else--
"I have not the patience to sit on a
nest for twenty-eight days; and no
more have you, Jemima. You would
let them go cold; you know you
"I wish to hatch my own eggs; I will
hatch them all by myself," quacked
Jemima Puddle-duck.
She tried to hide her eggs; but they
were always found and carried off.
Jemima Puddle-duck became quite
desperate. She determined to make a
nest right away from the farm.
She set off on a fine spring
afternoon along the cart road that
leads over the hill.
She was wearing a shawl and a
poke bonnet.
When she reached the top of the
hill, she saw a wood in the distance.
She thought that it looked a safe
quiet spot.
Jemima Puddle-duck was not much
in the habit of flying. She ran downhill
a few yards flapping her shawl, and
then she jumped off into the air.
She flew beautifully when she had
got a good start.
She skimmed along over the
treetops until she saw an open place
in the middle of the wood, where the
trees and brushwood had been
Jemima alighted rather heavily and
began to waddle about in search of a
convenient dry nesting place. She
rather fancied a tree stump amongst
some tall foxgloves.
But--seated upon the stump, she
was startled to find an elegantly
dressed gentleman reading a
newspaper. He had black prick ears
and sandy colored whiskers.
"Quack?" said Jemima Puddleduck,
with her head and her bonnet
on the one side--"Quack?"
The gentleman raised his eyes
above his newspaper and looked
curiously at Jemima--
"Madam, have you lost your way?"
said he. He had a long bushy tail
which he was sitting upon, as the
stump was somewhat damp.
Jemima thought him mighty civil
and handsome. She explained that she
had not lost her way, but that she was
trying to find a convenient dry nesting
"Ah! is that so? Indeed!" said the
gentleman with sandy whiskers,
looking curiously at Jemima. He
folded up the newspaper and put it in
his coattail pocket.
Jemima complained of the
superfluous hen.
"Indeed! How interesting! I wish I
could meet with that fowl. I would
teach it to mind its own business!
"But as to a nest--there is no
difficulty: I have a sackful of feathers
in my woodshed. No, my dear
madam, you will be in nobody's way.
You may sit there as long as you like,"
said the bushy long-tailed gentleman.
He led the way to a very retired,
dismal-looking house amongst the
It was built of faggots and turf, and
there were two broken pails, one on
top of another, by way of a chimney.
"This is my summer residence; you
would not find my earth--my winter
house--so convenient," said the
hospitable gentleman.
There was a tumbledown shed at
the back of the house, made of old
soap boxes. The gentleman opened
the door and showed Jemima in.
The shed was almost quite full of
feathers--it was almost suffocating;
but it was comfortable and very soft.
Jemima Puddle-duck was rather
surprised to find such a vast quantity
of feathers. But it was very
comfortable; and she made a nest
without any trouble at all.
When she came out, the sandywhiskered
gentleman was sitting on a
log reading the newspaper--at least
he had it spread out, but he was
looking over the top of it.
He was so polite that he seemed
almost sorry to let Jemima go home
for the night. He promised to take
great care of her nest until she came
back again the next day.
He said he loved eggs and
ducklings; he should be proud to see a
fine nestful in his woodshed.
Jemima Puddle-duck came every
afternoon; she laid nine eggs in the
nest. They were greeny white and very
large. The foxy gentleman admired
them immensely. He used to turn
them over and count them when
Jemima was not there.
At last Jemima told him that she
intended to begin to sit next day--"and
I will bring a bag of corn with me, so
that I need never leave my nest until
the eggs are hatched. They might catch
cold," said the conscientious Jemima.
"Madam, I beg you not to trouble
yourself with a bag; I will provide
oats. But before you commence your
tedious sitting, I intend to give you a
treat. Let us have a dinner party all to
"May I ask you to bring up some
herbs from the farm garden to make
a savory omelet? Sage and thyme, and
mint and two onions, and some
parsley. I will provide lard for the
stuff--lard for the omelet," said the
hospitable gentleman with sandy
Jemima Puddle-duck was a
simpleton: not even the mention of
sage and onions made her suspicious.
She went round the farm garden,
nibbling off snippets of all the
different sorts of herbs that are used
for stuffing roast duck.
And she waddled into the kitchen
and got two onions out of a basket.
The collie dog Kep met her coming
out, "What are you doing with those
onions? Where do you go every
afternoon by yourself, Jemima
Jemima was rather in awe of the
collie; she told him the whole story.
The collie listened, with his wise
head on one side; he grinned when
she described the polite gentleman
with sandy whiskers.
He asked several questions about
the wood and about the exact position
of the house and shed.
Then he went out, and trotted
down the village. He went to look for
two foxhound puppies who were out
at walk with the butcher.
Jemima Puddle-duck went up the
cart road for the last time, on a sunny
afternoon. She was rather burdened
with bunches of herbs and two onions
in a bag.
She flew over the wood, and
alighted opposite the house of the
bushy long-tailed gentleman.
He was sitting on a log; he sniffed
the air and kept glancing uneasily
round the wood. When Jemima
alighted he quite jumped.
"Come into the house as soon as
you have looked at your eggs. Give me
the herbs for the omelet. Be sharp!"
He was rather abrupt. Jemima
Puddle-duck had never heard him
speak like that.
She felt surprised and uncomfortable.
While she was inside she heard
pattering feet round the back of the
shed. Someone with a black nose
sniffed at the bottom of the door, and
them locked it.
Jemima became much alarmed.
A moment afterward there were
most awful noises--barking, baying,
growls and howls, squealing and
And nothing more was ever seen of
that foxy-whiskered gentleman.
Presently Kep opened the door of
the shed and let out Jemima Puddleduck.
Unfortunately the puppies rushed
in and gobbled up all the eggs before
he could stop them.
He had a bite on his ear, and both
the puppies were limping.
Jemima Puddle-duck was escorted
home in tears on account of those
She laid some more in June, and she
was permitted to keep them herself:
but only four of them hatched.
Jemima Puddle-duck said that it
was because of her nerves; but she
had always been a bad sitter.
[In Remembrance of "Sammy,"
the Intelligent Pink-Eyed Representative of
a Persecuted (But Irrepressible) Race.
An Affectionate Little Friend,
and Most Accomplished Thief!]
Once upon a time there was an old
cat, called Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit, who
was an anxious parent. She used to
lose her kittens continually, and
whenever they were lost they were
always in mischief!
On baking day she determined to
shut them up in a cupboard.
She caught Moppet and Mittens,
but she could not find Tom.
Mrs. Tabitha went up and down all
over the house, mewing for Tom
Kitten. She looked in the pantry under
the staircase, and she searched the
best spare bedroom that was all
covered up with dust sheets. She went
right upstairs and looked into the
attics, but she could not find him
It was an old, old house, full of
cupboards and passages. Some of the
walls were four feet thick, and there
used to be queer noises inside them,
as if there might be a little secret
staircase. Certainly there were odd
little jagged doorways in the wainscot,
and things disappeared at night--
especially cheese and bacon.
Mrs. Tabitha became more and
more distracted and mewed
While their mother was searching
the house, Moppet and Mittens had
got into mischief.
The cupboard door was not locked,
so they pushed it open and came out.
They went straight to the dough
which was set to rise in a pan before
the fire.
They patted it with their little soft
paws--"Shall we make dear little
muffins?" said Mittens to Moppet.
But just at that moment somebody
knocked at the front door, and
Moppet jumped into the flour barrel
in a fright.
Mittens ran away to the dairy and
hid in an empty jar on the stone shelf
where the milk pans stand.
The visitor was a neighbor, Mrs.
Ribby; she had called to borrow some
Mr. Tabitha came downstairs
mewing dreadfully--"Come in,
Cousin Ribby, come in, and sit ye
down! I'm in sad trouble, Cousin
Ribby," said Tabitha, shedding tears.
"I've lost my dear son Thomas; I'm
afraid the rats have got him." She
wiped her eyes with her apron.
"He's a bad kitten, Cousin Tabitha;
he made a cat's cradle of my best
bonnet last time I came to tea. Where
have you looked for him?"
"All over the house! The rats are too
many for me. What a thing it is to
have an unruly family!" said Mrs.
Tabitha Twitchit.
"I'm not afraid of rats; I will help
you to find him; and whip him, too!
What is all that soot in the fender?"
"The chimney wants sweeping--
Oh, dear me, Cousin Ribby--now
Moppet and Mittens are gone!
"They have both got out of the
Ribby and Tabitha set to work to
search the house thoroughly again.
They poked under the beds with
Ribby's umbrella and they rummaged
in cupboards. They even fetched a
candle and looked inside a clothes
chest in one of the attics. They could
not find anything, but once they
heard a door bang and somebody
scuttered downstairs.
"Yes, it is infested with rats," said
Tabitha tearfully. "I caught seven
young ones out of one hole in the back
kitchen, and we had them for dinner
last Saturday. And once I saw the old
father rat--an enormous old rat--
Cousin Ribby. I was just going to jump
upon him, when he showed his yellow
teeth at me and whisked down the
"The rats get upon my nerves,
Cousin Ribby," said Tabitha.
Ribby and Tabitha searched and
searched. They both heard a curious
roly-poly noise under the attic floor.
But there was nothing to be seen.
They returned to the kitchen.
"Here's one of your kittens at least,"
said Ribby, dragging Moppet out of
the flour barrel.
They shook the flour off her and set
her down on the kitchen floor. She
seemed to be in a terrible fright.
"Oh! Mother, Mother," said
Moppet, "there's been an old woman
rat in the kitchen, and she's stolen
some of the dough!"
The two cats ran to look at the
dough pan. Sure enough there were
marks of little scratching fingers, and
a lump of dough was gone!
"Which way did she go, Moppet?"
But Moppet had been too much
frightened to peep out of the barrel
Ribby and Tabitha took her with
them to keep her safely in sight, while
they went on with their search.
They went into the dairy.
The first thing they found was
Mittens, hiding in an empty jar.
They tipped over the jar, and she
scrambled out.
"Oh, Mother, Mother!" said
"Oh! Mother, Mother, there has
been an old man rat in the dairy--a
dreadful 'normous big rat, Mother;
and he's stolen a pat of butter and the
rolling pin."
Ribby and Tabitha looked at one
"A rolling pin and butter! Oh, my
poor son Thomas!" exclaimed
Tabitha, wringing her paws.
"A rolling pin?" said Ribby. "Did we
not hear a roly-poly noise in the attic
when we were looking into that
Ribby and Tabitha rushed upstairs
again. Sure enough the roly-poly noise
was still going on quite distinctly
under the attic floor.
"This is serious, Cousin Tabitha,"
said Ribby. "We must send for John
Joiner at once, with a saw."
Now, this is what had been
happening to Tom Kitten, and it
shows how very unwise it is to go up a
chimney in a very old house, where a
person does not know his way, and
where there are enormous rats.
Tom Kitten did not want to be shut
up in a cupboard. When he saw that
his mother was going to bake, he
determined to hide.
He looked about for a nice
convenient place, and he fixed upon
the chimney.
