The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter
Part 2 out of 4
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.
"I think"--(thought 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."
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
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.
Duchess looked very much
alarmed, and continued to scoop the
inside of 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."
"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
"Shall I run for the doctor?"
"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.
Ribby explained that her guest had
swallowed a patty-pan.
Dr. Maggotty hopped so fast that
Ribby had to run. It was most
conspicuous. All the village could see
that Ribby was fetching the doctor.
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
"How COULD I have swallowed it!
such a large thing as a patty-pan!"
She sat down again, and stared
mournfully at the grate. The fire
crackled and danced, and something
Duchess started! She opened the
door of the TOP oven;--out came a
rich steamy flavour of veal and ham,
and there stood a fine brown pie,--
and through a hole in the top of the
pie-crust there was a glimpse of a
little tin patty-pan!
Duchess drew a long breath--
"Then I must have been eating
MOUSE! . . . No wonder I feel ill. . . .
But perhaps I should feel worse if I
had really swallowed a patty-pan!"
Duchess reflected--"What a very
awkward thing to have to explain to
Ribby! I think I will put MY pie in the
back-yard and say nothing about it.
When I go home, I will run round and
take it away." She put it outside the
back-door, and sat down again by
the fire, and shut her eyes; when
Ribby arrived with the doctor, she
seemed fast asleep.
"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!"
"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
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 piecrust, and
the magpie was drinking gravy out of
Duchess ran home feeling
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
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 TALE OF
MR. JEREMY FISHER
from Cousin B.]
Once upon a time there was a frog
called Mr. Jeremy Fisher; he lived in a
little damp house amongst the
buttercups at the edge of a pond.
The water was all slippy-sloppy in
the larder and in the back passage.
But Mr. Jeremy liked getting his feet
wet; nobody ever scolded him, and he
never caught a cold!
He was quite pleased when he
looked out and saw large drops of
rain, splashing in the pond--
"I will get some worms and go
fishing and catch a dish of minnows
for my dinner," said Mr. Jeremy
Fisher. "If I catch more than five fish, I
will invite my friends Mr. Alderman
Ptolemy Tortoise and Sir Isaac
Newton. The Alderman, however,
Mr. Jeremy put on a mackintosh,
and a pair of shiny galoshes; he took
his rod and basket, and set off with
enormous hops to the place where he
kept his boat.
The boat was round and green, and
very like the other lily-leaves. It was
tied to a water-plant in the middle of
Mr. Jeremy took a reed pole, and
pushed the boat out into open water.
"I know a good place for minnows,"
said Mr. Jeremy Fisher.
Mr. Jeremy stuck his pole into the
mud and fastened the boat to it.
Then he settled himself cross-
legged and arranged his fishing
tackle. He had the dearest little red
float. His rod was a tough stalk of
grass, his line was a fine long white
horse-hair, and he tied a little
wriggling worm at the end.
The rain trickled down his back,
and for nearly an hour he stared at
"This is getting tiresome, I think I
should like some lunch," said Mr.
He punted back again amongst the
water-plants, and took some lunch
out of his basket.
"I will eat a butterfly sandwich,
and wait till the shower is over," said
Mr. Jeremy Fisher.
A great big water-beetle came up
underneath the lily leaf and tweaked
the toe of one of his galoshes.
Mr. Jeremy crossed his legs up
shorter, out of reach, and went on
eating his sandwich.
Once or twice something moved
about with a rustle and a splash
amongst the rushes at the side of the
"I trust that is not a rat," said Mr.
Jeremy Fisher; "I think I had better get
away from here."
Mr. Jeremy shoved the boat out
again a little way, and dropped in the
bait. There was a bite almost directly;
the float gave a tremendous bobbit!
"A minnow! a minnow! I have him
by the nose!" cried Mr. Jeremy Fisher,
jerking up his rod.
But what a horrible surprise!
Instead of a smooth fat minnow, Mr.
Jeremy landed little Jack Sharp, the
stickleback, covered with spines!
