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´╗┐Title: A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories
Author: Potter, Beatrix, 1866-1943
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



with OmniPage



The Original

Peter Rabbit Books

By BEATRIX POTTER

    A LIST OF THE TITLES
    [*indicates included here]

    *The Tale of Peter Rabbit
    The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin
    The Tailor of Gloucester
    *The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
    *The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle
    *The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
    The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
    *The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck
    *The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies
    The Story of a Fierce Bad Rabbit
    *The Tale of Two Bad Mice
    The Tale of Tom Kitten
    The Tale of Mrs. Tittlemouse
    *The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes
    *The Tale of Mr. Tod
    *The Tale of Pigling Bland
    *The Roly Poly Pudding
    *The Pie and the Patty-pan
    *Ginger and Pickles
    *The Story of Miss Moppet
    Appley Dapply's Nursery Rhymes
    The Tale of Little Pig Robinson??



THE TALE OF PETER RABBIT BY BEATRIX POTTER



ONCE upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were--
Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, 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, to the baker's. She
bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns.

FLOPSY, Mopsy, and Cottontail, 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
radishes;

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.
McGregor!

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 flower-pot. 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 underneath.

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 gold-fish; 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 had heard about cats from his cousin, little Benjamin Bunny.

HE went back towards the tool-shed, 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 bed-time."

BUT Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries,
for supper.

THE END



THE TALE OF BENJAMIN BUNNY

FOR THE CHILDREN OF SAWREY FROM OLD MR. BUNNY


ONE morning a little rabbit sat on a bank.

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, cousins--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail and Peter.

Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she earned her living by knitting
rabbit-wool mittens and muffetees (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 fir-tree, 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 rain.

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 soft.

IT had been sown with lettuces.

They left a great many odd little foot-marks all over the bed,
especially little Benjamin, who was wearing clogs.

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 pocket
handkerchief.

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 dinner.

(The name of little Benjamin's papa was old Mr. Benjamin Bunny.)

The lettuces certainly were very fine.

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 door-steps cracking cherry-stones, they winked at
Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin Bunny.

PRESENTLY Peter let the pocket-handkerchief 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
basket.

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 rabbit-tobacco, and had a little switch in his
hand.

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 garden-house,
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 green-house, he locked
the door.

Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the
ears, and whipped him with the little switch.

Then he took out his nephew Peter.

THEN he took out the handkerchief of onions, and marched out of the
garden.

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 foot-marks were too ridiculously little!

Also he could not understand how the cat could have managed to shut
herself up INSIDE the green-house, 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 rabbit-tobacco.

THE END



THE TALE OF THE FLOPSY BUNNIES

FOR ALL LITTLE FRIENDS OF MR. McGREGOR & PETER & 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
rabbit.

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 flower.

THE Flopsy Bunnies simply stuffed 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 blue-bottles 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 tail.)

SHE rustled across the paper bag, and awakened Benjamin Bunny.

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 up.

MR. McGREGOR tied up the sack and left it on the wall.

He went to put away the mowing machine.

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 was?

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 string.

But Mrs. Tittlemouse was a resourceful person. She nibbled a hole in the
bottom corner of the sack.

THE little rabbits were pulled out and pinched to wake them.

Their parents stuffed the empty sack with three rotten vegetable
marrows, an old blacking-brush 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 off.

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 window-sill.)

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 home.

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.

THE END



IN REMEMBRANCE OF "SAMMY," THE INTELLIGENT PINK-EYED REPRESENTATIVE OF A
PERSECUTED (BUT IRREPRESSIBLE) RACE. AN AFFECTIONATE LITTLE FRIEND. AND
MOST ACCOMPLISHED THIEF!

THE ROLY-POLY PUDDING


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
anywhere.

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 dreadfully.

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
yeast.

Mrs. 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 an 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 cup-board!"

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 hole."

"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 again.

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 up the jar, and she scrambled out.

"Oh, Mother, Mother!" said Mittens--

"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 another.

"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 chest?"

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 old-fashioned fireplace.

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 jacket."

The chimney was a very big old-fashioned 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 dinner."

"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
breadcrumbs."

"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
anybody.

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 busy lighting the
candle to look into the chest.

They did not see him.

Anna Maria went down by way of the 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 help.

But his mouth was full of soot and cob-webs, and he was tied up in such
very tight knots, he could not make anybody hear him.

Except a spider, which 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
blue-bottles. It did not offer to assist him.

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 spat, 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 contrary."

"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 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 off.