The fire had only just been lighted,
and it was not hot; but there was a
white choky smoke from the green
sticks. Tom Kitten got upon the fender
and looked up. It was a big oldfashioned
The chimney itself was wide
enough inside for a man to stand up
and walk about. So there was plenty
of room for a little Tom Cat.
He jumped right up into the
fireplace, balancing himself upon the
iron bar where the kettle hangs.
Tom Kitten took another big jump
off the bar and landed on a ledge high
up inside the chimney, knocking down
some soot into the fender.
Tom Kitten coughed and choked
with the smoke; he could hear the
sticks beginning to crackle and burn
in the fireplace down below. He made
up his mind to climb right to the top,
and get out on the slates, and try to
catch sparrows.
"I cannot go back. If I slipped I
might fall in the fire and singe my
beautiful tail and my little blue
The chimney was a very big oldfashioned
one. It was built in the days
when people burnt logs of wood upon
the hearth.
The chimney stack stood up above
the roof like a little stone tower, and
the daylight shone down from the top,
under the slanting slates that kept out
the rain.
Tom Kitten was getting very
frightened! He climbed up, and up,
and up.
Then he waded sideways through
inches of soot. He was like a little
sweep himself.
It was most confusing in the dark.
One flue seemed to lead into another.
There was less smoke, but Tom
Kitten felt quite lost.
He scrambled up and up; but
before he reached the chimney top he
came to a place where somebody had
loosened a stone in the wall. There
were some mutton bones lying about.
"This seems funny," said Tom
Kitten. "Who has been gnawing bones
up here in the chimney? I wish I had
never come! And what a funny smell?
It is something like mouse, only
dreadfully strong. It makes me
sneeze," said Tom Kitten.
He squeezed through the hole in
the wall and dragged himself along a
most uncomfortably tight passage
where there was scarcely any light.
He groped his way carefully for
several yards; he was at the back of
the skirting board in the attic, where
there is a little mark * in the picture.
All at once he fell head over heels in
the dark, down a hole, and landed on
a heap of very dirty rags.
When Tom Kitten picked himself up
and looked about him, he found
himself in a place that he had never
seen before, although he had lived all
his life in the house. It was a very
small stuffy fusty room, with boards,
and rafters, and cobwebs, and lath
and plaster.
Opposite to him--as far away as he
could sit--was an enormous rat.
"What do you mean by tumbling
into my bed all covered with smuts?"
said the rat, chattering his teeth.
"Please, sir, the chimney wants
sweeping," said poor Tom Kitten.
"Anna Maria! Anna Maria!"
squeaked the rat. There was a
pattering noise and an old woman rat
poked her head round a rafter.
All in a minute she rushed upon
Tom Kitten, and before he knew what
was happening. . .
. . . his coat was pulled off, and he
was rolled up in a bundle, and tied
with string in very hard knots.
Anna Maria did the tying. The old
rat watched her and took snuff. When
she had finished, they both sat staring
at him with their mouths open.
"Anna Maria," said the old man rat
(whose name was Samuel Whiskers),
"Anna Maria, make me a kitten
dumpling roly-poly pudding for my
"It requires dough and a pat of
butter and a rolling pin," said Anna
Maria, considering Tom Kitten with
her head on one side.
"No," said Samuel Whiskers, "make
it properly, Anna Maria, with
"Nonsense! Butter and dough,"
replied Anna Maria.
The two rats consulted together for
a few minutes and then went away.
Samuel Whiskers got through a
hole in the wainscot and went boldly
down the front staircase to the dairy
to get the butter. He did not meet
He made a second journey for the
rolling pin. He pushed it in front of
him with his paws, like a brewer's
man trundling a barrel.
He could hear Ribby and Tabitha
talking, but they were too busy
lighting the candle to look into the
They did not see him.
Anna Maria went down by way of
skirting board and a window shutter
to the kitchen to steal the dough.
She borrowed a small saucer and
scooped up the dough with her paws.
She did not observe Moppet.
While Tom Kitten was left alone
under the floor of the attic, he
wriggled about and tried to mew for
But his mouth was full of soot and
cobwebs, and he was tied up in such
very tight knots, he could not make
anybody hear him.
Except a spider who came out of a
crack in the ceiling and examined the
knots critically, from a safe distance.
It was a judge of knots because it
had a habit of tying up unfortunate
bluebottles. It did not offer to assist
Tom Kitten wriggled and squirmed
until he was quite exhausted.
Presently the rats came back and
set to work to make him into a
dumpling. First they smeared him
with butter, and then they rolled him
in the dough.
"Will not the string be very
indigestible, Anna Maria?" inquired
Samuel Whiskers.
Anna Maria said she thought that it
was of no consequence; but she
wished that Tom Kitten would hold
his head still, as it disarranged the
pastry. She laid hold of his ears.
Tom Kitten bit and spit, and
mewed and wriggled; and the rolling
pin went roly-poly, roly; roly-poly,
roly. The rats each held an end.
"His tail is sticking out! You did not
fetch enough dough, Anna Maria."
"I fetched as much as I could
carry," replied Anna Maria.
"I do not think"--said Samuel
Whiskers, pausing to take a look at
Tom Kitten--"I do NOT think it will be
a good pudding. It smells sooty."
Anna Maria was about to argue the
point when all at once there began to
be other sounds up above--the
rasping noise of a saw, and the noise
of a little dog, scratching and yelping!
The rats dropped the rolling pin
and listened attentively.
"We are discovered and interrupted,
Anna Maria; let us collect our
property--and other people's--and
depart at once.
"I fear that we shall be obliged to
leave this pudding.
"But I am persuaded that the knots
would have proved indigestible,
whatever you may urge to the
"Come away at once and help me
to tie up some mutton bones in a
counterpane," said Anna Maria. "I
have got half a smoked ham hidden in
the chimney."
So it happened that by the time
John Joiner had got the plank up--
there was nobody here under the floor
except the rolling pin and Tom Kitten
in a very dirty dumpling!
But there was a strong smell of
rats; and John Joiner spent the rest of
the morning sniffing and whining,
and wagging his tail, and going round
and round with his head in the hole
like a gimlet.
Then he nailed the plank down
again and put his tools in his bag, and
came downstairs.
The cat family had quite recovered.
They invited him to stay to dinner.
The dumpling had been peeled off
Tom Kitten and made separately into
a bag pudding, with currants in it to
hide the smuts.
They had been obliged to put Tom
Kitten into a hot bath to get the butter
John Joiner smelt the pudding; but
he regretted that he had not time to
stay to dinner, because he had just
finished making a wheelbarrow for
Miss Potter, and she had ordered two
hen coops.
And when I was going to the post
late in the afternoon--I looked up the
land from the corner, and I saw Mr.
Samuel Whiskers and his wife on the
run, with big bundles on a little
wheelbarrow, which looked very
much like mine.
They were just turning in at the
gate to the barn of Farmer Potatoes.
Samuel Whiskers was puffing and
out of breath. Anna Maria was still
arguing in shrill tones.
She seemed to know her way, and
she seemed to have a quantity of
I am sure _I_ never gave her leave to
borrow my wheelbarrow!
They went into the barn and
hauled their parcels with a bit of
string to the top of the haymow.
After that, there were no more rats
for a long time at Tabitha Twitchit's.
As for Farmer Potatoes, he has been
driven nearly distracted. There are
rats, and rats, and rats in his barn!
They eat up the chicken food, and
steal the oats and bran, and make
holes in the meal bags.
And they are all descended from
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Whiskers--
children and grandchildren and
There is no end to them!
Moppet and Mittens have grown up
into very good rat-catchers.
They go out rat-catching in the
village, and they find plenty of
employment. They charge so much a
dozen and earn their living very
They hang up the rats' tails in a
row on the barn door, to show how
many they have caught--dozens and
dozens of them.
But Tom Kitten has always been
afraid of a rat; he never durst face
anything that is bigger than--
A Mouse.
[For All Little Friends of
Mr. McGregor and Peter and Benjamin]
It is said that the effect of eating
too much lettuce is "soporific."
I have never felt sleepy after eating
lettuces; but then I am not a
They certainly had a very soporific
effect upon the Flopsy Bunnies!
When Benjamin Bunny grew up,
he married his Cousin Flopsy.
They had a large family, and they
were very improvident and cheerful.
I do not remember the separate
names of their children; they were
generally called the "Flopsy Bunnies."
As there was not always quite
enough to eat,--Benjamin used to
borrow cabbages from Flopsy's
brother, Peter Rabbit, who kept a
nursery garden.
Sometimes Peter Rabbit had no
cabbages to spare.
When this happened, the Flopsy
Bunnies went across the field to a
rubbish heap, in the ditch outside
Mr. McGregor's garden.
Mr. McGregor's rubbish heap
was a mixture. There were jam
pots and paper bags, and mountains
of chopped grass from the
mowing machine (which always
tasted oily), and some rotten
vegetable marrows and an old boot
or two. One day--oh joy!--there
were a quantity of overgrown
lettuces, which had "shot" into
The Flopsy Bunnies simply stuffed
themselves with lettuces. By degrees,
one after another, they were overcome
with slumber, and lay down in the
mown grass.
Benjamin was not so much
overcome as his children. Before
going to sleep he was sufficiently
wide awake to put a paper bag
over his head to keep off the flies.
The little Flopsy Bunnies slept
delightfully in the warm sun.
From the lawn beyond the garden
came the distant clacketty sound
of the mowing machine. The bluebottles
buzzed about the wall,
and a little old mouse picked over
the rubbish among the jam pots.
(I can tell you her name, she
was called Thomasina Tittlemouse,
a woodmouse with a long
She rustled across the paper
bag, and awakened Benjamin
The mouse apologized profusely,
and said that she knew
Peter Rabbit.
While she and Benjamin were
talking, close under the wall, they
heard a heavy tread above their
heads; and suddenly Mr. McGregor
emptied out a sackful of
lawn mowings right upon the top
of the sleeping Flopsy Bunnies!
Benjamin shrank down under his
paper bag. The mouse hid in a
jam pot.
The little rabbits smiled sweetly
in their sleep under the shower of
grass; they did not awake because
the lettuces had been so soporific.
They dreamt that their mother
Flopsy was tucking them up in a
hay bed.
Mr. McGregor looked down
after emptying his sack. He saw
some funny little brown tips of
ears sticking up through the lawn
mowings. He stared at them for
some time.
Presently a fly settled on one of
them and it moved.
Mr. McGregor climbed down on
to the rubbish heap--
"One, two, three, four! five! six
leetle rabbits!" said he as he
dropped them into his sack. The
Flopsy Bunnies dreamt that their
mother was turning them over in
bed. They stirred a little in their
sleep, but still they did not wake
Mr. McGregor tied up the sack
and left it on the wall.
He went to put away the mowing
While he was gone, Mrs. Flopsy
Bunny (who had remained at
home) came across the field.
She looked suspiciously at the
sack and wondered where everybody
Then the mouse came out of her
jam pot, and Benjamin took the
paper bag off his head, and they
told the doleful tale.