The stickleback floundered about
the boat, pricking and snapping until
he was quite out of breath. Then he
jumped back into the water.
And a shoal of other little fishes put
their heads out, and laughed at Mr.
And while Mr. Jeremy sat
disconsolately on the edge of his
boat--sucking his sore fingers and
peering down into the water--a MUCH
worse thing happened; a really
FRIGHTFUL thing it would have been, if
Mr. Jeremy had not been wearing a
A great big enormous trout came
up--ker-pflop-p-p-p! with a splash--
and it seized Mr. Jeremy with a snap,
"Ow! Ow! Ow!"--and then it turned
and dived down to the bottom of the
But the trout was so displeased
with the taste of the mackintosh, that
in less than half a minute it spat him
out again; and the only thing it
swallowed was Mr. Jeremy's galoshes.
Mr. Jeremy bounced up to the
surface of the water, like a cork and
the bubbles out of a soda water
bottle; and he swam with all his
might to the edge of the pond.
He scrambled out on the first bank
he came to, and he hopped home
across the meadow with his
mackintosh all in tatters.
"What a mercy that was not a
pike!" said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. "I have
lost my rod and basket; but it does
not much matter, for I am sure I
should never have dared to go fishing
He put some sticking plaster on his
fingers, and his friends both came to
dinner. He could not offer them fish,
but he had something else in his
Sir Isaac Newton wore his black
and gold waistcoat.
And Mr. Alderman Ptolemy
Tortoise brought a salad with him in a
And instead of a nice dish of
minnows, they had a roasted
grasshopper with lady-bird sauce,
which frogs consider a beautiful treat;
but _I_ think it must have been nasty!
THE STORY OF
A FIERCE BAD RABBIT
This is a fierce bad Rabbit; look at
his savage whiskers and his claws and
his turned-up tail.
This is a nice gentle Rabbit. His
mother has given him a carrot.
The bad Rabbit would like some
He doesn't say "Please." He takes it!
And he scratches the good Rabbit
The good Rabbit creeps away and
hides in a hole. It feels sad.
This is a man with a gun.
He sees something sitting on a
bench. He thinks it is a very funny
He comes creeping up behind the
And then he shoots--BANG!
This is what happens--
But this is all he finds on the bench
when he rushes up with his gun.
The good Rabbit peeps out of its
hole . . .
. . . and it sees the bad Rabbit
tearing past--without any tail or
THE STORY OF
This is a Pussy called Miss Moppet;
she thinks she has heard a mouse!
This is the Mouse peeping out
behind the cupboard and making
fun of Miss Moppet. He is not afraid
of a kitten.
This is Miss Moppet jumping just
too late; she misses the Mouse and
hits her own head.
She thinks it is a very hard
The Mouse watches Miss Moppet
from the top of the cupboard.
Miss Moppet ties up her head in a
duster and sits before the fire.
The Mouse thinks she is looking
very ill. He comes sliding down the
Miss Moppet looks worse and
worse. The Mouse comes a little
Miss Moppet holds her poor head in
her paws and looks at him through a
hole in the duster. The Mouse comes
And then all of a sudden--Miss
Moppet jumps upon the Mouse!
And because the Mouse has teased
Miss Moppet--Miss Moppet thinks she
will tease the Mouse, which is not at
all nice of Miss Moppet.
She ties him up in the duster and
tosses it about like a ball.
But she forgot about that hole in
the duster; and when she untied it--
there was no Mouse!
He has wriggled out and run away;
and he is dancing a jig on top of the
THE TALE OF
[Dedicated to All Pickles,
--Especially to Those That Get upon My Garden Wall]
Once upon a time there were three
little kittens, and their names were
Mittens, Tom Kitten, and Moppet.
They had dear little fur coats of
their own; and they tumbled about
the doorstep and played in the dust.
But one day their mother--Mrs.
Tabitha Twitchit--expected friends to
tea; so she fetched the kittens indoors,
to wash and dress them, before the
fine company arrived.