John Joiner smelt the pudding; but he regretted that he had not time to
stay to dinner, because he had just finished making a wheel-barrow 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
lane from the corner, and I saw Mr. Samuel Whiskers and his wife on the
run, with big bundles on a little wheel-barrow, which looked very 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
luggage.

I am sure _I_ never gave her leave to borrow my wheel-barrow!

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 grand-children and great great grand-children.

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
comfortably.

They hang up the rats' tails in a row or 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.

THE END



THE TALE OF MR. TOD


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 foxey whiskers; they never knew where he
would be next.

One day he was living in a stick-house in the coppice, 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 day-time, 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 Brock.

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 foot-mark
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 foxey flavour 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
refreshment. 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 a twitter. 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 half-grown
little rabbits playing about her; one black and the others brown.

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 Bunny.

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
neighbours. Come on Cousin Benjamin!"

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 peeping.

This house was something between a cave, a prison, and a tumble-down
pig-stye. 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 over-grown with thorns and briars.

The rabbits shivered in their shoes.

"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 window-sill.

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 a twitter, pulled Peter off the window-sill.

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 night.

As usual, when out of humour, 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 table-cloth 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 rabbit.

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 uneasy, (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 window sill. 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 quickly.

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 endeavoured 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 thin-legged 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 himself.

The snores became more and more apoplectic. One of Tommy Brock's hind
legs twitched under the blanket, but still he slept on peacefully.

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 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 window sill 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. Tod.

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 flattened
SOMETHING--much dinged in, in the middle where the pail had caught it
(as it were across the tummy). Its head was covered by the wet blanket
and it was NOT SNORING ANY LONGER.

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 moved.

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 tea-pot into Mr. Tod's tea-cup. He was quite dry himself and
grinning; and he threw the cup of scalding tea all over Mr. Tod.

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 canisters 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
at 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 quarrelling 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, amongst 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 long new 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. Tod.

THE END



THE TALE OF MRS. TIGGY-WINKLE

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, has 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 away.

Lucie climbed upon the stile and looked up at the hill behind
Little-town--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 stout 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 hill-side.

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
egg-cup! And where the sand upon the path was wet--there were foot-marks
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 that?"

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 had PRICKLES!

"WHO are you?" said Lucie. "Have you seen my pocket-handkins?"

The little person made a bob-curtsey--"Oh, yes, if you please'm; my name
is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle; oh, yes if you please'm, I'm an excellent
clear-starcher!" And she took something out of a clothes-basket, 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 pocket-handkins!" 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 handkersniff--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 the
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. Tiggy-winkle. "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 wooly coats belonging to the little lambs at Skelghyl."

"Will their jackets take off?" asked Lucy.

"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 mole-skin 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 HAIR-PINS 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 door-sill.

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 Bunny!

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 PRICKLES!

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!)


THE TALE OF GINGER & PICKLES

ONCE upon a time there was a village shop. The name over the window was
"Ginger and Pickles."

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,
hair-pins and mutton chops.

Ginger and Pickles were the people who kept the shop. Ginger was a
yellow tom-cat, 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 water.

"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 own customers; they would leave us and go to Tabitha
Twitchit's."

"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.)

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 time.

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.

But there is no money in what is called the "till."

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 goods.

Pickles ate biscuits and Ginger ate a dried haddock.

They ate them by candle-light after the shop was closed.

When it came to Jan. 1st there was still no money, and Pickles was
unable to buy a dog licence.

"It is very unpleasant, I am afraid of the police," said Pickles.

"It is your own fault for being a terrier; _I_ do not require a licence,
and neither does Kep, the Collie dog."

"It is very uncomfortable, I am afraid I shall be summoned. I have tried
in vain to get a licence upon credit at the Post Office;" said Pickles.
"The place is full of policemen. I met one as I was coming home."

"Let us send in the bill again to Samuel Whiskers, Ginger, he owes 22/9
for bacon."

"I do not believe that he intends to pay at all," replied Ginger.

"And I feel sure that Anna Maria pockets things--Where are all the cream
crackers?" "You have eaten them yourself," replied Ginger.

Ginger and Pickles retired into the back parlour.

They did accounts. They added up sums and sums, and sums.

"Samuel Whiskers has run up a bill as long as his tail; he has had an
ounce and three-quarters of snuff since October."

"What is seven pounds of butter at 1/3, and a stick of sealing wax and
four matches?"

"Send in all the bills again to everybody 'with compts'" replied Ginger.

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 parlour. There was an
envelope lying on the counter, and a policeman writing in a note-book!