Benjamin and Flopsy were in
despair, they could not undo the
But Mrs. Tittlemouse was a
resourceful person. She nibbled a
hole in the bottom corner of the
The little rabbits were pulled
out and pinched to wake them.
Their parents stuffed the empty
sack with three rotten vegetable
marrows, an old blackingbrush
and two decayed turnips.
Then they all hid under a bush
and watched for Mr. McGregor.
Mr. McGregor came back and
picked up the sack, and carried it
He carried it hanging down, as
if it were rather heavy.
The Flopsy Bunnies followed at
a safe distance.
They watched him go into
his house.
And then they crept up to
the window to listen.
Mr. McGregor threw down the
sack on the stone floor in a way
that would have been extremely
painful to the Flopsy Bunnies, if
they had happened to have been
inside it.
They could hear him drag his
chair on the flags, and chuckle--
"One, two, three, four, five, six
leetle rabbits!" said Mr. McGregor.
"Eh? What's that? What have
they been spoiling now?" enquired
Mrs. McGregor.
"One, two, three, four, five, six
leetle fat rabbits!" repeated Mr.
McGregor, counting on his fingers
--"one, two, three--"
"Don't you be silly: what do you
mean, you silly old man?"
"In the sack! one, two, three,
four, five, six!" replied Mr. McGregor.
(The youngest Flopsy Bunny got
upon the windowsill.)
Mrs. McGregor took hold of the
sack and felt it. She said she could
feel six, but they must be OLD rabbits,
because they were so hard
and all different shapes.
"Not fit to eat; but the skins will
do fine to line my old cloak."
"Line your old cloak?" shouted
Mr. McGregor--"I shall sell them
and buy myself baccy!"
"Rabbit tobacco! I shall skin
them and cut off their heads."
Mrs. McGregor untied the
sack and put her hand inside.
When she felt the vegetables
she became very very angry.
She said that Mr. McGregor
had "done it a purpose."
And Mr. McGregor was very
angry too. One of the rotten
marrows came flying through
the kitchen window, and hit
the youngest Flopsy Bunny.
It was rather hurt.
Then Benjamin and Flopsy
thought that it was time to go
So Mr. McGregor did not get his
tobacco, and Mrs. McGregor did
not get her rabbit skins.
But next Christmas Thomasina
Tittlemouse got a present of
enough rabbit wool to make herself
a cloak and a hood, and a
handsome muff and a pair of
warm mittens.
Little Book]
Once upon a time there was
a woodmouse, and her name
was Mrs. Tittlemouse.
She lived in a bank under a hedge.
Such a funny house! There
were yards and yards of sandy
passages, leading to storerooms
and nut cellars and
seed cellars, all amongst the
roots of the hedge.
There was a kitchen, a parlor,
a pantry, and a larder.
Also, there was Mrs. Tittlemouse's
bedroom, where she
slept in a little box bed!
Mrs. Tittlemouse was a most
terribly tidy particular little
mouse, always sweeping and
dusting the soft sandy floors.
Sometimes a beetle lost its way
in the passages.
"Shuh! shuh! little dirty feet!"
said Mrs. Tittlemouse, clattering
her dustpan.
And one day a little old woman
ran up and down in a red spotty
"Your house is on fire, Mother
Ladybird! Fly away home to your
Another day, a big fat spider
came in to shelter from the rain.
"Beg pardon, is this not Miss
"Go away, you bold bad spider!
Leaving ends of cobweb all over
my nice clean house!"
She bundled the spider out at a
He let himself down the hedge
with a long thin bit of string.
Mrs. Tittlemouse went on her
way to a distant storeroom, to
fetch cherrystones and thistledown
seed for dinner.
All along the passage she
sniffed, and looked at the floor.
"I smell a smell of honey; is it
the cowslips outside, in the hedge?
I am sure I can see the marks of
little dirty feet."
Suddenly round a corner, she
met Babbitty Bumble--"Zizz,
Bizz, Bizzz!" said the bumble bee.
Mrs. Tittlemouse looked at her
severely. She wished that she had
a broom.
"Good-day, Babbitty Bumble; I
should be glad to buy some beeswax.
But what are you doing
down here? Why do you always
come in at a window, and say,
Zizz, Bizz, Bizzz?" Mrs. Tittlemouse
began to get cross.
"Zizz, Wizz, Wizzz!" replied
Babbitty Bumble in a peevish
squeak. She sidled down a passage,
and disappeared into a
storeroom which had been used
for acorns.
Mrs. Tittlemouse had eaten the
acorns before Christmas; the
storeroom ought to have been
But it was full of untidy dry
Mrs. Tittlemouse began to pull out the
moss. Three or four other bees put
their heads out, and buzzed fiercely.
"I am not in the habit of letting
lodgings; this is an intrusion!"
said Mrs. Tittlemouse.
"I will have them turned out
--" "Buzz! Buzz! Buzzz!"--"I
wonder who would help me?"
"Bizz, Wizz, Wizzz!"
--"I will not have Mr. Jackson;
he never wipes his feet."
Mrs. Tittlemouse decided to
leave the bees till after dinner.
When she got back to the parlor,
she heard some one coughing
in a fat voice; and there sat Mr.
Jackson himself.
He was sitting all over a
small rocking chair, twiddling his
thumbs and smiling, with his feet
on the fender.
He lived in a drain below the
hedge, in a very dirty wet ditch.
"How do you do, Mr. Jackson?
Deary me, you have got
very wet!"
"Thank you, thank you,
thank you, Mrs. Tittlemouse!
I'll sit awhile and dry myself,"
said Mr. Jackson.
He sat and smiled, and the
water dripped off his coat
tails. Mrs. Tittlemouse went
round with a mop.
He sat such a while that he had
to be asked if he would take some
First she offered him cherrystones.
"Thank you, thank you,
Mrs. Tittlemouse! No teeth, no
teeth, no teeth!" said Mr. Jackson.
He opened his mouth most
unnecessarily wide; he certainly had
not a tooth in his head.
Then she offered him thistledown
seed--"Tiddly, widdly,
widdly! Pouff, pouff, puff." said
Mr. Jackson. He blew the thistledown
all over the room.
"Thank you, thank you, thank
you, Mrs. Tittlemouse! Now what
I really--REALLY should like--
would be a little dish of honey!"
"I am afraid I have not got
any, Mr. Jackson!" said Mrs.
"Tiddly, widdly, widdly,
Mrs. Tittlemouse!" said the
smiling Mr. Jackson, "I can SMELL it;
that is why I came to call."
Mr. Jackson rose ponderously
from the table, and began
to look into the cupboards.
Mrs. Tittlemouse followed him with
a dishcloth, to wipe his large
wet footmarks off the parlor floor.
When he had convinced himself
that there was no honey in the
cupboards, he began to walk
down the passage.
"Indeed, indeed, you will stick
fast, Mr. Jackson!"
"Tiddly, widdly, widdly, Mrs.
First he squeezed into the pantry.
"Tiddly, widdly, widdly? No
honey? No honey, Mrs. Tittlemouse?"
There were three creepy-crawly
people hiding in the plate rack.
Two of them got away; but the
littlest one he caught.
Then he squeezed into the larder.
Miss Butterfly was tasting the
sugar; but she flew away out of
the window.
"Tiddly, widdly, widdly, Mrs.
Tittlemouse; you seem to have
plenty of visitors!"
"And without any invitation!"
said Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse.
They went along the sandy
passage--"Tiddly, widdly--" "Buzz!
Wizz! Wizz!"
He met Babbitty round a corner,
and snapped her up, and put
her down again.
"I do not like bumble bees. They
are all over bristles," said Mr.
Jackson, wiping his mouth with
his coat sleeve.
"Get out, you nasty old toad!" shrieked Babbitty Bumble.
"I shall go distracted!" scolded Mrs. Tittlemouse.
She shut herself up in the nut
cellar while Mr. Jackson pulled out
the bees-nest. He seemed to have
no objection to stings.
When Mrs. Tittlemouse ventured
to come out--everybody
had gone away.
But the untidiness was something
dreadful--"Never did I see
such a mess--smears of honey;
and moss, and thistledown--and
marks of big and little dirty feet--
all over my nice clean house!"
She gathered up the moss
and the remains of the beeswax.
Then she went out and
fetched some twigs, to partly
close up the front door.
"I will make it too small for
Mr. Jackson!"
She fetched soft soap, and
flannel, and a new scrubbing
brush from the storeroom.
But she was too tired to do any
more. First she fell asleep in
her chair, and then she went
to bed.
"Will it ever be tidy again?"
said poor Mrs. Tittlemouse.
Next morning she got up
very early and began a spring
cleaning which lasted a fortnight.
She swept, and scrubbed,
and dusted; and she rubbed
up the furniture with beeswax,
and polished her little tin
When it was all beautifully
neat and clean, she gave a
party to five other little mice,
without Mr. Jackson.
He smelt the party and
came up the bank, but he
could not squeeze in at the
So they handed him out acorn cupfuls of honeydew through the window,
and he was not at all offended.
He sat outside in the sun, and said--"Tiddly, widdly, widdly! Your very
good health, Mrs. Tittlemouse!"
[For Many Unknown Little Friends,
Including Monica]
Once upon a time there was a
little fat comfortable grey squirrel,
called Timmy Tiptoes. He had a
nest thatched with leaves in the
top of a tall tree; and he had a
little squirrel wife called Goody.
Timmy Tiptoes sat out, enjoying
the breeze; he whisked his tail and
chuckled--"Little wife Goody, the
nuts are ripe; we must lay up a
store for winter and spring."
Goody Tiptoes was busy pushing
moss under the thatch--"The nest
is so snug, we shall be sound
asleep all winter." "Then we shall
wake up all the thinner, when
there is nothing to eat in springtime,"
replied prudent Timothy.
When Timmy and Goody
Tiptoes came to the nut
thicket, they found other
squirrels were there already.
Timmy took off his jacket
and hung it on a twig; they
worked away quietly by themselves.
Every day they made several
journeys and picked quantities
of nuts. They carried them
away in bags, and stored
them in several hollow
stumps near the tree where
they had built their nest.
When these stumps were full,
they began to empty the bags into
a hole high up a tree, that had
belonged to a woodpecker; the nuts
rattled down--down--down inside.
"How shall you ever get them
out again? It is like a money box!"
said Goody.
"I shall be much thinner before
springtime, my love," said Timmy
Tiptoes, peeping into the hole.
They did collect quantities--
because they did not lose them!
Squirrels who bury their nuts in
the ground lose more than half,
because they cannot remember
the place.
The most forgetful squirrel in
the wood was called Silvertail. He
began to dig, and he could not
remember. And then he dug again
and found some nuts that did not
belong to him; and there was a
fight. And other squirrels began to
dig,--the whole wood was in
Unfortunately, just at this time
a flock of little birds flew by, from
bush to bush, searching for green
caterpillars and spiders. There
were several sorts of little birds,
twittering different songs.
The first one sang--"Who's bin
digging-up MY nuts? Who's-beendigging-
up MY nuts?"
