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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter

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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter





Once upon a time there were
four little Rabbits, and their names
and Peter.

They lived with their Mother in a
sand-bank, underneath the root of a
very big fir-tree.

"Now, my dears," said old Mrs.
Rabbit one morning, "you may go into
the fields or down the lane, but don't
go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your
Father had an accident there; he was
put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."

"Now run along, and don't get into
mischief. I am going out."

Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket
and her umbrella, and went through
the wood to the baker's. She bought a
loaf of brown bread and five currant

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who
were good little bunnies, went down
the lane to gather blackberries;

But Peter, who was very naughty,
ran straight away to Mr. McGregor's
garden, and squeezed under the gate!

First he ate some lettuces and some
French beans; and then he ate some

And then, feeling rather sick, he
went to look for some parsley.

But round the end of a cucumber
frame, whom should he meet but Mr.

Mr. McGregor was on his hands
and knees planting out young
cabbages, but he jumped up and ran
after Peter, waving a rake and calling
out, "Stop thief."

Peter was most dreadfully
frightened; he rushed all over the
garden, for he had forgotten the way
back to the gate.

He lost one of his shoes among the
cabbages, and the other shoe
amongst the potatoes.

After losing them, he ran on four
legs and went faster, so that I think he
might have got away altogether if he
had not unfortunately run into a
gooseberry net, and got caught by the
large buttons on his jacket. It was a
blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.

Peter gave himself up for lost, and
shed big tears; but his sobs were
overheard by some friendly sparrows,
who flew to him in great excitement,
and implored him to exert himself.

Mr. McGregor came up with a sieve,
which he intended to pop upon the
top of Peter; but Peter wriggled out
just in time, leaving his jacket behind him.

And rushed into the toolshed, and
jumped into a can. It would have been
a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had
not had so much water in it.

Mr. McGregor was quite sure that
Peter was somewhere in the toolshed,
perhaps hidden underneath a 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
goldfish; she sat very, very still, but
now and then the tip of her tail
twitched as if it were alive. Peter
thought it best to go away without
speaking to her; he has heard about
cats from his cousin, little Benjamin Bunny.

He went back towards the toolshed,
but suddenly, quite close to him,
he heard the noise of a hoe--
scr-r-ritch, scratch, scratch, scritch.
Peter scuttered underneath the bushes.
But presently, as nothing happened, he
came out, and climbed upon a
wheelbarrow, and peeped over. The
first thing he saw was Mr. McGregor
hoeing onions. His back was turned
towards Peter, and beyond him was
the gate!

Peter got down very quietly off the
wheelbarrow, and started running as
fast as he could go, along a straight
walk behind some black-currant bushes.

Mr. McGregor caught sight of him
at the corner, but Peter did not care.
He slipped underneath the gate, and
was safe at last in the wood outside
the garden.

Mr. McGregor hung up the little
jacket and the shoes for a scare-crow
to frighten the blackbirds.

Peter never stopped running or
looked behind him till he got home to
the big fir-tree.

He was so tired that he flopped
down upon the nice soft sand on the
floor of the rabbit-hole, and shut his
eyes. His mother was busy cooking;
she wondered what he had done with
his clothes. It was the second little
jacket and pair of shoes that Peter
had lost in a fortnight!

I am sorry to say that Peter was not
very well during the evening.

His mother put him to bed, and
made some camomile tea; and she
gave a dose of it to Peter!

"One table-spoonful to be taken at

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


"I'll be at charges for a looking-glass;
And entertain a score or two of tailors."
[Richard III]

My Dear Freda:

Because you are fond of fairytales, and have been ill, I
have made you a story all for yourself--a new one that
nobody has read before.

And the queerest thing about it is--that I heard it in
Gloucestershire, and that it is true--at least about the
tailor, the waistcoat, and the
"No more twist!"

In the time of swords and peri wigs
and full-skirted coats with flowered
lappets--when gentlemen wore
ruffles, and gold-laced waistcoats of
paduasoy and taffeta--there lived a
tailor in Gloucester.

He sat in the window of a little
shop in Westgate Street, cross-legged
on a table from morning till dark.

All day long while the light lasted
he sewed and snippetted, piecing out
his satin, and pompadour, and
lutestring; stuffs had strange names,
and were very expensive in the days of
the Tailor of Gloucester.

