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A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories by Beatrix Potter

Part 3 out of 3

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Ribby put on some coal and
swept up the hearth. Then she
went out with a can to the well,
for water to fill up the kettle.

Then she began to set the room
in order, for it was the sitting-room
as well as the kitchen. She shook
the mats out at the front-door and
put them straight; the hearth-rug
was a rabbit-skin. She dusted the
clock and the ornaments on the
mantelpiece, and she polished and
rubbed the tables and chairs.

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

When Ribby had laid the table
she took a jug and a blue and white
dish, and went out down the field to
the farm, to fetch milk and butter.

When she came back, she peeped
into the bottom oven; the pie looked
very comfortable.

Ribby put on her shawl and
bonnet and went out again with a
basket, to the village shop to buy a
packet of tea, a pound of lump
sugar, and a pot of marmalade.

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

Ribby met Duchess half-way
own the street, also carrying a
basket, covered with a cloth. They
only bowed to one another; they
did not speak, because they were
going to have a party.

As soon as Duchess had got
round the corner out of sight--she
simply ran! Straight away to
Ribby's house!

Ribby went into the shop and
bought what she required, and
came out, after a pleasant gossip
with Cousin Tabitha Twitchit.

Cousin Tabitha was disdainful
afterwards in conversation--

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

Ribby went on to Timothy
Baker's and bought the muffins.
Then she went home.

There seemed to be a sort of
scuffling noise in the back passage,
as she was coming in at the front
door.

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

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

Duchess in the meantime, had
slipped out at the back door.

"It is a very odd thing that
Ribby's pie was NOT in the oven
when I put mine in! And I can t
find it anywhere; I have looked all
over the house. I put MY pie into
a nice hot oven at the top. I could
not turn any of the other handles;
I think that they are all shams,"
said Duchess, "but I wish I could
have removed the pie made of
mouse! I cannot think what she
has done with it? I heard Ribby
coming and I had to run out by the
back door!"

Duchess went home and brushed
her beautiful black coat; and then
she picked a bunch of flowers in
her garden as a present for Ribby;
and passed the time until the clock
struck four.

Ribby--having assured herself
by careful search that there was
really no one hiding in the cupboard
or in the larder--went
upstairs to change her dress.

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

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

She came downstairs again, and
made the tea, and put the teapot on
the hob. She peeped again into
the BOTTOM oven, the pie had become
a lovely brown, and it was
steaming hot.

She sat down before the fire to
wait for the little dog. "I am glad
I used the BOTTOM oven," said Ribby,
"the top one would certainly
have been very much too hot. I
wonder why that cupboard door
was open? Can there really have
been some one in the house?"

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

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

At a quarter past four to the
minute, there came a most genteel
little tap-tappity. "Is Mrs. Ribston
at home?" inquired Duchess in
the porch.

"Come in! and how do you do,
my dear Duchess?" cried Ribby.
"I hope I see you well?"

"Quite well, I thank you, and
how do YOU do, my dear Ribby?"
said Duchess. "I've brought you
some flowers; what a delicious
smell of pie!"

"Oh, what lovely flowers! Yes,
it is mouse and bacon!"

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

"I think it wants another five
minutes," said Ribby. "Just a
shade longer; I will pour out the
tea, while we wait. Do you take
sugar, my dear Duchess?"

"Oh yes, please! my dear
Ribby; and may I have a lump
upon my nose?"

"With pleasure, my dear Duchess;
how beautifully you beg! Oh,
how sweetly pretty!"

Duchess sat up with the sugar
on her nose and sniffed--

"How good that pie smells! I
do love veal and ham--I mean to
say mouse and bacon----"

She dropped the sugar in
confusion, and had to go hunting under
the tea-table, so did not see which
oven Ribby opened in order to get
out the pie.

Ribby set the pie upon the table;
there was a very savoury smell.

Duchess came out from under
the table-cloth munching sugar,
and sat up on a chair.

"I will first cut the pie for you;
I am going to have muffin and
marmalade," said Ribby.

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

"I beg your pardon?" said Ribby.

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

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

"I think"--(thought the Duchess
to herself)--"I THINK it would
be wiser if I helped myself to pie;
though Ribby did not seem to notice
anything when she was cutting it.
What very small fine pieces it has
cooked into! I did not remember that
I had minced it up so fine; I suppose
this is a quicker oven than my own."

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

The pie-dish was emptying
rapidly! Duchess
had had four
helps already, and
was fumbling
with the spoon.

"A little more bacon, my dear
Duchess?" said Ribby.