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 treacle.

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.

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, L 3 19 11 3/4."

"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
neighbourhood. In fact some people wish they had gone further.

Ginger is living in the warren. I do not know what occupation he
pursues; he looks stout and comfortable.

Pickles is at present a gamekeeper.

The closing of the shop caused great inconvenience. Tabitha Twitchit
immediately raised the price of everything a half-penny; and she
continued to refuse to give credit.

Of course there are the trades-men's carts--the butcher, the fishman and
Timothy Baker.

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!

After a time Mr. John Dormouse and his daughter began to sell
peppermints and candles.

But they did not keep "self-fitting sixes"; and it takes five mice to
carry one seven inch candle.

Besides--the candles which they sell behave very strangely in warm
weather.

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.

So everybody was pleased when Sally Henny Penny sent out a printed
poster to say that she was going to re-open the shop--"Henny's Opening
Sale! Grand co-operative Jumble! Penny's penny prices! Come buy, come
try, come buy!"

The poster really was most 'ticing.

There was a rush upon the opening day. The shop was crammed with
customers, and there were crowds of mice upon the biscuit canisters.

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 bargains.

There is something to please everybody.

THE END



THE STORY OF MISS MOPPET


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 cupboard!

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
bell-pull.

MISS MOPPET looks worse and worse. The Mouse comes a little nearer.

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 the top of
the cupboard!

THE END



THE TALE OF MR. JEREMY FISHER

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 macintosh, and a pair of shiny goloshes; 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 his boat to it.

Then he settled himself cross-legged 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 goloshes.

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 pond.

"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 macintosh!

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 pond!

BUT the trout was so displeased with the taste of the macintosh, that in
less than half a minute it spat him out again; and the only thing it
swallowed was Mr. Jeremy's goloshes.

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 macintosh 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 again!"

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 larder.

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!

THE END



THE TALE OF TIMMY TIPTOES

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
spring-time," 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 wood-pecker; 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 spring-time, 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 commotion!

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-been-digging-up
MY nuts?"

And another sang--"Little bita bread and-NO-cheese! Little bit-a-bread
an'-NO-cheese!"

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's-been-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
still.

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 away.

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 down-stairs; 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 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 nut crackers, 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 dum 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 umbrella.

BUT Chippy Hackee continued to camp out for another week, although it
was uncomfortable.

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 still.

And now Timmy and Goody Tiptoes keep their nut-store fastened up with a
little padlock.

AND whenever that little bird sees the Chipmunks, he
sings--"Who's-been-digging-up MY-nuts? Who's been digging-up MY-nuts?"
But nobody ever answers!

THE END



THE PIE AND THE PATTY-PAN

    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.

Duchess read the letter and wrote an answer:--"I will come with much
pleasure at a quarter past four. But it is very strange. _I_ was just
going to invite you to come here, to supper, my dear Ribby, to eat
something MOST DELICIOUS."

"I will come very punctually, my dear Ribby," wrote Duchess; and then at
the end she added--"I hope it isn't mouse?"

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.

"It is all ready to put into the oven. Such lovely pie-crust; and I put
in a little tin patty-pan to hold up the crust; and I made a hole in the
middle with a fork to let out the steam--Oh I do wish I could eat my own
pie, instead of a pie made of mouse!"

Duchess considered and considered and read Ribby' s letter again--

"A pink and white pie-dish-and YOU shall eat it all. 'You' means
me--then Ribby is not going to even taste the pie herself? A pink and
white pie-dish! Ribby is sure to go out to buy the muffins..... Oh what
a good idea! Why shouldn't I rush along and put my pie into Ribby's oven
when Ribby isn't there?"

Duchess was quite delighted with her own cleverness!

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. "It is a pie of
the most delicate and tender mouse minced up with bacon. And I have
taken out all the bones; because Duchess did nearly choke herself with a
fish-bone last time I gave a party. She eats a little fast--rather big
mouthfuls. But a most genteel and elegant little dog infinitely superior
company to Cousin Tabitha Twitchit."

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. She shook the mats out at the front-door and put
them straight; the hearth-rug was a rabbit-skin. She dusted the clock
and the ornaments on the mantelpiece, and she polished and rubbed the
tables and chairs.

Then she spread a very clean white table-cloth, and set out her best
china tea-set, which she took out of a wall-cupboard near the fireplace.
The tea-cups were white with a pattern of pink roses; and the
dinner-plates were white and blue.

When Ribby had laid the table she took a jug and a blue and white dish,
and 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 marmalade.