But although he sewed fine silk for
his neighbours, he himself was very,
very poor. He cut his coats without
waste; according to his embroidered
cloth, they were very small ends and
snippets that lay about upon the
table--"Too narrow breadths for
nought--except waistcoats for mice,"
said the tailor.

One bitter cold day near
Christmastime the tailor began to
make a coat (a coat of cherry-
coloured corded silk embroidered
with pansies and roses) and a cream-
coloured satin waistcoat for the
Mayor of Gloucester.

The tailor worked and worked, and
he talked to himself: "No breadth at
all, and cut on the cross; it is no
breadth at all; tippets for mice and
ribbons for mobs! for mice!" said the
Tailor of Gloucester.

When the snow-flakes came down
against the small leaded window-
panes and shut out the light, the tailor
had done his day's work; all the silk
and satin lay cut out upon the table.

There were twelve pieces for the
coat and four pieces for the waistcoat;
and there were pocket-flaps and cuffs
and buttons, all in order. For the
lining of the coat there was fine
yellow taffeta, and for the button-
holes of the waistcoat there was
cherry-coloured twist. And everything
was ready to sew together in the
morning, all measured and
sufficient--except that there was
wanting just one single skein of
cherry-coloured twisted silk.

The tailor came out of his shop at
dark. No one lived there at nights but
little brown mice, and THEY ran in and
out without any keys!

For behind the wooden wainscots
of all the old houses in Gloucester,
there are little mouse staircases and
secret trap-doors; and the mice run
from house to house through those
long, narrow passages.

But the tailor came out of his shop
and shuffled home through the snow.
And although it was not a big house,
the tailor was so poor he only rented
the kitchen.

He lived alone with his cat; it was
called Simpkin.

"Miaw?" said the cat when the
tailor opened the door, "miaw?"

The tailor replied: "Simpkin, we
shall make our fortune, but I am
worn to a ravelling. Take this groat
(which is our last fourpence), and,
Simpkin, take a china pipkin, but a
penn'orth of bread, a penn'orth of
milk, and a penn'orth of sausages.
And oh, Simpkin, with the last penny
of our fourpence but me one
penn'orth of cherry-coloured silk. But
do not lose the last penny of the
fourpence, Simpkin, or I am undone
and worn to a thread-paper, for I

Then Simpkin again said "Miaw!"
and took the groat and the pipkin,
and went out into the dark.

The tailor was very tired and
beginning to be ill. He sat down by the
hearth and talked to himself about
that wonderful coat.

"I shall make my fortune--to be
cut bias--the Mayor of Gloucester is
to be married on Christmas Day in the
morning, and he hath ordered a coat
and an embroidered waistcoat--"

Then the tailor started; for
suddenly, interrupting him, from the
dresser at the other side of the kitchen
came a number of little noises--

Tip tap, tip tap, tip tap tip!

"Now what can that be?" said the
Tailor of Gloucester, jumping up from
his chair. The tailor crossed the
kitchen, and stood quite still beside
the dresser, listening, and peering
through his spectacles.

"This is very peculiar," said the
Tailor of Gloucester, and he lifted up
the tea-cup which was upside down.

Out stepped a little live lady mouse,
and made a courtesy to the tailor!
Then she hopped away down off the
dresser, and under the wainscot.

The tailor sat down again by the
fire, warming his poor cold hands.
But all at once, from the dresser, there
came other little noises--

Tip tap, tip tap, tip tap tip!

"This is passing extraordinary!"
said the Tailor of Gloucester, and
turned over another tea-cup, which
was upside down.

Out stepped a little gentleman
mouse, and made a bow to the tailor!

And out from under tea-cups and
from under bowls and basins, stepped
other and more little mice, who
hopped away down off the dresser
and under the wainscot.

The tailor sat down, close over the
fire, lamenting: "One-and-twenty
buttonholes of cherry-coloured silk!
To be finished by noon of Saturday:
and this is Tuesday evening. Was it
right to let loose those mice,
undoubtedly the property of Simpkin?
Alack, I am undone, for I have no
more twist!"

The little mice came out again and
listened to the tailor; they took notice
of the pattern of that wonderful coat.
They whispered to one another about
the taffeta lining and about little
mouse tippets.

And then suddenly they all ran
away together down the passage
behind the wainscot, squeaking and
calling to one another as they ran
from house to house.

Not one mouse was left in the
tailor's kitchen when Simpkin came
back. He set down the pipkin of milk
upon the dresser, and looked
suspiciously at the tea-cups. He
wanted his supper of little fat mouse!