"Thank you, my dear Ribby; I
was only feeling for the patty-pan."

"The patty-pan? my dear
Duchess?"

"The patty-pan that held up the
pie-crust," said Duchess, blushing
under her black coat.

"Oh, I didn't put one in, my
dear Duchess," said Ribby; "I
don't think that it is necessary in
pies made of mouse."

Duchess fumbled with the spoon
--"I can't find it!" she said
anxiously.

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

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

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

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

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

Duchess looked aghast, and
tilted up the pie-dish.

"I have only four patty-pans,
and they are all in the cupboard."

Duchess set up a howl.

"I shall die! I shall die! I have
swallowed a patty-pan! Oh, my
dear Ribby, I do feel so ill!"

"It is impossible, my dear
Duchess; there was not a patty-pan."

Duchess moaned and whined
and rocked herself about.

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

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

"Yes there WAS, my dear Ribby,
I am sure I have swallowed it!"

"Let me prop you up with a
pillow, my dear Duchess; where do
you think you feel it?"

"Oh I do feel so ill ALL OVER me,
my dear Ribby; I have swallowed
a large tin patty-pan with a sharp
scalloped edge!"

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

"Oh yes, yes! fetch Dr. Maggotty,
my dear Ribby: he is a Pie
himself, he will certainly understand."

Ribby settled Duchess in an
armchair before the fire, and went
out and hurried to the village to
look for the doctor.

She found him at the smithy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

But while Ribby had been hunting
for the doctor--a curious thing
had happened to Duchess, who had
been left by herself, sitting before
the fire, sighing and groaning and
feeling very unhappy.

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

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

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

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

Duchess started! She opened the
door of the TOP oven;--out came a
rich steamy flavour of veal and
ham, and there stood a fine brown
pie,--and through a hole in the top
of the pie-crust there was a glimpse
of a little tin patty-pan!

Duchess drew a long breath--

"Then I must have been eating
MOUSE! . . . NO wonder I feel ill.
. . . But perhaps I should feel worse
if I had really swallowed a patty-
pan!" Duchess reflected--"What
a very awkward thing to have
to explain to Ribby! I think
I will put my pie in the back-yard
and say nothing about it. When
I go home, I will run round and
take it away." She put it outside
the back-door, and sat down again
by the fire, and shut her eyes; when
Ribby arrived with the doctor, she
seemed fast asleep.

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

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

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

"I think I should feel QUITE well
if he only felt my pulse," said
Duchess, backing away from the
magpie, who sidled up with something
in his beak.

"It is only a bread pill, you had
much better take it; drink a little
milk, my dear Duchess!"

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

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

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

"I am feeling very much better,
my dear Ribby," said Duchess.
"Do you not think that I had better
go home before it gets dark?"

"Perhaps it might be wise, my
dear Duchess. I will lend you a
nice warm shawl, and you shall
take my arm."

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

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

Ribby and Duchess said good-
bye affectionately, and Duchess
started home. Half-way up the
lane she stopped and looked back;
Ribby had gone in and shut her
door. Duchess slipped through the
fence, and ran round to the back
of Ribby's house, and peeped into
the yard.

Upon the roof of the pig-stye sat
Dr. Maggotty and three jackdaws.
The jackdaws were eating pie-
crust, and the magpie was drinking
gravy out of a patty-pan.

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

Duchess ran home feeling uncommonly
silly!

When Ribby came out for a pailful
of water to wash up the tea-
things, she found a pink and white
pie-dish lying smashed in the middle
of the yard. The patty-pan
was under the pump, where Dr
Maggotty had considerately left it.

Ribby stared with amazement--
"Did you ever see the like! so there
really WAS a patty-pan? . . . . But
my patty-pans are all in the kitchen
cupboard. Well I never did! . . . .
Next time I want to give a party
--I will invite Cousin Tabitha
Twitchit!"

THE END

THE TALE OF
JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK
A FARMYARD TALE
FOR
RALPH AND BETSY

WHAT a funny sight it is
to see a brood of
ducklings with a hen!
--Listen to the story of
Jemima Puddle-duck, who was
annoyed because the farmer's
wife would not let her hatch
her own eggs.

HER sister-in-law, Mrs.
Rebeccah Puddle-duck,
was perfectly willing to leave
the hatching to some one else
--"I have not the patience to
sit on a nest for twenty-eight
days; and no more have you,
Jemima. You would let them
go cold; you know you would!"

"I wish to hatch my own
eggs; I will hatch them all
by myself," quacked Jemima
Puddle-duck.