First she scrubbed their faces (this
one is Moppet).
Then she brushed their fur (this
one is Mittens).
Then she combed their tails and
whiskers (this is Tom Kitten).
Tom was very naughty, and he
Mrs. Tabitha dressed Moppet and
Mittens in clean pinafores and
tuckers; and then she took all sorts of
elegant uncomfortable clothes out of
a chest of drawers, in order to dress
up her son Thomas.
Tom Kitten was very fat, and he
had grown; several buttons burst off.
His mother sewed them on again.
When the three kittens were ready,
Mrs. Tabitha unwisely turned them
out into the garden, to be out of the
way while she made hot buttered
"Now keep your frocks clean,
children! You must walk on your hind
legs. Keep away from the dirty ash-
pit, and from Sally Henny Penny, and
from the pigsty and the Puddle-
Moppet and Mittens walked down
the garden path unsteadily. Presently
they trod upon their pinafores and fell
on their noses.
When they stood up there were
several green smears!
"Let us climb up the rockery and sit
on the garden wall," said Moppet.
They turned their pinafores back to
front and went up with a skip and a
jump; Moppet's white tucker fell
down into the road.
Tom Kitten was quite unable to
jump when walking upon his hind
legs in trousers. He came up the
rockery by degrees, breaking the ferns
and shedding buttons right and left.
He was all in pieces when he
reached the top of the wall.
Moppet and Mittens tried to pull
him together; his hat fell off, and the
rest of his buttons burst.
While they were in difficulties, there
was a pit pat, paddle pat! and the
three Puddle-ducks came along the
hard high road, marching one behind
the other and doing the goose step--
pit pat, paddle pat! pit pat, waddle
They stopped and stood in a row
and stared up at the kittens. They had
very small eyes and looked surprised.
Then the two duck-birds, Rebeccah
and Jemima Puddle-duck, picked up
the hat and tucker and put them on.
Mittens laughed so that she fell off
the wall. Moppet and Tom descended
after her; the pinafores and all the
rest of Tom's clothes came off on the
"Come! Mr. Drake Puddle-duck,"
said Moppet. "Come and help us to
dress him! Come and button up
Mr. Drake Puddle-duck advanced
in a slow sideways manner and
picked up the various articles.
But he put them on HIMSELF! They
fitted him even worse than Tom Kitten.
"It's a very fine morning!" said Mr.
And he and Jemima and Rebeccah
Puddle-duck set off up the road,
keeping step--pit pat, paddle pat! pit
pat, waddle pat!
Then Tabitha Twitchit came down
the garden and found her kittens on
the wall with no clothes on.
She pulled them off the wall,
smacked them, and took them back
to the house.
"My friends will arrive in a minute,
and you are not fit to be seen; I am
affronted," said Mrs. Tabitha
She sent them upstairs; and I am
sorry to say she told her friends that
they were in bed with the measles--
which was not true.
Quite the contrary; they were not in bed:
NOT in the least.
Somehow there were very extra--
ordinary noises overhead, which
disturbed the dignity and repose of
the tea party.
And I think that some day I shall
have to make another, larger book, to
tell you more about Tom Kitten!
As for the Puddle-ducks--they
went into a pond.
The clothes all came off directly,
because there were no buttons.
And Mr. Drake Puddle-duck, and
Jemima and Rebeccah, have been
looking for them ever since.
THE TALE OF
[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 someone 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
"I wish to hatch my own eggs; I will
hatch them all by myself," quacked
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
When she reached the top of the
hill, she saw a wood in the distance.
She thought that it looked a safe
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
treetops until she saw an open place
in the middle of the wood, where the
trees and brushwood had been
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 foxgloves.
But--seated upon the stump, she
was startled to find an elegantly
dressed gentleman reading a
newspaper. He had black prick ears
and sandy colored whiskers.
"Quack?" said Jemima Puddle-
duck, with her head and her bonnet
on the 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
"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 coattail pocket.
Jemima complained of the
"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 woodshed. 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
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
There was a tumbledown 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 the next day.
