Old Furry Tales.

Furry stories for the young at heart.

Return to Main Stories Page.
Old Furry Tales Index Page.

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net

If you live outside the United States Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing
these or any other Project Gutenberg eBooks.

If you want a copy of this ebook click here

Go to the home page

Gutenberg License: Read this first.     

Stories by Beatrix Potter.

Peter Rabbit.
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.
The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies.
The Roly-Poly Pudding.
The Tale of Mr. Tod.
The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle.
Ginger and Pickles.
The Story of Miss Moppet.
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher.
The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes.
The Pie and the Patty-Pan.
The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.
The Tale of Piglang Bland.
The Tale of Two Bad Mice.

The Project Gutenberg Etext of A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories
by Beatrix Potter
(#2 in our series by Beatrix Potter)

Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check
the laws for your country before redistributing these files!!!

Please take a look at the important information in this header.
We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an
electronic path open for the next readers.

Please do not remove this.

This should be the first thing seen when anyone opens the book.
Do not change or edit it without written permission.  The words
are carefully chosen to provide users with the information they
need about what they can legally do with the texts.

**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and
further information is included below.  We need your donations.
The Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation is a 501(c)(3).

Presently, contributions are only being solicited from people in:
Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada,
Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.

As the requirements for other states are met,
additions to this list will be made and fund raising
will begin in the additional states.

These donations should be made to:

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
PMB 113
1739 University Ave.
Oxford, MS 38655

Title: A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories

Author: Beatrix Potter

Release Date: July, 1996  [Etext #582]

Edition: 11

Language: English

The Project Gutenberg Etext of A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories
by Beatrix Potter
******This file should be named bpsto11.txt or bpsto11.zip******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, bpsto12.txt
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, bpsto11a.txt

Produced by Charles Keller for Tina, updates by Lisa Hill.

Project Gutenberg Etexts are usually created from multiple editions,
all of which are in the Public Domain in the United States, unless a
copyright notice is included.  Therefore, we usually do NOT keep any
of these books in compliance with any particular paper edition.

We are now trying to release all our books one year in advance
of the official release dates, leaving time for better editing.
Please be encouraged to send us error messages even years after
the official publication date.

Please note:  neither this list nor its contents are final till
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month.  A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so.

Most people start at our sites at:

Those of you who want to download any Etext before announcement
can surf to them as follows, and just download by date; this is
also a good way to get them instantly upon announcement, as the
indexes our cataloguers produce obviously take a while after an
announcement goes out in the Project Gutenberg Newsletter.


Or /etext01, 00, 99, 98, 97, 96, 95, 94, 93, 92, 92, 91 or 90

Just search by the first five letters of the filename you want,
as it appears in our Newsletters.

Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work.  The
time it takes us, a rather conservative estimate, is fifty hours
to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc.  This
projected audience is one hundred million readers.  If our value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2
million dollars per hour this year as we release fifty new Etext
files per month, or 500 more Etexts in 2000 for a total of 3000+
If they reach just 1-2% of the world's population then the total
should reach over 300 billion Etexts given away by year's end.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext
Files by December 31, 2001.  [10,000 x 100,000,000 = 1 Trillion]
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is only about 4% of the present number of computer users.

At our revised rates of production, we will reach only one-third
of that goal by the end of 2001, or about 3,333 Etexts unless we
manage to get some real funding.

Something is needed to create a future for Project Gutenberg for
the next 100 years.

We need your donations more than ever!

Presently, contributions are only being solicited from people in:
Colorado, Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada,
Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina,
South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.

As the requirements for other states are met,
additions to this list will be made and fund raising
will begin in the additional states.

These donations should be made to:

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
PMB 113
1739 University Ave.
Oxford, MS 38655

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
has been approved as a 501(c)(3) organization by the US Internal
Revenue Service (IRS).  Donations are tax-deductible to the extent
permitted by law.  As the requirements for other states are met,
additions to this list will be made and fund raising will begin in the
additional states.

All donations should be made to the Project Gutenberg Literary
Archive Foundation.  Mail to:

Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation
PMB 113
1739 University Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655  [USA]

We need your donations more than ever!

You can get up to date donation information at:



You can always email directly to:

Michael S. Hart 

hart@pobox.com forwards to hart@prairienet.org and archive.org
if your mail bounces from archive.org, I will still see it, if
it bounces from prairienet.org, better resend later on. . . .

We would prefer to send you this information by email.