SHE tried to hide her eggs;
but they were always found
and carried off.

Jemima Puddle-duck
became quite desperate. She
determined to make a nest
right away from the farm.

SHE set off on a fine spring
afternoon along the cart-
road that leads over the hill.

She was wearing a shawl
and a poke bonnet.

WHEN she reached the top
of the hill, she saw a
wood in the distance.

She thought that it looked
a safe quiet spot.

JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK
was not much in the habit
of flying. She ran downhill a
few yards flapping her shawl,
and then she jumped off into
the air.

SHE flew beautifully when
she had got a good start.

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

JEMIMA alighted rather
heavily, and began to
waddle about in search of a
convenient dry nesting-place.
She rather fancied a tree-stump
amongst some tall fox-gloves.

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

He had black prick ears and
sandy coloured whiskers.

"Quack?" said Jemima
Puddle-duck, with her head
and her bonnet on one side--
"Quack?"

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

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

Jemima thought him mighty
civil and handsome. She
explained that she had not
lost her way, but that she was
trying to find a convenient
dry nesting-place.

"AH! is that so? indeed!" said
the gentleman with sandy
whiskers, looking curiously at
Jemima. He folded up the
newspaper, and put it in his
coat-tail pocket.

Jemima complained of the
superfluous hen.

"Indeed! how interesting!
I wish I could meet with that
fowl. I would teach it to mind
its own business!"

"BUT as to a nest--there is
no difficulty: I have a
sackful of feathers in my wood-
shed. No, my dear madam,
you will be in nobody's way.
You may sit there as long as
you like," said the bushy long-
tailed gentleman.

He led the way to a very
retired, dismal-looking house
amongst the fox-gloves.

It was built of faggots and
turf, and there were two broken
pails, one on top of another,
by way of a chimney.

"THIS is my summer
residence; you would not
find my earth--my winter
house--so convenient," said
the hospitable gentleman.

There was a tumble-down
shed at the back of the house,
made of old soap-boxes. The
gentleman opened the door,
and showed Jemima in.

THE shed was almost quite
full of feathers--it was
almost suffocating; but it was
comfortable and very soft.

Jemima Puddle-duck was
rather surprised to find such a
vast quantity of feathers. But
it was very comfortable; and
she made a nest without any
trouble at all.

WHEN she came out, the
sandy whiskered gentleman
was sitting on a log
reading the newspaper--at
least he had it spread out, but
he was looking over the top
of it.

He was so polite, that he
seemed almost sorry to let
Jemima go home for the night.
He promised to take great care
of her nest until she came back
again next day.

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

JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK
came every afternoon; she
laid nine eggs in the nest.
They were greeny white and
very large. The foxy gentleman
admired them immensely.
He used to turn them over
and count them when Jemima
was not there.

At last Jemima told him
that she intended to begin to
sit next day--"and I will bring
a bag of corn with me, so that
I need never leave my nest
until the eggs are hatched.
They might catch cold," said
the conscientious Jemima.

"MADAM, I beg you not
to trouble yourself with
a bag; I will provide oats.
But before you commence your
tedious sitting, I intend to give
you a treat. Let us have a
dinner-party all to ourselves!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK
went up the cart-road for
the last time, on a sunny afternoon.
She was rather burdened
with bunches of herbs
and two onions in a bag.

She flew over the wood, and
alighted opposite the house of
the bushy long-tailed gentleman.

HE was sitting on a log;
he sniffed the air, and
kept glancing uneasily round
the wood. When Jemima
alighted he quite jumped.

"Come into the house as
soon as you have looked at
your eggs. Give me the herbs
for the omelette. Be sharp!"

He was rather abrupt.
Jemima Puddle-duck had
never heard him speak like
that.

She felt surprised, and
uncomfortable.

WHILE she was inside she
heard pattering feet
round the back of the shed.
Some one with a black nose
sniffed at the bottom of the
door, and then locked it.

Jemima became much
alarmed.

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

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

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

Unfortunately the puppies
rushed in and gobbled up all
the eggs before he could stop
them.

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

JEMIMA PUDDLE-DUCK
was escorted home in tears
on account of those eggs.

SHE laid some more in June,
and she was permitted to
keep them herself: but only
four of them hatched.

Jemima Puddle-duck said
that it was because of her
nerves; but she had always
been a bad sitter.