He said he loved eggs and
ducklings; he should be proud to see a
fine nestful in his woodshed.
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
"May I ask you to bring up some
herbs from the farm garden to make
a savory omelet? Sage and thyme, and
mint and two onions, and some
parsley. I will provide lard for the
stuff--lard for the omelet," said the
hospitable gentleman with sandy
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
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 foxhound 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 omelet. 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. Someone with a black nose
sniffed at the bottom of the door, and
them locked it.
Jemima became much alarmed.
A moment afterward there were
most awful noises--barking, baying,
growls and howls, squealing and
And nothing more was ever seen of
that foxy-whiskered gentleman.
Presently Kep opened the door of
the shed and let out Jemima Puddle-
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
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.
[In Remembrance of "Sammy,"
the Intelligent Pink-Eyed Representative of
a Persecuted (But Irrepressible) Race.
An Affectionate Little Friend,
and Most Accomplished Thief!]
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
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
While their mother was searching
the house, Moppet and Mittens had
got into mischief.
The cupboard door was not locked,
so they pushed it open and came out.
They went straight to the dough
which was set to rise in a pan before
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
Mr. 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 her 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.
"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
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
"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
"The rats get upon my nerves,
Cousin Ribby," said Tabitha.
Ribby and Tabitha searched and
searched. They both heard a curious
roly-poly noise under the attic floor.
But there was nothing to be seen.
They returned to the kitchen.
"Here's one of your kittens at least,"
said Ribby, dragging Moppet out of
the flour barrel.
They shook the flour off her and set
her down on the kitchen floor. She
seemed to be in a terrible fright.
"Oh! Mother, Mother," said
Moppet, "there's been an old woman
rat in the kitchen, and she's stolen
some of the dough!"
The two cats ran to look at the
dough pan. Sure enough there were
marks of little scratching fingers, and
a lump of dough was gone!
"Which way did she go, Moppet?"
But Moppet had been too much
frightened to peep out of the barrel
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 over the jar, and she
"Oh, Mother, Mother!" said
"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
Ribby and Tabitha looked at one
"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
Ribby and Tabitha rushed upstairs
again. Sure enough the roly-poly noise
was still going on quite distinctly
under the attic floor.
"This is serious, Cousin Tabitha,"
said Ribby. "We must send for John
Joiner at once, with a saw."
Now, this is what had been
happening to Tom Kitten, and it
shows how very unwise it is to go up a
chimney in a very old house, where a
person does not know his way, and
where there are enormous rats.
Tom Kitten did not want to be shut
up in a cupboard. When he saw that
his mother was going to bake, he
determined to hide.
He looked about for a nice
convenient place, and he fixed upon
The 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-
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
"I cannot go back. If I slipped I
might fall in the fire and singe my
beautiful tail and my little blue
The chimney was a very big old-
fashioned one. It was built in the days
when people burnt logs of wood upon
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
Tom Kitten was getting very
frightened! He climbed up, and up,
Then he waded sideways through
inches of soot. He was like a little
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
Opposite to him--as far away as he
could sit--was an enormous rat.
"What do you mean by tumbling
into my bed all covered with smuts?"
said the rat, chattering his teeth.
"Please, sir, the chimney wants
sweeping," said poor Tom Kitten.
"Anna Maria! Anna Maria!"
squeaked the rat. There was a
pattering noise and an old woman rat
poked her head round a rafter.
All in a minute she rushed upon
Tom Kitten, and before he knew what
was happening. . .
. . . his coat was pulled off, and he
was rolled up in a bundle, and tied
with string in very hard knots.
Anna Maria did the tying. The old
rat watched her and took snuff. When
she had finished, they both sat staring
at him with their mouths open.
"Anna Maria," said the old man rat
(whose name was Samuel Whiskers),
"Anna Maria, make me a kitten
dumpling roly-poly pudding for my
"It requires dough and a pat of
butter and a rolling pin," said Anna
Maria, considering Tom Kitten with
her head on one side.