And another sang--"Little bita
bread and-NO-cheese! Little bit-abread
The squirrels followed and listened.
The first little bird flew into
the bush where Timmy and Goody
Tiptoes were quietly tying up their
bags, and it sang--"Who's-bin
digging-up MY nuts? Who's been
digging-up MY-nuts?"
Timmy Tiptoes went on with
his work without replying; indeed,
the little bird did not expect an
answer. It was only singing its
natural song, and it meant nothing
at all.
But when the other squirrels
heard that song, they rushed upon
Timmy Tiptoes and cuffed and
scratched him, and upset his bag
of nuts. The innocent little bird
which had caused all the mischief,
flew away in a fright!
Timmy rolled over and over,
and then turned tail and fled
towards his nest, followed by
a crowd of squirrels shouting--
"Who's-been digging-up MY-nuts?"
They caught him and dragged
him up the very same tree, where
there was the little round hole,
and they pushed him in. The hole
was much too small for Timmy
Tiptoes' figure. They squeezed
him dreadfully, it was a wonder
they did not break his ribs. "We
will leave him here till he confesses,"
said Silvertail Squirrel and
he shouted into the hole--"Who'sbeen-
digging-up MY-nuts?"
Timmy Tiptoes made no
reply; he had tumbled down
inside the tree, upon half a
peck of nuts belonging to
himself. He lay quite stunned and
Goody Tiptoes picked up the
nut bags and went home. She
made a cup of tea for Timmy; but
he didn't come and didn't come.
Goody Tiptoes passed a lonely
and unhappy night. Next morning
she ventured back to the nut
bushes to look for him; but the
other unkind squirrels drove her
She wandered all over the
wood, calling--
"Timmy Tiptoes! Timmy Tiptoes!
Oh, where is Timmy Tiptoes?"
In the meantime Timmy Tiptoes
came to his senses. He found
himself tucked up in a little moss
bed, very much in the dark, feeling
sore; it seemed to be under
ground. Timmy coughed and
groaned, because his ribs hurted
him. There was a chirpy noise,
and a small striped Chipmunk
appeared with a night light, and
hoped he felt better?
It was most kind to Timmy Tiptoes;
it lent him its nightcap; and
the house was full of provisions.
The Chipmunk explained that it
had rained nuts through the top of
the tree--"Besides, I found a few
buried!" It laughed and chuckled
when it heard Timmy's story.
While Timmy was confined to
bed, it 'ticed him to eat quantities
--"But how shall I ever get out
through that hole unless I thin
myself? My wife will be anxious!"
"Just another nut--or two nuts;
let me crack them for you," said
the Chipmunk. Timmy Tiptoes
grew fatter and fatter!
Now Goody Tiptoes had set to
work again by herself. She did not
put any more nuts into the woodpecker's
hole, because she had always
doubted how they could be
got out again. She hid them under
a tree root; they rattled down,
down, down. Once when Goody
emptied an extra big bagful, there
was a decided squeak; and next
time Goody brought another bagful,
a little striped Chipmunk
scrambled out in a hurry.
"It is getting perfectly full-up
downstairs; the sitting room is
full, and they are rolling along the
passage; and my husband, Chippy
Hackee, has run away and left me.
What is the explanation of these
showers of nuts?"
"I am sure I beg your pardon; I
did not know that anybody lived
here," said Mrs. Goody Tiptoes;
"but where is Chippy Hackee? My
husband, Timmy Tiptoes, has run
away too." "I know where Chippy
is; a little bird told me," said Mrs.
Chippy Hackee.
She led the way to the woodpecker's
tree, and they listened at
the hole.
Down below there was a noise
of nutcrackers, and a fat squirrel
voice and a thin squirrel voice
were singing together--
"My little old man and I fell out,
How shall we bring this matter about?
Bring it about as well as you can,
And get you gone, you little old man!"
"You could squeeze in, through
that little round hole," said Goody
Tiptoes. "Yes, I could," said the
Chipmunk, "but my husband,
Chippy Hackee, bites!"
Down below there was a noise
of cracking nuts and nibbling; and
then the fat squirrel voice and the
thin squirrel voice sang--
"For the diddlum day
Day diddle durn di!
Day diddle diddle dum day!"
Then Goody peeped in at the
hole, and called down--"Timmy
Tiptoes! Oh fie, Timmy Tiptoes!"
And Timmy replied, "Is that you,
Goody Tiptoes? Why, certainly!"
He came up and kissed Goody
through the hole; but he was so fat
that he could not get out.
Chippy Hackee was not too fat,
but he did not want to come; he
stayed down below and chuckled.
And so it went on for a fortnight;
till a big wind blew off
the top of the tree, and opened
up the hole and let in the rain.
Then Timmy Tiptoes came
out, and went home with an
But Chippy Hackee continued
to camp out for another
week, although it was
At last a large bear came
walking through the wood.
Perhaps he also was looking
for nuts; he seemed to be
sniffing around.
Chippy Hackee went home
in a hurry!
And when Chippy Hackee
got home, he found he had
caught a cold in his head; and
he was more uncomfortable
And now Timmy and
Goody Tiptoes keep their nut
store fastened up with a little
And whenever that little
bird sees the Chipmunks, he
MY-nuts? Who's been digging-
up MY-nuts?" But nobody
ever answers!
[For William Francis of Ulva--Someday!]
I have made many books about
well-behaved people. Now, for a
change, I am going to make a story
about two disagreeable people,
called Tommy Brock and Mr. Tod.
Nobody could call Mr. Tod
"nice." The rabbits could not bear
him; they could smell him half a
mile off. He was of a wandering
habit and he had foxy whiskers;
they never knew where he would be
One day he was living in a stickhouse
in the coppice [grove], causing
terror to the family of old Mr.
Benjamin Bouncer. Next day he
moved into a pollard willow near
the lake, frightening the wild ducks
and the water rats.
In winter and early spring he
might generally be found in an
earth amongst the rocks at the top
of Bull Banks, under Oatmeal Crag.
He had half a dozen houses, but
he was seldom at home.
The houses were not always
empty when Mr. Tod moved OUT;
because sometimes Tommy Brock
moved IN; (without asking leave).
Tommy Brock was a short bristly
fat waddling person with a grin; he
grinned all over his face. He was
not nice in his habits. He ate wasp
nests and frogs and worms; and he
waddled about by moonlight, digging
things up.
His clothes were very dirty; and
as he slept in the daytime, he
always went to bed in his boots.
And the bed which he went to bed
in was generally Mr. Tod's.
Now Tommy Brock did occasionally
eat rabbit pie; but it was only
very little young ones occasionally,
when other food was really scarce.
He was friendly with old Mr.
Bouncer; they agreed in disliking
the wicked otters and Mr. Tod; they
often talked over that painful subject.
Old Mr. Bouncer was stricken in
years. He sat in the spring sunshine
outside the burrow, in a muffler;
smoking a pipe of rabbit tobacco.
He lived with his son Benjamin
Bunny and his daughter-in-law
Flopsy, who had a young family.
Old Mr. Bouncer was in charge of
the family that afternoon, because
Benjamin and Flopsy had gone out.
The little rabbit babies were just
old enough to open their blue eyes
and kick. They lay in a fluffy bed of
rabbit wool and hay, in a shallow
burrow, separate from the main
rabbit hole. To tell the truth--old
Mr. Bouncer had forgotten them.
He sat in the sun, and conversed
cordially with Tommy Brock, who
was passing through the wood with
a sack and a little spud which he
used for digging, and some mole
traps. He complained bitterly
about the scarcity of pheasants'
eggs, and accused Mr. Tod of
poaching them. And the otters had
cleared off all the frogs while he
was asleep in winter--"I have not
had a good square meal for a fortnight,
I am living on pig-nuts. I
shall have to turn vegetarian and
eat my own tail!" said Tommy
It was not much of a joke, but it
tickled old Mr. Bouncer; because
Tommy Brock was so fat and
stumpy and grinning.
So old Mr. Bouncer laughed; and
pressed Tommy Brock to come inside,
to taste a slice of seed cake
and "a glass of my daughter Flopsy's
cowslip wine." Tommy Brock
squeezed himself into the rabbit
hole with alacrity.
Then old Mr. Bouncer smoked
another pipe, and gave Tommy
Brock a cabbage leaf cigar which
was so very strong that it made
Tommy Brock grin more than ever;
and the smoke filled the burrow.
Old Mr. Bouncer coughed and
laughed; and Tommy Brock puffed
and grinned.
And Mr. Bouncer laughed and
coughed, and shut his eyes because
of the cabbage smoke ..........
When Flopsy and Benjamin came
back old Mr. Bouncer woke up.
Tommy Brock and all the young
rabbit babies had disappeared!
Mr. Bouncer would not confess
that he had admitted anybody into
the rabbit hole. But the smell of
badger was undeniable; and there
were round heavy footmarks in the
sand. He was in disgrace; Flopsy
wrung her ears, and slapped him.
Benjamin Bunny set off at once
after Tommy Brock.
There was not much difficulty in
tracking him; he had left his footmark
and gone slowly up the winding
footpath through the wood. Here he
had rooted up the moss and wood
sorrel. There he had dug quite a
deep hole for dog darnel; and had
set a mole trap. A little stream
crossed the way. Benjamin skipped
lightly over dry-foot; the badger's
heavy steps showed plainly in the mud.
The path led to a part of the
thicket where the trees had been
cleared; there were leafy oak
stumps, and a sea of blue hyacinths
--but the smell that made Benjamin
stop was NOT the smell of flowers!
Mr. Tod's stick house was before
him; and, for once, Mr. Tod was at
home. There was not only a foxy
flavor in proof of it--there was
smoke coming out of the broken
pail that served as a chimney.
Benjamin Bunny sat up, staring,
his whiskers twitched. Inside the
stick house somebody dropped a
plate, and said something. Benjamin
stamped his foot, and bolted.
He never stopped till he came to
the other side of the wood. Apparently
Tommy Brock had turned the
same way. Upon the top of the wall
there were again the marks of
badger; and some ravellings of a
sack had caught on a briar.
Benjamin climbed over the wall,
into a meadow. He found another
mole trap newly set; he was still
upon the track of Tommy Brock. It
was getting late in the afternoon.
Other rabbits were coming out to
enjoy the evening air. One of them
in a blue coat, by himself, was busily
hunting for dandelions.--
"Cousin Peter! Peter Rabbit, Peter
Rabbit!" shouted Benjamin Bunny.
The blue coated rabbit sat up
with pricked ears--"Whatever is
the matter, Cousin Benjamin? Is it
a cat? or John Stoat Ferret?"
"No, no, no! He's bagged my
family--Tommy Brock--in a sack
--have you seen him?"
"Tommy Brock? how many,
Cousin Benjamin?"
"Seven, Cousin Peter, and all of
them twins! Did he come this way?
Please tell me quick!"
"Yes, yes; not ten minutes since
... he said they were CATERPILLARS;
I did think they were kicking rather
hard, for caterpillars."