THE END

THE TALE OF
PIGLING BLAND

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

THE TALE OF PIGLING BLAND

ONCE upon a time there was an
old pig called Aunt Pettitoes.
She had eight of a family: four
little girl pigs, called Cross-patch,
Suck-suck, Yock-yock and Spot;

and four little boy pigs, called
Alexander, Pigling Bland, Chin-
chin and Stumpy. Stumpy had
had an accident to his tail.

The eight little pigs had very fine
appetites. "Yus, yus, yus! they
eat and indeed they DO eat!"
said Aunt Pettitoes, looking at her
family with pride. Suddenly there
were fearful squeals; Alexander
had squeezed inside the hoops of
the pig trough and stuck.

Aunt Pettitoes and I dragged
him out by the hind legs.

Chin-chin was already in
disgrace; it was washing day, and he
had eaten a piece of soap. And
presently in a basket of clean clothes,
we found another dirty little pig.
"Tchut, tut, tut! whichever is
this?" grunted Aunt Pettitoes.

Now all the pig family are pink, or
pink with black spots, but this pig
child was smutty black all over;
when it had been popped into a
tub, it proved to be Yock-yock.

I went into the garden; there I
found Cross-patch and Suck-suck
rooting up carrots. I whipped them
myself and led them out by the ears.
Cross-patch tried to bite me.

"Aunt Pettitoes, Aunt Pettitoes!
you are a worthy person, but your
family is not well brought up.
Every one of them has been in
mischief except Spot and Pigling
Bland."

"Yus, yus!" sighed Aunt
Pettitoes. "And they drink
bucketfuls of milk; I shall have to
get another cow! Good little Spot
shall stay at home to do the
housework; but the others must go.
Four little boy pigs and four little
girl pigs are too many altogether."
"Yus, yus, yus," said Aunt Pettitoes,
"there will be more to eat without
them."

So Chin-chin and Suck-suck
went away in a wheel-barrow, and
Stumpy, Yock-yock and Cross-
patch rode away in a cart.

And the other two little boy pigs,
Pigling Bland and Alexander, went
to market. We brushed their coats,
we curled their tails and washed
their little faces, and wished them
good-bye in the yard.

Aunt Pettitoes wiped her eyes
with a large pocket handkerchief,
then she wiped Pigling Bland's nose
and shed tears; then she wiped
Alexander's nose and shed tears;
then she passed the handkerchief
to Spot. Aunt Pettitoes sighed
and grunted, and addressed those
little pigs as follows:

"Now Pigling Bland, son Pigling
Bland, you must go to market.
Take your brother Alexander by the
hand. Mind your Sunday clothes,
and remember to blow your nose"--

(Aunt Pettitoes passed round the
handkerchief again)--"beware of
traps, hen roosts, bacon and eggs;
always walk upon your hind legs."
Pigling Bland, who was a sedate
little pig, looked solemnly at his
mother, a tear trickled down his
cheek.

Aunt Pettitoes turned to the
other--"Now son Alexander take
the hand"--"Wee, wee, wee!"
giggled Alexander--"take the
hand of your brother Pigling
Bland, you must go to market.
Mind--" "Wee, wee, wee!" interrupted
Alexander again. "You
put me out," said Aunt Pettitoes.

"Observe sign-posts and milestones;
do not gobble herring bones--"
"And remember," said I impressively,
"if you once cross the county
boundary you cannot come back.

Alexander, you are not attending.
Here are two licences permitting
two pigs to go to market in
Lancashire. Attend, Alexander. I have
had no end of trouble in getting
these papers from the policeman."

Pigling Bland listened gravely;
Alexander was hopelessly volatile.

I pinned the papers, for safety,
inside their waistcoat pockets;

Aunt Pettitoes gave to each a
little bundle, and eight conversation
peppermints with appropriate
moral sentiments in screws of
paper. Then they started.

Pigling Bland and Alexander
trotted along steadily for a mile;
at least Pigling Bland did. Alexander
made the road half as long
again by skipping from side to side.
He danced about and pinched his
brother, singing--

"This pig went to market, this pig
stayed at home,
"This pig had a bit of meat--

let's see what they have given US
for dinner, Pigling?"

Pigling Bland and Alexander
sat down and untied their bundles.
Alexander gobbled up his dinner
in no time; he had already eaten
all his own peppermints. "Give
me one of yours, please, Pigling."

"But I wish to preserve them for
emergencies," said Pigling Bland
doubtfully. Alexander went into
squeals of laughter. Then he
pricked Pigling with the pin that
had fastened his pig paper; and
when Pigling slapped him he
dropped the pin, and tried to take
Pigling's pin, and the papers got
mixed up. Pigling Bland reproved
Alexander.