And just at the same time, Duchess came out of HER house, at the other
end of the village.

Ribby met Duchess half-way own 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.

Cousin Tabitha was disdainful afterwards in conversation--

"A little DOG indeed! Just as if there were no CATS in Sawrey! And a PIE
for afternoon tea! The very idea!" said 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.

"I trust that is not that Pie: the spoons are locked up, however," said
Ribby.

But there was nobody there. Ribby opened the bottom oven door with some
difficulty, and turned the pie. There began to be a pleasing smell of
baked mouse!

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 door!"

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 put on a lilac silk gown, for the party, and an embroidered muslin
apron and tippet.

"It is very strange," said Ribby, "I did not THINK I left that drawer
pulled out; has somebody been trying on my mittens?"

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. I wonder why that cupboard door was open? Can
there really have been some one in the house?"

Very punctually at four o'clock, Duchess started to go to the party. She
ran so fast through the village that she was too early, and she had to
wait a little while in the lane that leads down to Ribby's house.

"I wonder if Ribby has taken MY pie out of the oven yet?" said Duchess,
"and whatever can have become of the other pie made of mouse?"

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!"

"Do not talk about food, my dear Ribby," said Duchess; "what a lovely
white tea-cloth!.... Is it done to a turn? Is it still in the oven?"

"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; how beautifully you beg! Oh, how
sweetly pretty!"

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
tea-table, 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.

"Do you really prefer muffin? Mind the patty-pan!"

"I beg your pardon?" said Ribby.

"May I pass you the marmalade?" said Duchess hurriedly.

The pie proved extremely toothsome, and the muffins light and hot. They
disappeared rapidly, especially the pie!

"I think"--(thought the 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."

"How fast Duchess is eating!" thought Ribby to herself, as she buttered
her fifth muffin.

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 mouse."

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.

"There most certainly is not one, my dear Duchess. I disapprove of tin
articles in puddings and pies. It is most undesirable--(especially when
people swallow in lumps!)" she added in a lower voice.

Duchess looked very much alarmed, and continued to scoop the inside of
the pie-dish.

"My Great-aunt Squintina (grandmother of Cousin Tabitha Twitchit)--died
of a thimble in a Christmas plum-pudding. _I_ never put any article of
metal in MY puddings or pies."

Duchess looked aghast, and tilted up 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."

Duchess moaned and whined and rocked herself about.

"Oh I feel so dreadful. I have swallowed a patty-pan!"

"There was NOTHING in the pie," said Ribby severely.

"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; I have swallowed a
large tin patty-pan with a sharp scalloped edge!"

"Shall I run for the doctor? I will just lock up the spoons!"

"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.

He was occupied in putting rusty nails into a bottle of ink, which he
had obtained at the post office.

"Gammon? ha! HA!" said he, with his head on one side.

Ribby explained that her guest had swallowed a patty-pan.

"Spinach? ha! HA!" said he, and accompanied her with alacrity.

He hopped so fast that Ribby--had to run. It was most conspicuous. All
the village could see that Ribby was fetching the doctor.

"I KNEW they would over-eat themselves!" said Cousin Tabitha Twitchit.

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 unhappy.

"How COULD I have swallowed it! such a large thing as a patty-pan!"

She got up and went to the table, and felt inside the pie-dish again
with a spoon.

"No; there is no patty-pan, and I put one in; and nobody has eaten pie
except me, so I must have swallowed it!"

She sat down again, and stared mournfully at the grate. The fire
crackled and danced, and something sizz-z-zled!

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.

"Gammon, ha, HA?" said the doctor.

"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!"

"Gammon? Gammon?" said the doctor, while Duchess coughed and choked.

"Don't say that again!" said Ribby, losing her temper--"Here, take this
bread and jam, and get out into the yard!"

"Gammon and spinach! ha ha HA!" shouted Dr. Maggotty triumphantly
outside the back door.

"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 Duchess. I will lend you a nice warm
shawl, and you shall take my arm."

"I would not trouble you for worlds; I feel wonderfully better. One pill
of Dr. Maggotty----"

"Indeed it is most admirable, if it has cured you of a patty-pan! I will
call directly after breakfast to ask how you have slept."

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 pie-crust, and the magpie was drinking gravy out of
a patty-pan.

"Gammon, ha, HA!" he shouted when he saw Duchess's little black nose
peeping round the corner.

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
yard. The patty-pan was under the pump, where Dr Maggotty had
considerately left it.

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!"


THE END



THE TALE OF JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK 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 some one 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 would!"