"Which way? which way has he
gone, Cousin Peter?"
"He had a sack with something
live in it; I watched him set a mole
trap. Let me use my mind, Cousin
Benjamin; tell me from the beginning,"
Benjamin did so.
"My Uncle Bouncer has displayed
a lamentable want of discretion for
his years;" said Peter reflectively,
"but there are two hopeful
circumstances. Your family is alive and
kicking; and Tommy Brock has had
refreshments. He will probably go
to sleep, and keep them for breakfast."
"Which way?" "Cousin Benjamin,
compose yourself. I know
very well which way. Because Mr.
Tod was at home in the stick house
he has gone to Mr. Tod's other
house, at the top of Bull Banks. I
partly know, because he offered to
leave any message at Sister Cottontail's;
he said he would be passing."
(Cottontail had married a black
rabbit, and gone to live on the hill.)
Peter hid his dandelions, and
accompanied the afflicted parent,
who was all of atwitter. They
crossed several fields and began to
climb the hill; the tracks of Tommy
Brock were plainly to be seen. He
seemed to have put down the sack
every dozen yards, to rest.
"He must be very puffed; we are
close behind him, by the scent.
What a nasty person!" said Peter.
The sunshine was still warm and
slanting on the hill pastures. Half
way up, Cottontail was sitting in
her doorway, with four or five halfgrown
little rabbits playing about
her; one black and the others
Cottontail had seen Tommy
Brock passing in the distance.
Asked whether her husband was at
home she replied that Tommy
Brock had rested twice while she
watched him.
He had nodded, and pointed to
the sack, and seemed doubled up
with laughing.--"Come away,
Peter; he will be cooking them;
come quicker!" said Benjamin
They climbed up and up;--"He
was at home; I saw his black ears
peeping out of the hole." "They live
too near the rocks to quarrel with
their neighbors. Come on, Cousin
When they came near the wood
at the top of Bull Banks, they went
cautiously. The trees grew amongst
heaped up rocks; and there,
beneath a crag, Mr. Tod had made
one of his homes. It was at the top
of a steep bank; the rocks and
bushes overhung it. The rabbits
crept up carefully, listening and
This house was something between
a cave, a prison, and a tumbledown
pigsty. There was a strong
door, which was shut and locked.
The setting sun made the window
panes glow like red flame; but
the kitchen fire was not alight. It
was neatly laid with dry sticks, as
the rabbits could see, when they
peeped through the window.
Benjamin sighed with relief.
But there were preparations
upon the kitchen table which made
him shudder. There was an immense
empty pie dish of blue willow
pattern, and a large carving
knife and fork, and a chopper.
At the other end of the table was
a partly unfolded tablecloth, a
plate, a tumbler, a knife and fork,
salt cellar, mustard and a chair--
in short, preparations for one
person's supper.
No person was to be seen, and
no young rabbits. The kitchen was
empty and silent; the clock had run
down. Peter and Benjamin flattened
their noses against the window,
and stared into the dusk.
Then they scrambled round the
rocks to the other side of the house.
It was damp and smelly, and overgrown
with thorns and briars.
The rabbits shivered in their
"Oh my poor rabbit babies!
What a dreadful place; I shall never
see them again!" sighed Benjamin.
They crept up to the bedroom
window. It was closed and bolted
like the kitchen. But there were
signs that this window had been
recently open; the cobwebs were
disturbed, and there were fresh dirty
footmarks upon the windowsill.
The room inside was so dark that
at first they could make out nothing;
but they could hear a noise--a
slow deep regular snoring grunt.
And as their eyes became accustomed
to the darkness, they perceived
that somebody was asleep
on Mr. Tod's bed, curled up under
the blanket.--"He has gone to bed
in his boots," whispered Peter.
Benjamin, who was all of atwitter,
pulled Peter off the windowsill.
Tommy Brock's snores continued,
grunty and regular from Mr.
Tod's bed. Nothing could be seen of
the young family.
The sun had set; an owl began to
hoot in the wood. There were many
unpleasant things lying about that
had much better have been buried;
rabbit bones and skulls, and chickens'
legs and other horrors. It was
a shocking place, and very dark.
They went back to the front of
the house, and tried in every way to
move the bolt of the kitchen window.
They tried to push up a rusty
nail between the window sashes;
but it was of no use, especially
without a light.
They sat side by side outside the
window, whispering and listening.
In half an hour the moon rose
over the wood. It shone full and
clear and cold, upon the house,
amongst the rocks, and in at the
kitchen window. But alas, no little
rabbit babies were to be seen! The
moonbeams twinkled on the carving
knife and the pie dish, and
made a path of brightness across
the dirty floor.
The light showed a little door in
a wall beside the kitchen fireplace
--a little iron door belonging to a
brick oven of that old-fashioned
sort that used to be heated with
faggots of wood.
And presently at the same moment
Peter and Benjamin noticed
that whenever they shook the window
the little door opposite shook
in answer. The young family were
alive; shut up in the oven!
Benjamin was so excited that it
was a mercy he did not awake
Tommy Brock, whose snores continued
solemnly in Mr. Tod's bed.
But there really was not very
much comfort in the discovery.
They could not open the window;
and although the young family was
alive the little rabbits were quite
incapable of letting themselves out;
they were not old enough to crawl.
After much whispering, Peter
and Benjamin decided to dig a tunnel.
They began to burrow a yard
or two lower down the bank. They
hoped that they might be able to
work between the large stones
under the house; the kitchen floor
was so dirty that it was impossible
to say whether it was made of earth
or flags.
They dug and dug for hours.
They could not tunnel straight on
account of stones; but by the end of
the night they were under the
kitchen floor. Benjamin was on his
back scratching upwards. Peter's
claws were worn down; he was
outside the tunnel, shuffling sand
away. He called out that it was
morning--sunrise; and that the
jays were making a noise down
below in the woods.
Benjamin Bunny came out of the
dark tunnel shaking the sand from
his ears; he cleaned his face with
his paws. Every minute the sun
shone warmer on the top of the
hill. In the valley there was a sea of
white mist, with golden tops of
trees showing through.
Again from the fields down
below in the mist there came the
angry cry of a jay, followed by the
sharp yelping bark of a fox!
Then those two rabbits lost their
heads completely. They did the
most foolish thing that they could
have done. They rushed into their
short new tunnel, and hid themselves
at the top end of it, under
Mr. Tod's kitchen floor.
Mr. Tod was coming up Bull
Banks, and he was in the very worst
of tempers. First he had been upset
by breaking the plate. It was his
own fault; but it was a china plate,
the last of the dinner service that
had belonged to his grandmother,
old Vixen Tod. Then the midges
had been very bad. And he had
failed to catch a hen pheasant on
her nest; and it had contained only
five eggs, two of them addled. Mr.
Tod had had an unsatisfactory
As usual, when out of humor, he
determined to move house. First he
tried the pollard willow, but it was
damp; and the otters had left a
dead fish near it. Mr. Tod likes
nobody's leavings but his own.
He made his way up the hill; his
temper was not improved by noticing
unmistakable marks of badger.
No one else grubs up the moss so
wantonly as Tommy Brock.
Mr. Tod slapped his stick upon
the earth and fumed; he guessed
where Tommy Brock had gone to.
He was further annoyed by the jay
bird which followed him persistently.
It flew from tree to tree and
scolded, warning every rabbit
within hearing that either a cat or
a fox was coming up the plantation.
Once when it flew screaming
over his head Mr. Tod snapped at
it, and barked.
He approached his house very
carefully, with a large rusty key. He
sniffed and his whiskers bristled.
The house was locked up, but Mr.
Tod had his doubts whether it was
empty. He turned the rusty key in
the lock; the rabbits below could
hear it. Mr. Tod opened the door
cautiously and went in.
The sight that met Mr. Tod's eyes
in Mr. Tod's kitchen made Mr. Tod
furious. There was Mr. Tod's chair,
and Mr. Tod's pie dish, and his
knife and fork and mustard and
salt cellar, and his tablecloth, that
he had left folded up in the dresser
--all set out for supper (or breakfast)
--without doubt for that
odious Tommy Brock.
There was a smell of fresh earth
and dirty badger, which fortunately
overpowered all smell of
But what absorbed Mr. Tod's
attention was a noise, a deep slow
regular snoring grunting noise,
coming from his own bed.
He peeped through the hinges of
the half-open bedroom door. Then
he turned and came out of the
house in a hurry. His whiskers bristled
and his coat collar stood on
end with rage.
For the next twenty minutes Mr.
Tod kept creeping cautiously into
the house, and retreating hurriedly
out again. By degrees he ventured
further in--right into the bedroom.
When he was outside the
house, he scratched up the earth
with fury. But when he was inside
--he did not like the look of
Tommy Brock's teeth.
He was lying on his back with his
mouth open, grinning from ear to
ear. He snored peacefully and
regularly; but one eye was not
perfectly shut.
Mr. Tod came in and out of the
bedroom. Twice he brought in his
walking stick, and once he brought
in the coal scuttle. But he thought
better of it, and took them away.
When he came back after removing
the coal scuttle, Tommy Brock
was lying a little more sideways;
but he seemed even sounder asleep.
He was an incurably indolent person;
he was not in the least afraid
of Mr. Tod; he was simply too lazy
and comfortable to move.
Mr. Tod came back yet again
into the bedroom with a clothes
line. He stood a minute watching
Tommy Brock and listening attentively
to the snores. They were very
loud indeed, but seemed quite natural.
Mr. Tod turned his back towards
the bed, and undid the window. It
creaked; he turned round with a
jump. Tommy Brock, who had
opened one eye--shut it hastily.
The snores continued.
Mr. Tod's proceedings were
peculiar, and rather difficult (because
the bed was between the window
and the door of the bedroom). He
opened the window a little way,
and pushed out the greater part of
the clothes line on to the windowsill.
The rest of the line, with a hook
at the end, remained in his hand.
Tommy Brock snored conscientiously.
Mr. Tod stood and looked
at him for a minute; then he left
the room again.
Tommy Brock opened both eyes,
and looked at the rope and grinned.
There was a noise outside the window.
Tommy Brock shut his eyes in
a hurry.
Mr. Tod had gone out at the
front door, and round to the back
of the house. On the way, he stumbled
over the rabbit burrow. If he
had had any idea who was inside it
he would have pulled them out
His foot went through the tunnel
nearly upon the top of Peter Rabbit
and Benjamin; but, fortunately, he
thought that it was some more of
Tommy Brock's work.
He took up the coil of line from
the sill, listened for a moment, and
then tied the rope to a tree.
Tommy Brock watched him with
one eye, through the window. He
was puzzled.
Mr. Tod fetched a large heavy
pailful of water from the spring,
and staggered with it through the
kitchen into his bedroom.
Tommy Brock snored industriously,
with rather a snort.
Mr. Tod put down the pail beside
the bed, took up the end of rope
with the hook--hesitated, and
looked at Tommy Brock. The
snores were almost apoplectic; but
the grin was not quite so big.
Mr. Tod gingerly mounted a
chair by the head of the bedstead.