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

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

"What's that, young sirs? Stole
a pig? Where are your licences?"
said the policeman. They had
nearly run against him round a
corner. Pigling Bland pulled out his
paper; Alexander, after fumbling,
handed over something scrumply--

"To 2 1/2 oz. conversation sweeties
at three farthings"--"What's this?
This ain't a licence." Alexander's
nose lengthened visibly, he had lost
it. "I had one, indeed I had, Mr.
Policeman!"

"It's not likely they let you start
without. I am passing the farm.
You may walk with me." "Can I
come back too?" inquired Pigling
Bland. "I see no reason, young sir;
your paper is all right." Pigling
Bland did not like going on alone,
and it was beginning to rain. But
it is unwise to argue with the police;
he gave his brother a peppermint,
and watched him out of sight.

To conclude the adventures of
Alexander--the policeman sauntered
up to the house about tea
time, followed by a damp subdued
little pig. I disposed of Alexander
in the neighbourhood; he did fairly
well when he had settled down.

Pigling Bland went on alone
dejectedly; he came to cross-roads
and a sign-post--"To Market Town,
5 miles," "Over the Hills, 4 miles,"
"To Pettitoes Farm, 3 miles."

Pigling Bland was shocked,
there was little hope of sleeping in
Market Town, and to-morrow was
the hiring fair; it was deplorable to
think how much time had been
wasted by the frivolity of Alexander.

He glanced wistfully along the
road towards the hills, and then set
off walking obediently the other
way, buttoning up his coat against
the rain. He had never wanted to
go; and the idea of standing all
by himself in a crowded market, to
be stared at, pushed, and hired by
some big strange farmer was very
disagreeable--

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

He put his cold hand in his
pocket and felt his paper, he put his
other hand in his other pocket and
felt another paper--Alexander's!
Pigling squealed; then ran back
frantically, hoping to overtake
Alexander and the policeman.

He took a wrong turn--several
wrong turns, and was quite lost.

It grew dark, the wind whistled,
the trees creaked and groaned.

Pigling Bland became frightened
and cried "Wee, wee, wee! I can't
find my way home!"

After an hour's wandering he
got out of the wood; the moon
shone through the clouds, and
Pigling Bland saw a country that
was new to him.

The road crossed a moor; below
was a wide valley with a river
twinkling in the moonlight, and
beyond, in misty distance, lay
the hills.

He saw a small wooden hut,
made his way to it, and crept
inside--"I am afraid it IS a hen
house, but what can I do?" said
Pigling Bland, wet and cold and
quite tired out.

"Bacon and eggs, bacon and
eggs!" clucked a hen on a perch.

"Trap, trap, trap! cackle, cackle,
cackle!" scolded the disturbed
cockerel. "To market, to market!
jiggetty jig!" clucked a broody
white hen roosting next to him.
Pigling Bland, much alarmed,
determined to leave at daybreak.
In the meantime, he and the hens
fell asleep.

In less than an hour they were
all awakened. The owner, Mr.
Peter Thomas Piperson, came with
a lantern and a hamper to catch
six fowls to take to market in the
morning.

He grabbed the white hen
roosting next to the cock; then
his eye fell upon Pigling Bland,
squeezed up in a corner. He made
a singular remark--"Hallo, here's
another!"--seized Pigling by the
scruff of the neck, and dropped him
into the hamper. Then he dropped
in five more dirty, kicking, cackling
hens upon the top of Pigling Bland.

The hamper containing six fowls
and a young pig was no light
weight; it was taken down hill,
unsteadily, with jerks. Pigling,
although nearly scratched to pieces,
contrived to hide the papers and
peppermints inside his clothes.

At last the hamper was bumped
down upon a kitchen floor, the lid
was opened, and Pigling was lifted
out. He looked up, blinking, and
saw an offensively ugly elderly
man, grinning from ear to ear.

"This one's come of himself,
whatever," said Mr. Piperson,
turning Pigling's pockets inside out.
He pushed the hamper into a
corner, threw a sack over it to
keep the hens quiet, put a pot on
the fire, and unlaced his boots.

Pigling Bland drew forward a
coppy stool, and sat on the edge of
it, shyly warming his hands. Mr.
Piperson pulled off a boot and
threw it against the wainscot at
the further end of the kitchen.
There was a smothered noise--
"Shut up!" said Mr. Piperson.
Pigling Bland warmed his hands,
and eyed him.