"Simpkin," said the tailor, "where is
my TWIST?"

But Simpkin hid a little parcel
privately in the tea-pot, and spit and
growled at the tailor; and if Simpkin
had been able to talk, he would have
asked: "Where is my MOUSE?"

"Alack, I am undone!" said the
Tailor of Gloucester, and went sadly
to bed.

All that night long Simpkin hunted
and searched through the kitchen,
peeping into cupboards and under the
wainscot, and into the tea-pot where
he had hidden that twist; but still he
found never a mouse!

The poor old tailor was very ill with
a fever, tossing and turning in his
four-post bed; and still in his dreams
he mumbled: "No more twist! no
more twist!"

What should become of the cherry-
coloured coat? Who should come to
sew it, when the window was barred,
and the door was fast locked?

Out-of-doors the market folks went
trudging through the snow to buy
their geese and turkeys, and to bake
their Christmas pies; but there would
be no dinner for Simpkin and the poor
old tailor of Gloucester.

The tailor lay ill for three days and
nights; and then it was Christmas Eve,
and very late at night. And still
Simpkin wanted his mice, and mewed
as he stood beside the four-post bed.

But it is in the old story that all the
beasts can talk in the night between
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in
the morning (though there are very
few folk that can hear them, or know
what it is that they say).

When the Cathedral clock struck
twelve there was an answer--like an
echo of the chimes--and Simpkin
heard it, and came out of the tailor's
door, and wandered about in the

From all the roofs and gables and
old wooden houses in Gloucester
came a thousand merry voices singing
the old Christmas rhymes--all the old
songs that ever I heard of, and some
that I don't know, like Whittington's

Under the wooden eaves the
starlings and sparrows sang of
Christmas pies; the jackdaws woke up
in the Cathedral tower; and although
it was the middle of the night the
throstles and robins sang; and air was
quite full of little twittering tunes.

But it was all rather provoking to
poor hungry Simpkin.

From the tailor's ship in Westgate
came a glow of light; and when
Simpkin crept up to peep in at the
window it was full of candles. There
was a snippeting of scissors, and
snappeting of thread; and little mouse
voices sang loudly and gaily:

"Four-and-twenty tailors
Went to catch a snail,
The best man amongst them
Durst not touch her tail;
She put out her horns
Like a little kyloe cow.
Run, tailors, run!
Or she'll have you all e'en now!"

Then without a pause the little
mouse voices went on again:

"Sieve my lady's oatmeal,
Grind my lady's flour,
Put it in a chestnut,
Let it stand an hour--"

"Mew! Mew!" interrupted Simpkin,
and he scratched at the door. But the
key was under the tailor's pillow; he
could not get in.

The little mice only laughed, and
tried another tune--

"Three little mice sat down to spin,
Pussy passed by and she peeped in.
What are you at, my fine little men?
Making coats for gentlemen.
Shall I come in and cut off yours threads?
Oh, no, Miss Pussy,
You'd bite off our heads!"

"Mew! scratch! scratch!" scuffled
Simpkin on the window-sill; while the
little mice inside sprang to their feet,
and all began to shout all at once in
little twittering voices: "No more
twist! No more twist!" And they
barred up the window-shutters and
shut out Simpkin.

Simpkin came away from the shop
and went home considering in his
mind. He found the poor old tailor
without fever, sleeping peacefully.

Then Simpkin went on tip-toe and
took a little parcel of silk out of the
tea-pot; and looked at it in the
moonlight; and he felt quite ashamed
of his badness compared with those
good little mice!

When the tailor awoke in the
morning, the first thing which he saw,
upon the patchwork quilt, was a skein
of cherry-coloured twisted silk, and
beside his bed stood the repentant

The sun was shining on the snow
when the tailor got up and dressed,
and came out into the street with
Simpkin running before him.

"Alack," said the tailor, "I have my
twist; but no more strength--nor
time--than will serve to make me one
single buttonhole; for this is
Christmas Day in the Morning! The
Mayor of Gloucester shall be married
by noon--and where is his cherry-
coloured coat?"

He unlocked the door of the little
shop in Westgate Street, and Simpkin
ran in, like a cat that expects

But there was no one there! Not
even one little brown mouse!

But upon the table--oh joy! the
tailor gave a shout--there, where he
had left plain cuttings of silk--there
lay the most beautiful coat and
embroidered satin waistcoat that ever
were worn by a Mayor of Gloucester!

