A Collection of Beatrix Potter Stories
Beatrix Potter

Part 1 out of 3

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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??


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.




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




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.




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.



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


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