Example command-line FTP session:

ftp ftp.ibiblio.org
login: anonymous
password: your@login
cd pub/docs/books/gutenberg
cd etext90 through etext99 or etext00 through etext02, etc.
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
GET GUTINDEX.??  [to get a year's listing of books, e.g., GUTINDEX.99]
GET GUTINDEX.ALL [to get a listing of ALL books]

**The Legal Small Print**

(Three Pages)

Why is this "Small Print!" statement here?  You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault.  So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you.  It also tells you how
you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement.  If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from.  If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etexts,
is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor Michael S. Hart
through the Project Gutenberg Association (the "Project").
Among other things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

Please do not use the "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark to market
any commercial products without permission.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works.  Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects".  Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
[1] the Project (and any other party you may receive this
etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including

If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from.  If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy.  If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.


Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.

You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or
indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:
[1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification,
or addition to the etext, or [3] any Defect.

You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,

[1]  Only give exact copies of it.  Among other things, this
     requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
     etext or this "small print!" statement.  You may however,
     if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
     binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
     including any form resulting from conversion by word
     processing or hypertext software, but only so long as

     [*]  The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
          does *not* contain characters other than those
          intended by the author of the work, although tilde
          (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
          be used to convey punctuation intended by the
          author, and additional characters may be used to
          indicate hypertext links; OR

     [*]  The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
          no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
          form by the program that displays the etext (as is
          the case, for instance, with most word processors);

     [*]  You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
          no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
          etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
          or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2]  Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
     "Small Print!" statement.

[3]  Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the
     gross profits you derive calculated using the method you
     already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  If you
     don't derive profits, no royalty is due.  Royalties are
     payable to "Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation"
     the 60 days following each date you prepare (or were
     legally required to prepare) your annual (or equivalent
     periodic) tax return.  Please contact us beforehand to
     let us know your plans and to work out the details.

The Project gratefully accepts contributions of money, time,
public domain etexts, and royalty free copyright licenses.
If you are interested in contributing scanning equipment or
software or other items, please contact Michael Hart at:


Some of these pages were OCR'd by
Charles Keller for Tina with
OmniPage Professional OCR software
donated by Caere Corporation, 1-800-535-7226.
Contact Mike Lough 

The Original
Peter Rabbit Books
[*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??

Go to the home page

    Back to top 


ONCE upon a time there
were four little Rabbits,
and their names were--
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.

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

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.

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

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

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

"One table-spoonful to be
taken at bed-time."

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


Go to the home page

    Back to top 



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

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

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 was sitting by himself.
He looked poorly,
and was dressed in a red cotton

"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

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

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

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

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

Then he took out his nephew

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


Go to the home page

    Back to top 



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

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

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

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

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.

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

"One, two, three, four, five,
six leetle rabbits!" said Mr.

"EH? What's that? What
have they been spoiling
now?" enquired Mrs.

"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

"In the sack! one, two, three,
four, five, six!" replied Mr.

(The youngest Flopsy Bunny
got upon the window-sill.)

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

"Rabbit tobacco! I shall
skin them and cut off their

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

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.


Go to the home page

    Back to top 



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

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-

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

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

"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

"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

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

"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

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

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.


Go to the home page

    Back to top 


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

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

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

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

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

There was nothing stirring, and
no sound except the drip, drop,
drop drip of water trickling from
the mattress.

Mr. Tod watched it for half an
hour; his eyes glistened.

Then he cut a caper, and became
so bold that he even tapped at
the window; but the bundle never

Yes--there was no doubt about
it--it had turned out even better
than he had planned; the pail had
hit poor old Tommy Brock, and
killed him dead!

"I will bury that nasty person in
the hole which he has dug. I will
bring my bedding out, and dry it in
the sun," said Mr. Tod.

"I will wash the tablecloth and
spread it on the grass in the sun to
bleach. And the blanket must be
hung up in the wind; and the bed
must be thoroughly disinfected, and
aired with a warming-pan; and
warmed with a hot-water bottle."

"I will get soft soap, and monkey
soap, and all sorts of soap; and
soda and scrubbing brushes; and
persian powder; and carbolic to
remove the smell. I must have a
disinfecting. Perhaps I may have
to burn sulphur."

He hurried round the house to
get a shovel from the kitchen--
"First I will arrange the hole--
then I will drag out that person in
the blanket . . ."

He opened the door. . . .

Tommy Brock was sitting at Mr.
Tod's kitchen table, pouring out
tea from Mr. Tod's 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

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.


Go to the home page

    Back to top 



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-

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,

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

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

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 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

"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

"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

"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-

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

"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-

"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

"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-

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

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!)