Mr. Piperson pulled off the other
boot and flung it after the first,
there was again a curious noise--
"Be quiet, will ye?" said Mr.
Piperson. Pigling Bland sat on the
very edge of the coppy stool.

Mr. Piperson fetched meal from
a chest and made porridge. It
seemed to Pigling that something
at the further end of the kitchen
was taking a suppressed interest in
the cooking, but he was too hungry
to be troubled by noises.

Mr. Piperson poured out three
platefuls: for himself, for Pigling,
and a third--after glaring at Pigling
--he put away with much scuffling,
and locked up. Pigling Bland ate
his supper discreetly.

After supper Mr. Piperson
consulted an almanac, and felt Pigling's
ribs; it was too late in the season
for curing bacon, and he grudged
his meal. Besides, the hens had
seen this pig.

He looked at the small remains
of a flitch, and then looked
undecidedly at Pigling. "You may
sleep on the rug," said Mr. Peter
Thomas Piperson.

Pigling Bland slept like a top.
In the morning Mr. Piperson made
more porridge; the weather was
warmer. He looked to see how much
meal was left in the chest, and
seemed dissatisfied--"You'll likely
be moving on again?" said he to
Pigling Bland.

Before Pigling could reply, a
neighbour, who was giving Mr.
Piperson and the hens a lift,
whistled from the gate. Mr. Piperson
hurried out with the hamper,
enjoining Pigling to shut the door
behind him and not meddle with
nought; or "I'll come back and skin
ye!" said Mr. Piperson.

It crossed Pigling's mind that if
HE had asked for a lift, too, he
might still have been in time for
market.

But he distrusted Peter Thomas.

After finishing breakfast at his
leisure, Pigling had a look round
the cottage; everything was locked
up. He found some potato peelings
in a bucket in the back kitchen.
Pigling ate the peel, and washed
up the porridge plates in the bucket.
He sang while he worked--

"Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
He called up all the girls and boys--
"And they all ran to hear him play
"'Over the hills and far away!'"

Suddenly a little smothered voice
chimed in--

"Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top knot off!"

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

After a long pause, Pigling went
on tip-toe and peeped round the
door into the front kitchen. There
was nobody there.

After another pause, Pigling
approached the door of the locked
cupboard, and snuffed at the key-
hole. It was quite quiet.

After another long pause, Pigling
pushed a peppermint under the door.
It was sucked in immediately.

In the course of the day Pigling
pushed in all the remaining six
peppermints.

When Mr. Piperson returned, he
found Pigling sitting before the
fire; he had brushed up the hearth
and put on the pot to boil; the meal
was not get-at-able.

Mr. Piperson was very affable;
he slapped Pigling on the back,
made lots of porridge and forgot
to lock the meal chest. He did
lock the cupboard door; but without
properly shutting it. He went
to bed early, and told Pigling upon
no account to disturb him next day
before twelve o'clock.

Pigling Bland sat by the fire,
eating his supper.

All at once at his elbow, a little
voice spoke--"My name is Pig-
wig. Make me more porridge,
please!" Pigling Bland jumped,
and looked round.

A perfectly lovely little black
Berkshire pig stood smiling beside
him. She had twinkly little
screwed up eyes, a double chin,
and a short turned up nose.

She pointed at Pigling's plate;
he hastily gave it to her, and
fled to the meal chest. "How did
you come here?" asked Pigling
Bland.

"Stolen," replied Pig-wig, with
her mouth full. Pigling helped
himself to meal without scruple.
"What for?" "Bacon, hams,"
replied Pig-wig cheerfully. "Why
on earth don't you run away?"
exclaimed the horrified Pigling.

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

Pigling Bland made more porridge
and watched her shyly.

She finished a second plate, got
up, and looked about her, as though
she were going to start.

"You can't go in the dark," said
Pigling Bland.

Pig-wig looked anxious.

"Do you know your way by
daylight?"

"I know we can see this little
white house from the hills across
the river. Which way are YOU
going, Mr. Pig?"

"To market--I have two pig
papers. I might take you to the
bridge; if you have no objection,"
said Pigling much confused and
sitting on the edge of his coppy stool.
Pig-wig's gratitude was such and she
asked so many questions that it
became embarrassing to Pigling Bland.

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

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

"Only the corners," replied Pig-
wig, studying the sentiments with
much interest by the firelight.

"I wish you wouldn't; he might
smell them through the ceiling,"
said the alarmed Pigling.

Pig-wig put back the sticky
peppermints into her pocket; "Sing
something," she demanded.