His legs were dangerously near to
Tommy Brock's teeth.
He reached up and put the end
of rope, with the hook, over the
head of the tester bed, where the
curtains ought to hang.
(Mr. Tod's curtains were folded
up, and put away, owing to the
house being unoccupied. So was
the counterpane. Tommy Brock
was covered with a blanket only.)
Mr. Tod standing on the unsteady
chair looked down upon him attentively;
he really was a first prize
sound sleeper!
It seemed as though nothing
would waken him--not even the
flapping rope across the bed.
Mr. Tod descended safely from
the chair, and endeavored to get up
again with the pail of water. He
intended to hang it from the hook,
dangling over the head of Tommy
Brock, in order to make a sort of
shower-bath, worked by a string,
through the window.
But, naturally, being a thinlegged
person (though vindictive
and sandy whiskered)--he was
quite unable to lift the heavy
weight to the level of the hook and
rope. He very nearly overbalanced
The snores became more and
more apoplectic. One of Tommy
Brock's hind legs twitched under
the blanket, but still he slept on
Mr. Tod and the pail descended
from the chair without accident.
After considerable thought, he
emptied the water into a wash
basin and jug. The empty pail was
not too heavy for him; he slung it
up wobbling over the head of
Tommy Brock.
Surely there never was such a
sleeper! Mr. Tod got up and down,
down and up on the chair.
As he could not lift the whole
pailful of water at once he fetched
a milk jug and ladled quarts of
water into the pail by degrees. The
pail got fuller and fuller, and
swung like a pendulum. Occasionally
a drop splashed over; but still
Tommy Brock snored regularly and
never moved,--except in one eye.
At last Mr. Tod's preparations
were complete. The pail was full of
water; the rope was tightly strained
over the top of the bed, and across
the windowsill to the tree outside.
"It will make a great mess in my
bedroom; but I could never sleep in
that bed again without a spring
cleaning of some sort," said Mr.
Mr. Tod took a last look at the
badger and softly left the room. He
went out of the house, shutting the
front door. The rabbits heard his
footsteps over the tunnel.
He ran round behind the house,
intending to undo the rope in order
to let fall the pailful of water upon
Tommy Brock--
"I will wake him up with an
unpleasant surprise," said Mr. Tod.
The moment he had gone,
Tommy Brock got up in a hurry; he
rolled Mr. Tod's dressing-gown into
a bundle, put it into the bed beneath
the pail of water instead of
himself, and left the room also--
grinning immensely.
He went into the kitchen, lighted
the fire and boiled the kettle; for
the moment he did not trouble
himself to cook the baby rabbits.
When Mr. Tod got to the tree, he
found that the weight and strain
had dragged the knot so tight that
it was past untying. He was obliged
to gnaw it with his teeth. He
chewed and gnawed for more than
twenty minutes. At last the rope
gave way with such a sudden jerk
that it nearly pulled his teeth out,
and quite knocked him over backwards.
Inside the house there was a
great crash and splash, and the
noise of a pail rolling over and over.
But no screams. Mr. Tod was
mystified; he sat quite still, and
listened attentively. Then he peeped
in at the window. The water was
dripping from the bed, the pail had
rolled into a corner.
In the middle of the bed, under
the blanket, was a wet SOMETHING
--much flattened in the middle,
where the pail had caught it (as it
were across the tummy). Its head
was covered by the wet blanket,
There was nothing stirring, and
no sound except the drip, drop,
drop, drip, of water trickling from
the mattress.
Mr. Tod watched it for half an
hour; his eyes glistened.
Then he cut a caper, and became
so bold that he even tapped at the
window; but the bundle never
Yes--there was no doubt about
it--it had turned out even better
than he had planned; the pail had
hit poor old Tommy Brock, and
killed him dead!
"I will bury that nasty person in
the hole which he has dug. I will
bring my bedding out, and dry it in
the sun," said Mr. Tod.
"I will wash the tablecloth and
spread it on the grass in the sun to
bleach. And the blanket must be
hung up in the wind; and the bed
must be thoroughly disinfected,
and aired with a warming-pan;
and warmed with a hot water bottle."
"I will get soft soap, and monkey
soap, and all sorts of soap; and
soda and scrubbing brushes; and
persian powder; and carbolic to
remove the smell. I must have a
disinfecting. Perhaps I may have to
burn sulphur."
He hurried round the house to
get a shovel from the kitchen--
"First I will arrange the hole--then
I will drag out that person in the
blanket. . . ."
He opened the door. . . .
Tommy Brock was sitting at Mr.
Tod's kitchen table, pouring out tea
from Mr. Tod's teapot into Mr.
Tod's teacup. He was quite dry
himself and grinning; and he threw
the cup of scalding tea all over Mr.
Then Mr. Tod rushed upon
Tommy Brock, and Tommy Brock
grappled with Mr. Tod amongst
the broken crockery, and there
was a terrific battle all over the
kitchen. To the rabbits underneath
it sounded as if the floor would give
way at each crash of falling furniture.
They crept out of their tunnel,
and hung about amongst the rocks
and bushes, listening anxiously.
Inside the house the racket was
fearful. The rabbit babies in the
oven woke up trembling; perhaps it
was fortunate they were shut up inside.
Everything was upset except the
kitchen table.
And everything was broken,
except the mantelpiece and the
kitchen fender. The crockery was
smashed to atoms.
The chairs were broken, and the
window, and the clock fell with a
crash, and there were handfuls of
Mr. Tod's sandy whiskers.
The vases fell off the mantelpiece,
the cannisters fell off the
shelf; the kettle fell off the hob.
Tommy Brock put his foot in a jar
of raspberry jam.
And the boiling water out of the
kettle fell upon the tail of Mr. Tod.
When the kettle fell, Tommy
Brock, who was still grinning,
happened to be uppermost; and he
rolled Mr. Tod over and over like a
log, out at the door.
Then the snarling and worrying
went on outside; and they rolled
over the bank, and down hill,
bumping over the rocks. There will
never be any love lost between
Tommy Brock and Mr. Tod.
As soon as the coast was clear,
Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny
came out of the bushes.
"Now for it! Run in, Cousin
Benjamin! Run in and get them! while
I watch the door."
But Benjamin was frightened--
"Oh; oh! they are coming back!"
"No they are not."
"Yes they are!"
"What dreadful bad language! I
think they have fallen down the
stone quarry."
Still Benjamin hesitated, and
Peter kept pushing him--
"Be quick, it's all right. Shut the
oven door, Cousin Benjamin, so
that he won't miss them."
Decidedly there were lively
doings in Mr. Tod's kitchen!
At home in the rabbit hole,
things had not been quite comfortable.
After quarreling at supper,
Flopsy and old Mr. Bouncer had
passed a sleepless night, and
quarrelled again at breakfast. Old Mr.
Bouncer could no longer deny that
he had invited company into the
rabbit hole; but he refused to reply
to the questions and reproaches of
Flopsy. The day passed heavily.
Old Mr. Bouncer, very sulky, was
huddled up in a corner, barricaded
with a chair. Flopsy had taken
away his pipe and hidden the tobacco.
She had been having a complete
turn out and spring cleaning,
to relieve her feelings. She had just
finished. Old Mr. Bouncer, behind
his chair, was wondering anxiously
what she would do next.
In Mr. Tod's kitchen, amidst the
wreckage, Benjamin Bunny picked
his way to the oven nervously,
through a thick cloud of dust. He
opened the oven door, felt inside,
and found something warm and
wriggling. He lifted it out carefully,
and rejoined Peter Rabbit.
"I've got them! Can we get away?
Shall we hide, Cousin Peter?"
Peter pricked his ears; distant
sounds of fighting still echoed in
the wood.
Five minutes afterwards two
breathless rabbits came scuttering
away down Bull Banks, half carrying,
half dragging a sack between
them, bumpetty bump over the
grass. They reached home safely,
and burst into the rabbit hole.
Great was old Mr. Bouncer's relief
and Flopsy's joy when Peter and
Benjamin arrived in triumph with
the young family. The rabbit babies
were rather tumbled and very hungry;
they were fed and put to bed.
They soon recovered.
A new long pipe and a fresh supply
of rabbit tobacco was presented
to Mr. Bouncer. He was rather
upon his dignity; but he accepted.
Old Mr. Bouncer was forgiven,
and they all had dinner. Then Peter
and Benjamin told their story--but
they had not waited long enough to
be able to tell the end of the battle
between Tommy Brock and Mr.
[For Cicily and Charlie,
a Tale of the Christmas Pig]
Once upon a time there was an
old pig called Aunt Pettitoes. She
had eight of a family: four little girl
pigs, called Cross-patch, Suck-suck,
Yock-yock and Spot; and four little
boy pigs, called Alexander, Pigling
Bland, Chin-Chin and Stumpy.
Stumpy had had an accident to his
The eight little pigs had very fine
appetites--"Yus, yus, yus! they eat
and indeed they DO eat!" said Aunt
Pettitoes, looking at her family
with pride. Suddenly there were
fearful squeals; Alexander had
squeezed inside the hoops of the
pig trough and stuck.
Aunt Pettitoes and I dragged him
out by the hind legs.
Chin-chin was already in disgrace;
it was washing day, and he
had eaten a piece of soap. And
presently in a basket of clean
clothes, we found another dirty
little pig--"Tchut, tut, tut! whichever
is this?" grunted Aunt Pettitoes.
Now all the pig family are pink, or
pink with black spots, but this pig
child was smutty black all over;
when it had been popped into a
tub, it proved to be Yock-yock.
I went into the garden; there I
found Cross-patch and Suck-suck
rooting up carrots. I whipped them
myself and led them out by the
ears. Cross-patch tried to bite me.
"Aunt Pettitoes, Aunt Pettitoes!
you are a worthy person, but your
family is not well brought up.
Every one of them has been in
mischief except Spot and Pigling
"Yus, yus!" sighed Aunt Pettitoes.
"And they drink bucketfuls of milk;
I shall have to get another cow!
Good little Spot shall stay at home
to do the housework; but the others
must go. Four little boy pigs and
four little girl pigs are too many
altogether." "Yus, yus, yus," said
Aunt Pettitoes, "there will be more
to eat without them."
So Chin-chin and Suck-suck went
away in a wheel-barrow, and
Stumpy, Yock-yock and Crosspatch
rode away in a cart.
And the other two little boy pigs,
Pigling Bland and Alexander went
to market. We brushed their coats,
we curled their tails and washed
their little faces, and wished them
good bye in the yard.
Aunt Pettitoes wiped her eyes
with a large pocket handkerchief,
then she wiped Pigling Bland's nose
and shed tears; then she wiped
Alexander's nose and shed tears;
then she passed the handkerchief to
Spot. Aunt Pettitoes sighed and
grunted, and addressed those little
pigs as follows--
"Now Pigling Bland, son Pigling
Bland, you must go to market. Take
your brother Alexander by the
hand. Mind your Sunday clothes,
and remember to blow your nose"
--(Aunt Pettitoes passed round the
handkerchief again)--"beware of
traps, hen roosts, bacon and eggs;
always walk upon your hind legs."