Everything was finished except just
one single cherry-coloured buttonhole,
and where that buttonhole was
wanting there was pinned a scrap of
paper with these words--in little
teeny weeny writing--


And from then began the luck of
the Tailor of Gloucester; he grew quite
stout, and he grew quite rich.

He made the most wonderful
waistcoats for all the rich merchants
of Gloucester, and for all the fine
gentlemen of the country round.

Never were seen such ruffles, or
such embroidered cuffs and lappets!
But his buttonholes were the greatest
triumph of it all.

The stitches of those buttonholes
were so neat--SO neat--I wonder
how they could be stitched by an old
man in spectacles, with crooked old
fingers, and a tailor's thimble.

The stitches of those buttonholes
were so small--SO small--they looked
as if they had been made by little


[A Story for Norah]

This is a Tale about a tail--a tail
that belonged to a little red squirrel,
and his name was Nutkin.

He had a brother called
Twinkleberry, and a great many
cousins: they lived in a wood at the
edge of a lake.

In the middle of the lake there is an
island covered with trees and nut
bushes; and amongst those trees
stands a hollow oak-tree, which is the
house of an owl who is called Old

One autumn when the nuts were
ripe, and the leaves on the hazel
bushes were golden and green--
Nutkin and Twinkleberry and all the
other little squirrels came out of the
wood, and down to the edge of the

They made little rafts out of twigs,
and they paddled away over the
water to Owl Island to gather nuts.

Each squirrel had a little sack and a
large oar, and spread out his tail for a

They also took with them an
offering of three fat mice as a present
for Old Brown, and put them down
upon his door-step.

Then Twinkleberry and the other
little squirrels each made a low bow,
and said politely--

"Old Mr. Brown, will you
favour us with permission to
gather nuts upon your island?"

But Nutkin was excessively
impertinent in his manners. He
bobbed up and down like a little
red CHERRY, singing--

"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!
A little wee man, in a red red coat!
A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat;
If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a groat."

Now this riddle is as old as the hills;
Mr. Brown paid no attention whatever
to Nutkin.

He shut his eyes obstinately and
went to sleep.

The squirrels filled their little sacks
with nuts, and sailed away home in
the evening.

But next morning they all came
back again to Owl Island; and
Twinkleberry and the others brought
a fine fat mole, and laid it on the
stone in front of Old Brown's
doorway, and said--

"Mr. Brown, will you favour us with
your gracious permission to gather
some more nuts?"

But Nutkin, who had no respect,
began to dance up and down, tickling
old Mr. Brown with a NETTLE and

"Old Mr. B! Riddle-me-ree!
Hitty Pitty within the wall,
Hitty Pitty without the wall;
If you touch Hitty Pitty,
Hitty Pitty will bite you!"

Mr. Brown woke up suddenly and
carried the mole into his house.

He shut the door in Nutkin's face.
Presently a little thread of blue SMOKE
from a wood fire came up from the
top of the tree, and Nutkin peeped
through the key-hole and sang--

"A house full, a hole full!
And you cannot gather a bowl-full!"

The squirrels searched for nuts all
over the island and filled their little

But Nutkin gathered oak-apples--
yellow and scarlet--and sat upon a
beech-stump playing marbles, and
watching the door of old Mr. Brown.

On the third day the squirrels got
up very early and went fishing; they
caught seven fat minnows as a
present for Old Brown.

They paddled over the lake and
landed under a crooked chestnut tree
on Owl Island.

Twinkleberry and six other little
squirrels each carried a fat minnow;
but Nutkin, who had no nice
manners, brought no present at all.
He ran in front, singing--

"The man in the wilderness said to me,
`How may strawberries grow in the sea?'
I answered him as I thought good--
`As many red herrings as grow in the wood."'

But old Mr. Brown took no interest
in riddles--not even when the answer
was provided for him.

On the fourth day the squirrels
brought a present of six fat beetles,
which were as good as plums in
PLUM-PUDDING for Old Brown. Each
beetle was wrapped up carefully in a
dockleaf, fastened with a pine-needle-

But Nutkin sang as rudely as ever--

"Old Mr. B! riddle-me-ree!
Flour of England, fruit of Spain,
Met together in a shower of rain;
Put in a bag tied round with a string,
If you'll tell me this riddle,
I'll give you a ring!"

Which was ridiculous of Nutkin,
because he had not got any ring to
give to Old Brown.