"I am sorry . . . I have tooth-
ache," said Pigling much dismayed.

"Then I will sing," replied Pig-wig.
"You will not mind if I say iddy
tidditty? I have forgotten some of
the words."

Pigling Bland made no objection;
he sat with his eyes half shut, and
watched her.

She wagged her head and rocked
about, clapping time and singing
in a sweet little grunty voice--

"A funny old mother pig lived in a
stye, and three little piggies had she;
"(Ti idditty idditty) umph, umph,
umph! and the little pigs said, wee, wee!"

She sang successfully through
three or four verses, only at every
verse her head nodded a little lower,
and her little twinkly eyes closed
up.

"Those three little piggies grew peaky
and lean, and lean they might very
well be;
"For somehow they couldn't say umph,
umph, umph! and they wouldn't
say wee, wee, wee!
"For somehow they couldn't say--

Pig-wig's head bobbed lower and
lower, until she rolled over, a little
round ball, fast asleep on the hearth-rug.

Pigling Bland, on tip-toe, covered
her up with an antimacassar.

He was afraid to go to sleep
himself; for the rest of the night he
sat listening to the chirping of the
crickets and to the snores of Mr.
Piperson overhead.

Early in the morning, between
dark and daylight, Pigling tied up
his little bundle and woke up Pig-
wig. She was excited and half-
frightened. "But it's dark! How
can we find our way?"

"The cock has crowed; we must
start before the hens come out; they
might shout to Mr. Piperson."

Pig-wig sat down again, and
commenced to cry.

"Come away Pig-wig; we can see
when we get used to it. Come!
I can hear them clucking!"

Pigling had never said shuh! to
a hen in his life, being peaceable;
also he remembered the hamper.

He opened the house door quietly
and shut it after them. There was
no garden; the neighbourhood of
Mr. Piperson's was all scratched
up by fowls. They slipped away
hand in hand across an untidy field
to the road.

The sun rose while they were
crossing the moor, a dazzle of light
over the tops of the hills. The
sunshine crept down the slopes
into the peaceful green valleys,
where little white cottages nestled
in gardens and orchards.

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

"Tom, Tom, the piper's son, stole a pig
and away he ran!

"But all the tune that he could play,
was 'Over the hills and far away!'"

"Come, Pig-wig, we must get to
the bridge before folks are stirring."
"Why do you want to go to market,
Pigling?" inquired Pig-wig presently.
"I don't want; I want to
grow potatoes." "Have a peppermint?"
said Pig-wig. Pigling
Bland refused quite crossly. "Does
your poor toothy hurt?" inquired
Pig-wig. Pigling Bland grunted.

Pig-wig ate the peppermint
herself and followed the opposite side
of the road. "Pig-wig! keep under
the wall, there's a man ploughing."
Pig-wig crossed over, they hurried
down hill towards the county boundary.

Suddenly Pigling stopped; he
heard wheels.

Slowly jogging up the road below
them came a tradesman's cart. The
reins flapped on the horse's back,
the grocer was reading a newspaper.

"Take that peppermint out of
your mouth, Pig-wig, we may have
to run. Don't say one word. Leave
it to me. And in sight of the bridge!"
said poor Pigling, nearly crying.
He began to walk frightfully lame,
holding Pig-wig's arm.

The grocer, intent upon his news-
paper, might have passed them, if
his horse had not shied and snorted.
He pulled the cart crossways, and
held down his whip. "Hallo!
Where are YOU going to?"--Pigling
Bland stared at him vacantly.

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

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

Pigling stared at the off hind
shoe of the grocer's horse which
had picked up a stone.

The grocer flicked his whip--
"Papers? Pig licence?" Pigling
fumbled in all his pockets, and
handed up the papers. The grocer
read them, but still seemed dissatisfied.
"This here pig is a young
lady; is her name Alexander?"
Pig-wig opened her mouth and shut
it again; Pigling coughed asthmatically.

The grocer ran his finger down
the advertisement column of his
newspaper--"Lost, stolen or
strayed, 10s. reward." He looked
suspiciously at Pig-wig. Then he
stood up in the trap, and whistled
for the ploughman.

"You wait here while I drive on
and speak to him," said the grocer,
gathering up the reins. He knew
that pigs are slippery; but surely,
such a VERY lame pig could never
run!

"Not yet, Pig-wig, he will look
back." The grocer did so; he saw
the two pigs stock-still in the
middle of the road. Then he looked
over at his horse's heels; it was
lame also; the stone took some
time to knock out, after he got to
the ploughman.