"No," said Samuel Whiskers, "make
it properly, Anna Maria, with
"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
He made a second journey for the
rolling pin. He pushed it in front of
him with his paws, like a brewer's
man trundling a barrel.
He could hear Ribby and Tabitha
talking, but they were too busy
lighting the candle to look into the
They did not see him.
Anna Maria went down by way of
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
But his mouth was full of soot and
cobwebs, and he was tied up in such
very tight knots, he could not make
anybody hear him.
Except a spider who 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
bluebottles. It did not offer to assist
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
Anna Maria said she thought that it
was of no consequence; but she
wished that Tom Kitten would hold
his head still, as it disarranged the
pastry. She laid hold of his ears.
Tom Kitten bit and spit, 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
"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
So it happened that by the time
John Joiner had got the plank up--
there was nobody here 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
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
John Joiner smelt the pudding; but
he regretted that he had not time to
stay to dinner, because he had just
finished making a wheelbarrow for
Miss Potter, and she had ordered two
And when I was going to the post
late in the afternoon--I looked up the
land from the corner, and I saw Mr.
Samuel Whiskers and his wife on the
run, with big bundles on a little
wheelbarrow, which looked very
much 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
I am sure _I_ never gave her leave to
borrow my wheelbarrow!
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 grandchildren and
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
They hang up the rats' tails in a
row on 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--
THE TALE OF
THE FLOPSY BUNNIES
[For All Little Friends of
Mr. McGregor and Peter and Benjamin]
It is said that the effect of eating
too much lettuce is "soporific."
I have never felt sleepy after eating
lettuces; but then I am not a
They certainly had a very soporific
effect upon the Flopsy Bunnies!
When Benjamin Bunny grew up,
he married his Cousin Flopsy.
They had a large family, and they
were very improvident and cheerful.
I do not remember the separate
names of their children; they were
generally called the "Flopsy Bunnies."
As there was not always quite
enough to eat,--Benjamin used to
borrow cabbages from Flopsy's
brother, Peter Rabbit, who kept a
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
The Flopsy Bunnies simply stuffed
themselves with lettuces. By degrees,
one after another, they were overcome
with slumber, and lay down in the
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 Tittle-
mouse, a woodmouse with a long
She rustled across the paper
bag, and awakened Benjamin
The mouse apologized profusely,
and said that she knew
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
The little rabbits smiled sweetly
in their sleep under the shower of
grass; they did not awake because
the lettuces had been so soporific.
They dreamt that their mother
Flopsy was tucking them up in a
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
Presently a fly settled on one of
them and it moved.
Mr. McGregor climbed down on
to the rubbish heap--
"One, two, three, four! five! six
leetle rabbits!" said he as he
dropped them into his sack. The
Flopsy Bunnies dreamt that their
mother was turning them over in
bed. They stirred a little in their
sleep, but still they did not wake
Mr. McGregor tied up the sack
and left it on the wall.
He went to put away the mowing
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
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
But Mrs. Tittlemouse was a
resourceful person. She nibbled a
hole in the bottom corner of the
The little rabbits were pulled
out and pinched to wake them.
Their parents stuffed the empty
sack with three rotten vegetable
marrows, an old blackingbrush
and two decayed turnips.
Then they all hid under a bush
and watched for Mr. McGregor.
Mr. McGregor came back and
picked up the sack, and carried it
He carried it hanging down, as
if it were rather heavy.
The Flopsy Bunnies followed at
a safe distance.
They watched him go into
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
They could hear him drag his
chair on the flags, and chuckle--
"One, two, three, four, five, six
leetle rabbits!" said Mr. McGregor.
"Eh? What's that? What have
they been spoiling now?" enquired
"One, two, three, four, five, six
leetle fat rabbits!" repeated Mr.
McGregor, counting on his fingers
--"one, two, three--"
"Don't you be silly: what do you
mean, you silly old man?"
"In the sack! one, two, three,
four, five, six!" replied Mr. McGregor.