Pigling Bland who was a sedate
little pig, looked solemnly at his
mother, a tear trickled down his
Aunt Pettitoes turned to the
other--"Now son Alexander take
the hand"--"Wee, wee, wee!"
giggled Alexander--"take the hand of
your brother Pigling Bland, you
must go to market. Mind--" "Wee,
wee, wee!" interrupted Alexander
again. "You put me out," said Aunt
Pettitoes--"Observe signposts and
milestones; do not gobble herring
bones--" "And remember," said I
impressively, "if you once cross the
county boundary you cannot come
back. Alexander, you are not
attending. Here are two licenses
permitting two pigs to go to market in
Lancashire. Attend Alexander. I
have had no end of trouble in getting
these papers from the policeman."
Pigling Bland listened
gravely; Alexander was hopelessly
I pinned the papers, for safety,
inside their waistcoat pockets;
Aunt Pettitoes gave to each a little
bundle, and eight conversation
peppermints with appropriate
moral sentiments in screws of
paper. Then they started.
Pigling Bland and Alexander
trotted along steadily for a mile; at
least Pigling Bland did. Alexander
made the road half as long again
by skipping from side to side. He
danced about and pinched his
brother, singing--
"This pig went to market, this pig stayed
at home,
"This pig had a bit of meat--
let's see what they have given US for
dinner, Pigling?"
Pigling Bland and Alexander sat
down and untied their bundles.
Alexander gobbled up his dinner in
no time; he had already eaten all
his own peppermints--"Give me
one of yours, please, Pigling?" "But
I wish to preserve them for
emergencies," said Pigling Bland
doubtfully. Alexander went into squeals
of laughter. Then he pricked Pigling
with the pin that had fastened
his pig paper; and when Pigling
slapped him he dropped the pin,
and tried to take Pigling's pin, and
the papers got mixed up. Pigling
Bland reproved Alexander.
But presently they made it up
again, and trotted away together,
"Tom, Tom the piper's son, stole a pig
and away he ran!
"But all the tune that he could play, was
`Over the hills and far away!'"
"What's that, young Sirs? Stole a
pig? Where are your licenses?" said
the policeman. They had nearly run
against him round a corner. Pigling
Bland pulled out his paper; Alexander,
after fumbling, handed over
something scrumply--
"To 2 1/2 oz. conversation sweeties
at three farthings"--"What's this?
this ain't a license?" Alexander's
nose lengthened visibly, he had lost
it. "I had one, indeed I had, Mr.
"It's not likely they let you start
without. I am passing the farm.
You may walk with me." "Can I
come back too?" inquired Pigling
Bland. "I see no reason, young Sir;
your paper is all right." Pigling
Bland did not like going on alone,
and it was beginning to rain. But it
is unwise to argue with the police;
he gave his brother a peppermint,
and watched him out of sight.
To conclude the adventures of
Alexander--the policeman sauntered
up to the house about tea
time, followed by a damp subdued
little pig. I disposed of Alexander in
the neighborhood; he did fairly
well when he had settled down.
Pigling Bland went on alone
dejectedly; he came to cross roads and
a sign-post--"To Market-town 5
miles," "Over the Hills, 4 miles,"
"To Pettitoes Farm, 3 miles."
Pigling Bland was shocked, there
was little hope of sleeping in Market
Town, and tomorrow was the
hiring fair; it was deplorable to
think how much time had been
wasted by the frivolity of Alexander.
He glanced wistfully along the
road towards the hills, and then set
off walking obediently the other
way, buttoning up his coat against
the rain. He had never wanted to
go; and the idea of standing all by
himself in a crowded market, to be
stared at, pushed, and hired by
some big strange farmer was very
"I wish I could have a little garden
and grow potatoes," said Pigling
He put his cold hand in his
pocket and felt his paper, he put his
other hand in his other pocket and
felt another paper--Alexander's!
Pigling squealed; then ran back
frantically, hoping to overtake
Alexander and the policeman.
He took a wrong turn--several
wrong turns, and was quite lost.
It grew dark, the wind whistled,
the trees creaked and groaned.
Pigling Bland became frightened
and cried "Wee, wee, wee! I can't
find my way home!"
After an hour's wandering he got
out of the wood; the moon shone
through the clouds, and Pigling
Bland saw a country that was new
to him.
The road crossed a moor; below
was a wide valley with a river twinkling
in the moonlight, and beyond
--in misty distance--lay the hills.
He saw a small wooden hut,
made his way to it, and crept inside
--"I am afraid it IS a hen house,
but what can I do?" said Pigling
Bland, wet and cold and quite tired
"Bacon and eggs, bacon and
eggs!" clucked a hen on a perch.
"Trap, trap, trap! cackle, cackle,
cackle!" scolded the disturbed
cockerel. "To market, to market!
jiggettyjig!" clucked a broody white
hen roosting next to him. Pigling
Bland, much alarmed, determined
to leave at daybreak. In the meantime,
he and the hens fell asleep.
In less than an hour they were all
awakened. The owner, Mr. Peter
Thomas Piperson, came with a lantern
and a hamper to catch six
fowls to take to market in the
He grabbed the white hen roosting
next to the cock; then his eye
fell upon Pigling Bland, squeezed
up in a corner. He made a singular
remark--"Hallo, here's another!"
--seized Pigling by the scruff of the
neck, and dropped him into the
hamper. Then he dropped in five
more dirty, kicking, cackling hens
upon the top of Pigling Bland.
The hamper containing six fowls
and a young pig was no light
weight; it was taken down hill,
unsteadily, with jerks. Pigling,
although nearly scratched to pieces,
contrived to hide the papers and
peppermints inside his clothes.
At last the hamper was bumped
down upon a kitchen floor, the lid
was opened, and Pigling was lifted
out. He looked up, blinking, and
saw an offensively ugly elderly
man, grinning from ear to ear.
"This one's come of himself,
whatever," said Mr. Piperson, turning
Pigling's pockets inside out. He
pushed the hamper into a corner,
threw a sack over it to keep the
hens quiet, put a pot on the fire,
and unlaced his boots.
Pigling Bland drew forward a
coppy stool, and sat on the edge of
it, shyly warming his hands. Mr.
Piperson pulled off a boot and
threw it against the wainscot at the
further end of the kitchen. There
was a smothered noise--"Shut
up!" said Mr. Piperson. Pigling
Bland warmed his hands, and eyed
Mr. Piperson pulled off the other
boot and flung it after the first,
there was again a curious noise--
"Be quiet, will ye?" said Mr. Piperson.
Pigling Bland sat on the very
edge of the coppy stool.
Mr. Piperson fetched meal from
a chest and made porridge, it
seemed to Pigling that something
at the further end of the kitchen
was taking a suppressed interest in
the cooking; but he was too hungry
to be troubled by noises.
Mr. Piperson poured out three
platefuls: for himself, for Pigling,
and a third-after glaring at Pigling--
he put away with much scuffling,
and locked up. Pigling Bland
ate his supper discreetly.
After supper Mr. Piperson consulted
an almanac, and felt Pigling's
ribs; it was too late in the
season for curing bacon, and he
grudged his meal. Besides, the hens
had seen this pig.
He looked at the small remains
of a flitch [side of bacon], and then
looked undecidedly at Pigling. "You
may sleep on the rug," said Mr.
Peter Thomas Piperson.
Pigling Bland slept like a top. In
the morning Mr. Piperson made
more porridge; the weather was
warmer. He looked how much
meal was left in the chest, and
seemed dissatisfied--"You'll likely
be moving on again?" said he to
Pigling Bland.
Before Pigling could reply, a
neighbor, who was giving Mr. Piperson
and the hens a lift, whistled
from the gate. Mr. Piperson hurried
out with the hamper, enjoining
Pigling to shut the door behind him
and not meddle with nought; or
"I'll come back and skin ye!" said
Mr. Piperson.
It crossed Pigling's mind that if
HE had asked for a lift, too, he
might still have been in time for
But he distrusted Peter Thomas.
After finishing breakfast at his
leisure, Pigling had a look round
the cottage; everything was locked
up. He found some potato peelings
in a bucket in the back kitchen.
Pigling ate the peel, and washed up
the porridge plates in the bucket.
He sang while he worked--
"Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
He called up all the girls and boys--
"And they all ran to hear him play,
"Over the hills and far away!--"
Suddenly a little smothered voice
chimed in--
"Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top knot
Pigling Bland put down a plate
which he was wiping, and listened.
After a long pause, Pigling went
on tiptoe and peeped round the
door into the front kitchen; there
was nobody there.
After another pause, Pigling
approached the door of the locked
cupboard, and snuffed at the keyhole.
It was quite quiet.
After another long pause, Pigling
pushed a peppermint under the
door. It was sucked in immediately.
In the course of the day Pigling
pushed in all his remaining six
When Mr. Piperson returned, he
found Pigling sitting before the fire;
he had brushed up the hearth and
put on the pot to boil; the meal was
not get-at-able.
Mr. Piperson was very affable; he
slapped Pigling on the back, made
lots of porridge and forgot to lock
the meal chest. He did lock the
cupboard door; but without properly
shutting it. He went to bed early,
and told Pigling upon no account
to disturb him next day before
twelve o'clock.
Pigling Bland sat by the fire,
eating his supper.
All at once at his elbow, a little
voice spoke--"My name is Pig-wig.
Make me more porridge, please!"
Pigling Bland jumped, and looked
A perfectly lovely little black
Berkshire pig stood smiling beside
him. She had twinkly little screwed
up eyes, a double chin, and a short
turned up nose.
She pointed at Pigling's plate; he
hastily gave it to her, and fled to
the meal chest--"How did you
come here?" asked Pigling Bland.
"Stolen," replied Pig-wig, with
her mouth full. Pigling helped himself
to meal without scruple. "What
for?" "Bacon, hams," replied Pigwig
cheerfully. "Why on earth don't
you run away?" exclaimed the
horrified Pigling.
"I shall after supper," said Pigwig
Pigling Bland made more porridge
and watched her shyly.
She finished a second plate, got
up, and looked about her, as
though she were going to start.
"You can't go in the dark," said
Pigling Bland.
Pig-wig looked anxious.
"Do you know your way by daylight?"
"I know we can see this little
white house from the hills across
the river. Which way are _you_ going,
Mr. Pig?"
"To market--I have two pig
papers. I might take you to the bridge;
if you have no objection," said
Pigling much confused and sitting
on the edge of his coppy stool. Pigwig's
gratitude was such and she
asked so many questions that it
became embarrassing to Pigling
He was obliged to shut his eyes
and pretend to sleep. She became
quiet, and there was a smell of
"I thought you had eaten them?"
said Pigling, waking suddenly.
"Only the corners," replied Pigwig,
studying the sentiments with
much interest by the firelight.
"I wish you wouldn't; he might
smell them through the ceiling,"
said the alarmed Pigling.
Pig-wig put back the sticky
peppermints into her pocket; "Sing
something," she demanded.