The other squirrels hunted up and
down the nut bushes; but Nutkin
gathered robin's pin-cushions off a
briar bush, and stuck them full of

On the fifth day the squirrels
brought a present of wild honey; it
was so sweet and sticky that they
licked their fingers as they put it down
upon the stone. They had stolen it out
of a bumble BEES' nest on the tippity
top of the hill.

But Nutkin skipped up and down,

"Hum-a-bum! buzz! buzz! Hum-a-bum buzz!
As I went over Tipple-tine
I met a flock of bonny swine;
Some yellow-nacked, some yellow backed!
They were the very bonniest swine
That e'er went over the Tipple-tine."

Old Mr. Brown turned up his eyes
in disgust at the impertinence of

But he ate up the honey!

The squirrels filled their little sacks
with nuts.

But Nutkin sat upon a big flat rock,
and played ninepins with a crab apple
and green fir-cones.

On the sixth day, which was
Saturday, the squirrels came again for
the last time; they brought a new-laid
EGG in a little rush basket as a last
parting present for Old Brown.

But Nutkin ran in front laughing,
and shouting--

"Humpty Dumpty lies in the beck,
With a white counterpane round his neck,
Forty doctors and forty wrights,
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty to rights!"

Now old Mr. Brown took an interest
in eggs; he opened one eye and shut it
again. But still he did not speak.

Nutkin became more and more

"Old Mr. B! Old Mr. B!
Hickamore, Hackamore, on the King's
kitchen door;
All the King's horses, and all the King's men,
Couldn't drive Hickamore, Hackamore,
Off the King's kitchen door!"

Nutkin danced up and down like a
SUNBEAM; but still Old Brown said
nothing at all.

Nutkin began again--

"Authur O'Bower has broken his band,
He comes roaring up the land!
The King of Scots with all his power,
Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower!"

Nutkin made a whirring noise to
sound like the WIND, and he took a
running jump right onto the head of
Old Brown! . . .

Then all at once there was a
flutterment and a scufflement and a
loud "Squeak!"

The other squirrels scuttered away
into the bushes.

When they came back very
cautiously, peeping round the tree--
there was Old Brown sitting on his
door-step, quite still, with his eyes
closed, as if nothing had happened.

* * * * * * * *


This looks like the end of the story;
but it isn't.

Old Brown carried Nutkin into his
house, and held him up by the tail,
intending to skin him; but Nutkin
pulled so very hard that his tail broke
in two, and he dashed up the
staircase, and escaped out of the attic

And to this day, if you meet Nutkin
up a tree and ask him a riddle, he will
throw sticks at you, and stamp his
feet and scold, and shout--



[For the Children of Sawrey
from Old Mr. Bunny]

One morning a little rabbit sat on a

He pricked his ears and listened to
the trit-trot, trit-trot of a pony.

A gig was coming along the road; it
was driven by Mr. McGregor, and
beside him sat Mrs. McGregor in her
best bonnet.

As soon as they had passed, little
Benjamin Bunny slid down into the
road, and set off--with a hop, skip,
and a jump--to call upon his
relations, who lived in the wood at the
back of Mr. McGregor's garden.

That wood was full of rabbit holes;
and in the neatest, sandiest hole of all
lived Benjamin's aunt and his
cousins--Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail,
and Peter.

Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she
earned her living by knitting
rabbit-wool mittens and muffatees (I
once bought a pair at a bazaar). She
also sold herbs, and rosemary tea,
and rabbit-tobacco (which is what
we call lavender).

Little Benjamin did not very much
want to see his Aunt.

He came round the back of the fir-
tree, and nearly tumbled upon the top
of his Cousin Peter.

Peter was sitting by himself. He
looked poorly, and was dressed in a
red cotton pocket-handkerchief.

"Peter," said little Benjamin, in a
whisper, "who has got your clothes?"

Peter replied, "The scarecrow in Mr.
McGregor's garden," and described
how he had been chased about the
garden, and had dropped his shoes
and coat.

Little Benjamin sat down beside his
cousin and assured him that Mr.
McGregor had gone out in a gig, and
Mrs. McGregor also; and certainly for
the day, because she was wearing her
best bonnet.

Peter said he hoped that it would

At this point old Mrs. Rabbit's voice
was heard inside the rabbit hole,
calling: "Cotton-tail! Cotton-tail! fetch
some more camomile!"

Peter said he thought he might feel
better if he went for a walk.