"Now, Pig-wig, NOW!" said
Pigling Bland.

Never did any pigs run as these
pigs ran! They raced and squealed
and pelted down the long white hill
towards the bridge. Little fat Pig-
wig's petticoats fluttered, and her
feet went pitter, patter, pitter, as she
bounded and jumped.

They ran, and they ran, and they
ran down the hill, and across a short
cut on level green turf at the bottom,
between pebble beds and rushes.

They came to the river, they
came to the bridge--they crossed
it hand in hand--
then over the hills and far away
she danced with Pigling Bland!

THE END

THE TALE OF
TWO BAD MICE

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

ONCE upon a time there
was a very beautiful
doll's house; it was red brick
with white windows, and it had
real muslin curtains and a
front door and a chimney.

IT belonged to two Dolls
called Lucinda and Jane;
at least it belonged to Lucinda,
but she never ordered meals.

Jane was the Cook; but she
never did any cooking, because
the dinner had been bought
ready-made, in a box full of
shavings.

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

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

ONE morning Lucinda and
Jane had gone out for
a drive in the doll's perambulator.
There was no one in the
nursery, and it was very quiet.
Presently there was a little
scuffling, scratching noise in a
corner near the fireplace, where
there was a hole under the
skirting-board.

Tom Thumb put out his
head for a moment, and then
popped it in again.

Tom Thumb was a mouse.

A MINUTE afterwards
Hunca Munca, his wife,
put her head out, too; and
when she saw that there was
no one in the nursery, she
ventured out on the oilcloth
under the coal-box.

THE doll's house stood at
the other side of the
fireplace. Tom Thumb and
Hunca Munca went cautiously
across the hearth-rug. They
pushed the front door--it was
not fast.

TOM THUMB and Hunca
Munca went up-stairs
and peeped into the dining-
room. Then they squeaked
with joy!

Such a lovely dinner was laid
out upon the table! There were
tin spoons, and lead knives
and forks, and two dolly-chairs
--all SO convenient!

TOM THUMB set to work
at once to carve the ham.
It was a beautiful shiny yellow,
streaked with red.

The knife crumpled up and
hurt him; he put his finger in
his mouth.

"It is not boiled enough; it
is hard. You have a try,
Hunca Munca."

HUNCA MUNCA stood
up in her chair, and
chopped at the ham with
another lead knife.

"It's as hard as the hams
at the cheesemonger's," said
Hunca Munca.

THE ham broke off the
plate with a jerk, and
rolled under the table.

"Let it alone," said Tom
Thumb; "give me some fish,
Hunca Munca!"

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

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

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

THEN there was no end to
the rage and disappointment
of Tom Thumb and Hunca
Munca. They broke up
the pudding, the lobsters,
the pears, and the oranges.

As the fish would not come
off the plate, they put it into
the red-hot crinkly paper fire
in the kitchen; but it would
not burn either.

TOM THUMB went up the
kitchen chimney and
looked out at the top--there
was no soot.

WHILE Tom Thumb was
up the chimney, Hunca
Munca had another
disappointment. She found some
tiny canisters upon the dresser,
labeled "Rice," "Coffee"
"Sago"; but when she turned
them upside down there was
nothing inside except red and
blue beads.

THEN those mice set to
work to do all the mischief
they could--especially
Tom Thumb! He took Jane's
clothes out of the chest of
drawers in her bedroom, and
he threw them out of the top-
floor window.

But Hunca Munca had a
frugal mind. After pulling
half the feathers out of
Lucinda's bolster, she remembered
that she herself was in want of
a feather-bed.

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

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

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

HUNCA MUNCA was
just returning with
another chair, when suddenly
there was a noise of talking
outside upon the landing. The
mice rushed back to their hole,
and the dolls came into the
nursery.

WHAT a sight met the
eyes of Jane and
Lucinda!

Lucinda sat upon the upset
kitchen stove and stared, and
Jane leaned against the kitchen
dresser and smiled; but neither
of them made any remark.

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

SHE also has some useful
pots and pans, and several
other things.

THE little girl that the doll's
house belonged to said:
"I will get a doll dressed like a
policeman!"

BUT the nurse said: "I will
set a mouse-trap!"

SO that is the story of the
two Bad Mice. But they
were not so very, very naughty
after all, because Tom Thumb
paid for everything he broke.

He found a crooked sixpence
under the hearth-rug; and upon
Christmas Eve he and Hunca
Munca stuffed it into one of
the stockings of Lucinda and
Jane.

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

THE END

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