"I am sorry. . . I have toothache,"
said Pigling much dismayed.
"Then I will sing," replied Pigwig,
"You will not mind if I say
iddy tidditty? I have forgotten some
of the words."
Pigling Bland made no objection;
he sat with his eyes half shut, and
watched her.
She wagged her head and rocked
about, clapping time and singing in
a sweet little grunty voice--
"A funny old mother pig lived in a stye,
and three little piggies had she;
"(Ti idditty idditty) umph, umph,
umph! and the little pigs said wee,
She sang successfully through
three or four verses, only at every
verse her head nodded a little
lower, and her little twinkly eyes
closed up--
"Those three little piggies grew peaky
and lean, and lean they might very
well be;
"For somehow they couldn't say umph,
umph, umph! and they wouldn't
say wee, wee, wee!
"For somehow they couldn't say--
Pig-wig's head bobbed lower and
lower, until she rolled over, a little
round ball, fast asleep on the
Pigling Bland, on tiptoe, covered
her up with an antimacassar.
He was afraid to go to sleep himself;
for the rest of the night he sat
listening to the chirping of the
crickets and to the snores of Mr.
Piperson overhead.
Early in the morning, between
dark and daylight, Pigling tied up
his little bundle and woke up Pigwig.
She was excited and halffrightened.
"But it's dark! How can
we find our way?"
"The cock has crowed; we must
start before the hens come out; they
might shout to Mr. Piperson."
Pig-wig sat down again, and
commenced to cry.
"Come away Pig-wig; we can see
when we get used to it. Come! I can
hear them clucking!"
Pigling had never said shuh! to a
hen in his life, being peaceable;
also he remembered the hamper.
He opened the house door quietly
and shut it after them. There was
no garden; the neighborhood of
Mr. Piperson's was all scratched up
by fowls. They slipped away hand
in hand across an untidy field to
the road.
"Tom, Tom the piper's son, stole a pig
and away he ran!
"But all the tune that he could play, was
`Over the hills and far away!'"
"Come Pig-wig, we must get to
the bridge before folks are stirring."
"Why do you want to go to
market, Pigling?" inquired Pig-wig.
The sun rose while they were
crossing the moor, a dazzle of light
over the tops of the hills. The sunshine
crept down the slopes into
the peaceful green valleys, where
little white cottages nestled in
gardens and orchards.
"That's Westmorland," said Pigwig.
She dropped Pigling's hand
and commenced to dance, singing--
presently. "I don't want; I want to
grow potatoes." "Have a peppermint?"
said Pig-wig. Pigling Bland
refused quite crossly. "Does your
poor toothy hurt?" inquired Pigwig.
Pigling Bland grunted.
Pig-wig ate the peppermint herself,
and followed the opposite side
of the road. "Pig-wig! keep under
the wall, there's a man ploughing."
Pig-wig crossed over, they hurried
down hill towards the county
Suddenly Pigling stopped; he
heard wheels.
Slowly jogging up the road below
them came a tradesman's cart. The
reins flapped on the horse's back,
the grocer was reading a newspaper.
"Take that peppermint out of
your mouth, Pig-wig, we may have
to run. Don't say one word. Leave it
to me. And in sight of the bridge!"
said poor Pigling, nearly crying.
He began to walk frightfully lame,
holding Pig-wig's arm.
The grocer, intent upon his
newspaper, might have passed
them, if his horse had not shied
and snorted. He pulled the cart
crossways, and held down his
whip. "Hallo? Where are you going
to?"--Pigling Bland stared at him
"Are you deaf? Are you going to
market?" Pigling nodded slowly.
"I thought as much. It was
yesterday. Show me your license?"
Pigling stared at the off hind
shoe of the grocer's horse which
had picked up a stone.
The grocer flicked his whip--
"Papers? Pig license?" Pigling fumbled
in all his pockets, and handed
up the papers. The grocer read
them, but still seemed dissatisfied.
"This here pig is a young lady; is
her name Alexander?" Pig-wig
opened her mouth and shut it
again; Pigling coughed asthmatically.
The grocer ran his finger down
the advertisement column of his
newspaper--"Lost, stolen or
strayed, 10S. reward;" he looked
suspiciously at Pig-wig. Then he
stood up in the trap, and whistled
for the ploughman.
"You wait here while I drive on
and speak to him," said the grocer,
gathering up the reins. He knew
that pigs are slippery; but surely,
such a VERY lame pig could never
"Not yet, Pig-wig, he will look
back." The grocer did so; he saw the
two pigs stock-still in the middle
of the road. Then he looked over at
his horse's heels; it was lame also;
the stone took some time to knock
out, after he got to the ploughman.
"Now, Pig-wig, NOW!" said
Pigling Bland.
Never did any pigs run as these
pigs ran! They raced and squealed
and pelted down the long white hill
towards the bridge. Little fat Pigwig's
petticoats fluttered, and her
feet went pitter, patter, pitter, as
she bounded and jumped.
They ran, and they ran, and they
ran down the hill, and across a
short cut on level green turf at the
bottom, between pebble beds and
They came to the river, they
came to the bridge--they crossed it
hand in hand--then over the hills
and far away she danced with Pigling
With very kind regards to old Mr. John Taylor,
Who "thinks he might pass as a dormouse,"
(Three years in bed and never a grumble!).]
Once upon a time there was
a village shop. The name over
the window was "Ginger and
It was a little small shop
just the right size for Dolls--
Lucinda and Jane Doll-cook
always bought their groceries
at Ginger and Pickles.
The counter inside was a
convenient height for rabbits.
Ginger and Pickles sold red
spotty pocket handkerchiefs at
a penny three farthings.
They also sold sugar, and
snuff and galoshes.
In fact, although it was
such a small shop it sold
nearly everything--except a
few things that you want in
a hurry--like bootlaces, hairpins
and mutton chops.
Ginger and Pickles were the
people who kept the shop.
Ginger was a yellow tomcat,
and Pickles was a terrier.
The rabbits were always a
little bit afraid of Pickles.
The shop was also patronized
by mice--only the mice
were rather afraid of Ginger.
Ginger usually requested
Pickles to serve them, because
he said it made his mouth
"I cannot bear," said he, "to
see them going out at the door
carrying their little parcels."
"I have the same feeling
about rats," replied Pickles,
"but it would never do to eat
our customers; they would
leave us and go to Tabitha
"On the contrary, they
would go nowhere," replied
Ginger gloomily.
(Tabitha Twitchit kept the
only other shop in the village.
She did not give credit.)
But there is no money in
what is called the "till."
Ginger and Pickles gave
unlimited credit.
Now the meaning of
"credit" is this--when a customer
buys a bar of soap, instead
of the customer pulling
out a purse and paying for it
--she says she will pay another
And Pickles makes a low
bow and says, "With pleasure,
madam," and it is written
down in a book.
The customers come again
and again, and buy quantities,
in spite of being afraid of
Ginger and Pickles.
The customers came in
crowds every day and bought
quantities, especially the
toffee customers. But there was
always no money; they never
paid for as much as a pennyworth
of peppermints.
But the sales were enormous,
ten times as large as
Tabitha Twitchit's.
As there was always no
money, Ginger and Pickles
were obliged to eat their own
Pickles ate biscuits and Ginger
ate a dried haddock.
They ate them by candlelight
after the shop was
"It is very uncomfortable, I
am afraid I shall be summoned.
I have tried in vain to
get a license upon credit at the
Post Office;" said Pickles.
"The place is full of policemen.
I met one as I was coming
"Let us send in the bill
again to Samuel Whiskers,
Ginger, he owes 22/9 for
"I do not believe that he
intends to pay at all," replied
When it came to Jan. 1st
there was still no money, and
Pickles was unable to buy a
dog license.
"It is very unpleasant, I am
afraid of the police," said
"It is your own fault for
being a terrier; _I_ do not
require a license, and neither
does Kep, the Collie dog."
"And I feel sure that Anna
Maria pockets things--
"Where are all the cream
"You have eaten them yourself."
replied Ginger.
Ginger and Pickles retired
into the back parlor.
They did accounts. They
added up sums and sums, and
"Samuel Whiskers has run
up a bill as long as his tail; he
has had an ounce and threequarters
of snuff since October.
"What is seven pounds of
butter at 1/3, and a stick of
sealing wax and four
"Send in all the bills again
to everybody `with compliments,'"
replied Ginger.
Pickles nearly had a fit, he
barked and he barked and
made little rushes.
"Bite him, Pickles! bite
him!" spluttered Ginger behind
a sugar barrel, "he's only
a German doll!"
The policeman went on
writing in his notebook; twice
he put his pencil in his mouth,
and once he dipped it in the
Pickles barked till he was
hoarse. But still the policeman
took no notice. He had bead
eyes, and his helmet was
sewed on with stitches.
After a time they heard a
noise in the shop, as if something
had been pushed in at
the door. They came out of the
back parlor. There was an
envelope lying on the counter,
and a policeman writing in a
At length on his last little
rush--Pickles found that the
shop was empty. The policeman
had disappeared.
But the envelope remained.
"Do you think that he has
gone to fetch a real live policeman?
I am afraid it is a summons,"
said Pickles.
"No," replied Ginger, who
had opened the envelope, "it is
the rates and taxes, 3 pounds 19
11 3/4." [pounds are British money,
the 19 is schillings, and then pence]
"This is the last straw," said
Pickles, "let us close the shop."
They put up the shutters,
and left. But they have not
removed from the neighborhood.
In fact some people
wish they had gone further.
Ginger is living in the warren
[game preserve for rabbits].
I do not know what
occupation he pursues; he
looks stout and comfortable.
Pickles is at present a gamekeeper.
After a time Mr. John
Dormouse and his daughter
began to sell peppermints and
But they did not keep "selffitting
sixes"; and it takes five
mice to carry one seven inch
The closing of the shop
caused great inconvenience.
Tabitha Twitchit immediately
raised the price of everything
a halfpenny; and she continued
to refuse to give credit.
Of course there are the
tradesmen's carts--the butcher,
the fishman and Timothy
But a person cannot live on
"seed wigs" and sponge cake
and butter buns--not even
when the sponge cake is as
good as Timothy's!
And Miss Dormouse refused
to take back the ends when
they were brought back to her
with complaints.
And when Mr. John
Dormouse was complained to, he
stayed in bed, and would say
nothing but "very snug;"
which is not the way to carry
on a retail business.
Besides--the candles which
they sell behave very strangely
in warm weather.
So everybody was pleased
when Sally Henny Penny sent
out a printed poster to say
that she was going to reopen
the shop--"Henny's Opening
Sale! Grand cooperative Jumble!
Penny's penny prices!
Come buy, come try, come
The poster really was most
There was a rush upon the
opening day. The shop was
crammed with customers,
and there were crowds of
mice upon the biscuit cannisters.
Sally Henny Penny gets
rather flustered when she tries
to count out change, and she
insists on being paid cash; but
she is quite harmless.
And she has laid in a
remarkable assortment of
There is something to
please everybody.

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