They went away hand in hand, and
got upon the flat top of the wall at the
bottom of the wood. From here they
looked down into Mr. McGregor's
garden. Peter's coat and shoes were
plainly to be seen upon the scarecrow,
topped with an old tam-o'-shanter of
Mr. McGregor's.

Little Benjamin said: "It spoils
people's clothes to squeeze under a
gate; the proper way to get in is to
climb down a pear-tree."

Peter fell down head first; but it
was of no consequence, as the bed
below was newly raked and quite

It had been sown with lettuces.

They left a great many odd little
footmarks all over the bed, especially
little Benjamin, who was wearing

Little Benjamin said that the first
thing to be done was to get back
Peter's clothes, in order that they
might be able to use the pocket-

They took them off the scarecrow.
There had been rain during the night;
there was water in the shoes, and the
coat was somewhat shrunk.

Benjamin tried on the tam-o'-
shanter, but it was too big for him.

Then he suggested that they should
fill the pocket-handkerchief with
onions, as a little present for his Aunt.

Peter did not seem to be enjoying
himself; he kept hearing noises.

Benjamin, on the contrary, was
perfectly at home, and ate a lettuce
leaf. He said that he was in the habit
of coming to the garden with his
father to get lettuces for their Sunday

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

The lettuces certainly were very

Peter did not eat anything; he said
he should like to go home. Presently
he dropped half the onions.

Little Benjamin said that it was not
possible to get back up the pear-tree
with a load of vegetables. He led the
way boldly towards the other end of
the garden. They went along a little
walk on planks, under a sunny, red
brick wall.

The mice sat on their doorsteps
cracking cherry-stones; they winked
at Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin

Presently Peter let the pocket-
handkerchief go again.

They got amongst flower-pots, and
frames, and tubs. Peter heard noises
worse than ever; his eyes were as big
as lolly-pops!

He was a step or two in front of his
cousin when he suddenly stopped.

This is what those little rabbits saw
round that corner!

Little Benjamin took one look, and
then, in half a minute less than no
time, he hid himself and Peter and the
onions underneath a large basket. . . .

The cat got up and stretched
herself, and came and sniffed at the

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

He was looking for his son.

Old Mr. Bunny had no opinion
whatever of cats. He took a
tremendous jump off the top of the
wall on to the top of the cat, and
cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it
into the greenhouse, scratching off a
handful of fur.

The cat was too much surprised to
scratch back.

When old Mr. Bunny had driven the
cat into the greenhouse, he locked the

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

Then he took out his nephew Peter.

Then he took out the handkerchief
of onions, and marched out of the

When Mr. McGregor returned
about half an hour later he observed
several things which perplexed him.

It looked as though some person
had been walking all over the garden
in a pair of clogs--only the footmarks
were too ridiculously little!

Also he could not understand how
the cat could have managed to shut
herself up INSIDE the greenhouse,
locking the door upon the OUTSIDE.

When Peter got home his mother
forgave him, because she was so glad
to see that he had found his shoes and
coat. Cotton-tail and Peter folded up
the pocket-handkerchief, and old Mrs.
Rabbit strung up the onions and hung
them from the kitchen ceiling, with
the bunches of herbs and the rabbit-


[For W.M.L.W., the Little Girl
Who Had the Doll's House]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The doll's-house stood at the other
side of the fire-place. Tom Thumb
and Hunca Munca went cautiously
across the hearthrug. They pushed
the front door--it was not fast.

Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca
went upstairs and peeped into the
dining-room. Then they squeaked
with joy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With Tom Thumbs's assistance she
carried the bolster downstairs, and
across the hearth-rug. It was difficult
to squeeze the bolster into the mouse-
hole; but they managed it somehow.

Then Hunca Munca went back and
fetched a chair, a book-case, a bird-
cage, and several small odds and
ends. The book-case and the bird-
cage refused to go into the mousehole.

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

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

What a sight met the eyes of Jane
and Lucinda! Lucinda sat upon the
upset kitchen stove and stared; and
Jane leant against the kitchen dresser
and smiled--but neither of them
made any remark.

The book-case and the bird-cage
were rescued from under the coal-
box--but Hunca Munca has got the
cradle, and some of Lucinda's

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

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

But the nurse said,--"I will set a

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

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

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


[For the Real
Little Lucie of Newlands]

Once upon a time there was a little
girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm
called Little-town. She was a good
little girl--only she was always losing
her pocket-handkerchiefs!