Go to the home page

    Back to top 


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

It was a little small shop just the
right size for Dolls--Lucinda and
Jane Doll-cook always bought their
groceries at Ginger and Pickles.

The counter inside was a
convenient height for rabbits. Ginger
and Pickles sold red spotty pocket-
handkerchiefs at a penny three

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

Now the meaning of "credit" is
this--when a customer buys a bar
of soap, instead of the customer
pulling out a purse and paying for
it--she says she will pay another

And Pickles makes a low bow and
says, "With pleasure, madam,"
and it is written down in a book.

The customers come again and
again, and buy quantities, in spite
of being afraid of Ginger and

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

"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

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

Pickles nearly had a fit, he barked
and he barked and made little

"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

"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

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

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

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

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

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


Go to the home page

    Back to top 


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.

her head in a duster,
and sits before the fire.

THE Mouse thinks she is
looking very ill. He
comes sliding down the bell-

worse and worse. The
Mouse comes a little nearer.

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

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!


Go to the home page

    Back to top 



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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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.

wore his black and gold

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


Go to the home page

    Back to top 



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

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

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

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

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-

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-

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

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

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--


no reply; he had tumbled
down inside the tree, upon
half a peck of nuts belonging
to himself. He lay quite
stunned and still.

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

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

"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

     "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,

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

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

AT last a large bear came
walking through the
wood. Perhaps he also was
looking for nuts; he seemed
to be sniffing around.

home in a hurry!

AND when Chippy Hackee
got home, he found he
had caught a cold in his head;
and he was more uncomfortable

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


Go to the home page

    Back to top 


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

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

"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

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

"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

"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

"There isn't a patty-pan," said
Ribby, looking perplexed.

"Yes, indeed, my dear Ribby;
where can it have gone to?" said

"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

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

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

"I am feeling very much better,"
said Duchess, waking up with a

"I am truly glad to hear it!"
He has brought you a pill, my dear

"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!"

and spinach!
ha ha HA!"
shouted Dr.
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

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


Go to the home page

    Back to top 


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

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.

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--

THE gentleman raised his
eyes above his newspaper
and looked curiously at

"Madam, have you lost your
way?" said he. He had a long
bushy tail which he was sitting
upon, as the stump was somewhat

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

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.

was a simpleton: not even
the mention of sage and onions
made her suspicious.

She went round the farm-
garden, nibbling off snippets
of all the different sorts of
herbs that are used for stuffing
roast duck.

AND she waddled into the
kitchen, and got two
onions out of a basket.

The collie-dog Kep met her
coming out, "What are you
doing with those onions?
Where do you go every afternoon
by yourself, Jemima

Jemima was rather in awe
of the collie; she told him the
whole story.

The collie listened, with his
wise head on one side; he
grinned when she described
the polite gentleman with
sandy whiskers.

HE asked several questions
about the wood, and
about the exact position of the
house and shed.

Then he went out, and
trotted down the village. He
went to look for two fox-hound
puppies who were out at walk
with the butcher.

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

She felt surprised, and

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

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

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

He had a bite on his ear
and both the puppies were

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.


Go to the home page

    Back to top 




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

"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

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

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

But presently they made it up
again, and trotted away together,

          "Tom, Tom, the piper's son, stole a pig
               and away he ran!
          "But all the tune that he could play,
               was 'Over the hills and far away!'"

"What's that, young sirs? Stole
a pig? Where are your 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.

"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

"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

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

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

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

"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

"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

"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

          "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,

          "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

"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!


Go to the home page

    Back to top 


W. M. L. W.

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

THERE were two red lobsters,
and a ham, a fish,
a pudding, and some pears and

They would not come off the
plates, but they were extremely

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

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."

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!"

every tin spoon in turn;
the fish was glued to the dish.

Then Tom Thumb lost his
temper. He put the ham in
the middle of the floor, and hit
it with the tongs and with
the shovel--bang, bang, smash,

The ham flew all into pieces,
for underneath the shiny paint
it was made of nothing but

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.

them behind the coal-
box, and went to fetch a cradle.

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

WHAT a sight met the
eyes of Jane and

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

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

AND very early every morning
--before anybody is
awake--Hunca Munca comes
with her dust-pan and her
broom to sweep the Dollies'


End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories
by Beatrix Potter

Go to the home page

    Back to top 

Home | Stories | Gallery | Clipart | News | New Pictures | Comics | E Cards | Links | Rings | Contact | About Me | FanArt

Web Page 2005 by Donald L Brown