(The youngest Flopsy Bunny got
upon the windowsill.)
Mrs. McGregor took hold of the
sack and felt it. She said she could
feel six, but they must be OLD rabbits,
because they were so hard
and all different shapes.
"Not fit to eat; but the skins will
do fine to line my old cloak."
"Line your old cloak?" shouted
Mr. McGregor--"I shall sell them
and buy myself baccy!"
"Rabbit tobacco! I shall skin
them and cut off their heads."
Mrs. McGregor untied the
sack and put her hand inside.
When she felt the vegetables
she became very very angry.
She said that Mr. McGregor
had "done it a purpose."
And Mr. McGregor was very
angry too. One of the rotten
marrows came flying through
the kitchen window, and hit
the youngest Flopsy Bunny.
It was rather hurt.
Then Benjamin and Flopsy
thought that it was time to go
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
THE TALE OF
Once upon a time there was
a woodmouse, and her name
was Mrs. Tittlemouse.
She lived in a bank under a hedge.
Such a funny house! There
were yards and yards of sandy
passages, leading to store-
rooms and nut cellars and
seed cellars, all amongst the
roots of the hedge.
There was a kitchen, a parlor,
a pantry, and a larder.
Also, there was Mrs. Tittle-
mouse's bedroom, where she
slept in a little box bed!
Mrs. Tittlemouse was a most
terribly tidy particular little
mouse, always sweeping and
dusting the soft sandy floors.
Sometimes a beetle lost its way
in the passages.
"Shuh! shuh! little dirty feet!"
said Mrs. Tittlemouse, clattering
And one day a little old woman
ran up and down in a red spotty
"Your house is on fire, Mother
Ladybird! Fly away home to your
Another day, a big fat spider
came in to shelter from the rain.
"Beg pardon, is this not Miss
"Go away, you bold bad spider!
Leaving ends of cobweb all over
my nice clean house!"
She bundled the spider out at a
He let himself down the hedge
with a long thin bit of string.
Mrs. Tittlemouse went on her
way to a distant storeroom, to
fetch cherrystones and thistle-
down seed for dinner.
All along the passage she
sniffed, and looked at the floor.
"I smell a smell of honey; is it
the cowslips outside, in the hedge?
I am sure I can see the marks of
little dirty feet."
Suddenly round a corner, she
met Babbitty Bumble--"Zizz,
Bizz, Bizzz!" said the bumble bee.
Mrs. Tittlemouse looked at her
severely. She wished that she had
"Good-day, Babbitty Bumble; I
should be glad to buy some bees-
wax. But what are you doing
down here? Why do you always
come in at a window, and say,
Zizz, Bizz, Bizzz?" Mrs. Tittle-
mouse began to get cross.
"Zizz, Wizz, Wizzz!" replied
Babbitty Bumble in a peevish
squeak. She sidled down a passage,
and disappeared into a
storeroom which had been used
Mrs. Tittlemouse had eaten the
acorns before Christmas; the
storeroom ought to have been
But it was full of untidy dry
Mrs. Tittlemouse began to pull out the
moss. Three or four other bees put
their heads out, and buzzed fiercely.
"I am not in the habit of letting
lodgings; this is an intrusion!"
said Mrs. Tittlemouse.
"I will have them turned out
--" "Buzz! Buzz! Buzzz!"--"I
wonder who would help me?"
"Bizz, Wizz, Wizzz!"
--"I will not have Mr. Jackson;
he never wipes his feet."
Mrs. Tittlemouse decided to
leave the bees till after dinner.
When she got back to the parlor,
she heard some one coughing
in a fat voice; and there sat Mr.
He was sitting all over a
small rocking chair, twiddling his
thumbs and smiling, with his feet
on the fender.
He lived in a drain below the
hedge, in a very dirty wet ditch.
"How do you do, Mr. Jackson?
Deary me, you have got
"Thank you, thank you,
thank you, Mrs. Tittlemouse!
I'll sit awhile and dry myself,"
said Mr. Jackson.
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