One day little Lucie came into the
farm-yard crying--oh, she did cry so!
"I've lost my pocket-handkin! Three
handkins and a pinny! Have YOU seen
them, Tabby Kitten?"

The Kitten went on washing her white paws;
so Lucie asked a speckled hen--

"Sally Henny-penny, have YOU
found three pocket-handkins?"

But the speckled hen ran into a
barn, clucking--

"I go barefoot, barefoot, barefoot!"

And then Lucie asked Cock Robin
sitting on a twig. Cock Robin looked
sideways at Lucie with his bright
black eye, and he flew over a stile and

Lucie climbed upon the stile and
looked up at the hill behind Little-
town--a hill that goes up--up--into
the clouds as though it had no top!

And a great way up the hillside she
thought she saw some white things
spread upon the grass.

Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast
as her short legs would carry her; she
ran along a steep path-way--up and
up--until Little-town was right away
down below--she could have
dropped a pebble down the chimney!

Presently she came to a spring,
bubbling out from the hillside.

Some one had stood a tin can upon
a stone to catch the water--but the
water was already running over, for
the can was no bigger than an egg-
cup! And where the sand upon the
path was wet--there were footmarks
of a VERY small person.

Lucie ran on, and on.

The path ended under a big rock.
The grass was short and green, and
there were clothes-props cut from
bracken stems, with lines of plaited
rushes, and a heap of tiny clothes
pins--but no pocket-handkerchiefs!

But there was something else--a
door! straight into the hill; and inside
it some one was singing--

"Lily-white and clean, oh!
With little frills between, oh!
Smooth and hot-red rusty spot
Never here be seen, oh!"

Lucie knocked-once-twice, and
interrupted the song. A little
frightened voice called out "Who's

Lucie opened the door: and what
do you think there was inside the
hill?--a nice clean kitchen with a
flagged floor and wooden beams--
just like any other farm kitchen. Only
the ceiling was so low that Lucie's
head nearly touched it; and the pots
and pans were small, and so was
everything there.

There was a nice hot singey smell;
and at the table, with an iron in her
hand, stood a very stout short person
staring anxiously at Lucie.

Her print gown was tucked up, and
she was wearing a large apron over
her striped petticoat. Her little black
nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and
her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and
underneath her cap-where Lucie
had yellow curls-that little person

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

The little person made a 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 the clothesbasket, and spread it
on the ironing-blanket.

"What's that thing?" said Lucie-
"that's not my pocket-handkin?"

"Oh no, if you please'm; that's a
little scarlet waist-coat belonging to
Cock Robin!"

And she ironed it and folded it, and
put it on one side.

Then she took something else off a
clothes-horse--"That isn't my pinny?"
said Lucie.

"Oh no, if you please'm; that's a
damask table-cloth belonging to
Jenny Wren; look how it's stained with
currant wine! It's very bad to wash!"
said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's nose went
sniffle sniffle snuffle, and her eyes
went twinkle twinkle; and she fetched
another hot iron from the fire.

"There's one of my pocket-
handkins!" cried Lucie--"and there's
my pinny!"

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle ironed it, and
goffered it, and shook out the frills.

"Oh that IS lovely!" said Lucie.

"And what are those long yellow
things with fingers like gloves?"

"Oh that's a pair of stockings
belonging to Sally Henny-penny--look
how she's worn the heels out with
scratching in the yard! She'll very soon
go barefoot!" said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

"Why, there's another hankersniff--
but it isn't mine; it's red?"

"Oh no, if you please'm; that one
belongs to old Mrs. Rabbit; and it DID
so smell of onions! I've had to wash it
separately, I can't get out that smell."

"There's another one of mine," said Lucie.

"What are those funny little white things?"

"That's a pair of mittens belonging
to Tabby Kitten; I only have to iron
them; she washes them herself."

"There's my last pocket-handkin!"
said Lucie.

"And what are you dipping into the
basin of starch?"

"They're little dicky shirt-fronts
belonging to Tom Titmouse--most
terrible particular!" said Mrs. Tiggy-
winkle. "Now I've finished my ironing;
I'm going to air some clothes."

"What are these dear soft fluffy
things?" said Lucie.

"Oh those are woolly coats
belonging to the little lambs at

"Will their jackets take off?" asked

"Oh yes, if you please'm; look at the
sheep-mark on the shoulder. And
here's one marked for Gatesgarth,
and three that come from Little-town.
They're ALWAYS marked at washing!"
said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

And she hung up all sorts and sizes
of clothes--small brown coats of
mice; and one velvety black moleskin
waist-coat; and a red tail-coat with
no tail belonging to Squirrel Nutkin;
and a very much shrunk blue jacket
belonging to Peter Rabbit; and a
petticoat, not marked, that had gone
lost in the washing--and at last the
basket was empty!

Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made
tea--a cup for herself and a cup for
Lucie. They sat before the fire on a
bench and looked sideways at one
another. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's hand,
holding the tea-cup, was very very
brown, and very very wrinkly with the
soap-suds; and all through her gown
and her cap, there were HAIRPINS
sticking wrong end out; so that Lucie
didn't like to sit too near her.

When they had finished tea, they
tied up the clothes in bundles; and
Lucie's pocket-handkerchiefs were
folded up inside her clean pinny, and
fastened with a silver safety-pin.

And then they made up the fire
with turf, and came out and locked
the door, and hid the key under the

Then away down the hill trotted
Lucie and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle with the
bundles of clothes!

All the way down the path little
animals came out of the fern to meet
them; the very first that they met
were Peter Rabbit and Benjamin

And she gave them their nice clean
clothes; and all the little animals and
birds were so very much obliged to
dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

So that at the bottom of the hill
when they came to the stile, there was
nothing left to carry except Lucie's
one little bundle.

Lucie scrambled up the stile with
the bundle in her hand; and then she
turned to say "Good-night," and to
thank the washer-woman.--But what
a VERY odd thing! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle
had not waited either for thanks or
for the washing bill!

She was running running running
up the hill--and where was her white
frilled cap? and her shawl? and her
gown-and her petticoat?

And HOW small she had grown--
and HOW brown--and covered with

Why! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle was
nothing but a HEDGEHOG!
* * * * * *

(Now some people say that little Lucie
had been asleep upon the stile--but then
how could she have found three clean
pocket-handkins and a pinny, pinned with a
silver safety-pin?

And besides--I have seen that door into
the back of the hill called Cat Bells--and
besides _I_ am very well acquainted with dear
Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!)


Pussy-cat sits by the fire--how should she be fair?
In walks the little dog--says "Pussy are you there?
How do you do Mistress Pussy? Mistress Pussy, how
do you do?"
"I thank you kindly, little dog, I fare as well as you!"
[Old Rhyme]

Once upon a time there was a
Pussy-cat called Ribby, who invited a
little dog called Duchess to tea.

"Come in good time, my dear
Duchess," said Ribby's letter, "and we
will have something so very nice. I am
baking it in a pie-dish--a pie-dish
with a pink rim. You never tasted
anything so good! And YOU shall eat it
all! _I_ will eat muffins, my dear
Duchess!" wrote Ribby.

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

And then she thought that did not
look quite polite; so she scratched out
"isn't mouse" and changed it to "I
hope it will be fine," and she gave her
letter to the postman.

But she thought a great deal about
Ribby's pie, and she read Ribby's letter
over and over again.

"I am dreadfully afraid it WILL be
mouse!" said Duchess to herself--"I
really couldn't, COULDN'T eat mouse
pie. And I shall have to eat it, because
it is a party. And MY pie was going to
be veal and ham. A pink and white
pie-dish! and so is mine; just like
Ribby's dishes; they were both bought
at Tabitha Twitchit's."

Duchess went into her larder and took
the pie off a shelf and looked at it.

"Oh what a good idea! Why
shouldn't I rush along and put my pie
into Ribby's oven when Ribby isn't

Ribby in the meantime had received
Duchess's answer, and as soon as she
was sure that the little dog would
come--she popped HER pie into the
oven. There were two ovens, one
above the other; some other knobs
and handles were only ornamental
and not intended to open. Ribby put
the pie into the lower oven; the door
was very stiff.

"The top oven bakes too quickly,"
said Ribby to herself.

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

Then she began to set the room in
order, for it was the sitting-room as
well as the kitchen.

When Ribby had laid the table she
went out down the field to the farm,
to fetch milk and butter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There seemed to be a sort of
scuffling noise in the back passage, as
she was coming in at the front door.
But there was nobody there.

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

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

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

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

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

She sat down before the fire to wait
for the little dog. "I am glad I used the
BOTTOM oven," said Ribby, "the top
one would certainly have been very
much too hot."

Very punctually at four o'clock,
Duchess started to go to the party.

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

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

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

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

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

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

"With pleasure, my dear Duchess."

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

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

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

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