"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 tree-tops until she saw an open place in the
middle of the wood, where the trees and brushwood had been cleared.

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 fox-gloves.

But--seated upon the stump, she was startled to find an elegantly
dressed gentleman reading a newspaper.

He had black prick ears and sandy coloured whiskers.

"Quack?" said Jemima Puddle-duck, with her head and her bonnet on 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-place.

"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 coat-tail 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 wood-shed. 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
fox-gloves.

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 tumble-down 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 sandy whiskered 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 next day.

He said he loved eggs and ducklings; he should be proud to see a fine
nestful in his wood-shed.

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 ourselves!

"May I ask you to bring up some herbs from the farm-garden to make a
savoury omelette? Sage and thyme, and mint and two onions, and some
parsley. I will provide lard for the stuff-lard for the omelette," said
the hospitable gentleman with sandy whiskers.

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
Puddle-duck?"

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
fox-hound 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 omelette. 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. Some one with a black nose sniffed at the bottom of the door, and
then locked it.

Jemima became much alarmed.

A MOMENT afterwards there were most awful noises--barking, baying,
growls and howls, squealing and groans.

And nothing more was ever seen of that foxy-whiskered gentleman.

PRESENTLY Kep opened the door of the shed, and let out Jemima
Puddle-duck.

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 eggs.

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.

THE END



THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND

FOR CECILY AND CHARLIE, A TALE OF THE CHRISTMAS PIG.

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND


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 tail.

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 Bland."

"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 Cross-patch 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 cheek.

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 sign-posts 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 licences 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 volatile.

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,
singing--

    "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 licences?" 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 licence." Alexander's nose lengthened visibly, he had lost
it. "I had one, indeed I had, Mr. Policeman!"

"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 neighbourhood; 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 to-morrow 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 disagreeable--

"I wish I could have a little garden and grow potatoes," said Pigling
Bland.

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 out.

"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! jiggetty jig!" 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 morning.

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 him.

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, 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 to see 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 neighbour, 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 market.

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 off!"

Pigling Bland put down a plate which he was wiping, and listened.

After a long pause, Pigling went on tip-toe 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 key-hole. 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 the remaining six
peppermints.

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 round.

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 Pig-wig
cheerfully. "Why on earth don't you run away?" exclaimed the horrified
Pigling.

"I shall after supper," said Pig-wig decidedly.

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. Pig-wig's gratitude was such and she asked so
many questions that it became embarrassing to Pigling Bland.

He was obliged to shut his eyes and pretend to sleep. She became quiet,
and there was a smell of peppermint.

"I thought you had eaten them," said Pigling, waking suddenly.

"Only the corners," replied Pig-wig, 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 tooth-ache," said Pigling much dismayed.

"Then I will sing," replied Pig-wig. "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, 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 hearth-rug.

Pigling Bland, on tip-toe, 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 Pig-wig. She was excited and half-frightened.
"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 neighbourhood of Mr. Piperson's was all scratched up by
fowls. They slipped away hand in hand across an untidy field to the
road.

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 Pig-wig. She dropped Pigling's hand and
commenced to dance, singing--

         "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 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 Pig-wig. 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 boundary.

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 news-paper, 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 vacantly.

"Are you deaf? Are you going to market?" Pigling nodded slowly.

"I thought as much. It was yesterday. Show me your licence?"

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 licence?" 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 run!

"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 Pig-wig'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 rushes.

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 Bland!

THE END



THE TALE OF TWO BAD MICE

FOR W. M. L. W. THE LITTLE GIRL WHO HAD THE DOLL 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 meals.

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 fireplace. Tom Thumb and
Hunca Munca went cautiously across the hearth-rug. They pushed the front
door--it was not fast.

TOM THUMB and Hunca Munca went up-stairs 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 convenient!

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,
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, labeled
"Rice," "Coffee" "Sago"; but when she turned them upside down there was
nothing inside except red and blue beads.

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 Thumb's assistance she carried the bolster down-stairs and
across the hearth-rug. It was difficult to squeeze the bolster into the
mouse-hole; but they managed it somehow.

THEN Hunca Munca went back and fetched a chair, a bookcase, a bird-cage,
and several small odds and ends. The bookcase and the bird-cage refused
to go into the mouse-hole.

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 leaned
against the kitchen dresser and smiled; but neither of them made any
remark.

THE bookcase and the bird-cage were rescued from under the coal-box; but
Hunca Munca has got the cradle and some of Lucinda's clothes.

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 mouse-trap!"

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!

THE END





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