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Full text of "The tale of Squirrel Nutkin"

OP 

S * RL NUTKIN 




FIC 
P86< 



BY 

iix POTTER 



F.WARNE&C2LTP | 



THE TALE 

OF 

SQUIRREL NUTKIN 



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THE TALE OF 

SQUIRREL NUTKIN 

BY 

BEATRIX POTTER 




LONDON 

FREDERICK WARNE & CO., LTD. 

AND NEW YORK 
[All rights reserved] 



FREDERICK WARNE & CO. LTD. 
1903 



PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN FOR THE PUBLISHERS 

BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS LTD 

LONDON AND BECCLES 

642.857 



A STORY FOR NORAH 



/ HpHIS 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. 



TN 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 Brown. 



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



HTHEY 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 sail. 






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/ T~ A HEY 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?" 



T>UT 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. 



18 



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



13UT 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?" 






A 







r>UT Nutkin, who had no 
respect, began to dance up 
and down, tickling old Mr. Brown 
with a nettle and singing 

1 ' 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. 



TJE 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'" 



26 



. 

1 





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/ T~ A HE squirrels searched for 
nuts all over the island and 
filled their little sacks. 

But Nutkin gathered oak-apples 

yellow and scarlet and sat 

upon a beech-stump playing 

marbles, and watching the door 

of old Mr. Brown. 



^ 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 chest- 
nut tree on Owl Island. 



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

"The man in the wilderness said to me, 
' How many 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. 



33 



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 dock-leaf, fastened 
with a pine-needle-pin. 

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. 



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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 pine-needle 
pins. 



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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 tippitty top of 
the hill. 

But Nutkin skipped up and 
down, singing 

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 Tipple-tine." 



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Mr. Brown turned up 
his eyes in disgust at the 
impertinence of Nutkin. 
But he ate up the honey! 



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. 




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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 pre- 
sent for Old Brown. 

But Nutkin ran in front laugh- 
ing, 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! " 



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




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TVTUTKIN became more and 
more impertinent 

"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. 



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began again 

"Arthur 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. 




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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. 



But Nutkin was in his waist- 
coat pocket! 



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



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QLD 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 
window. 




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A ND 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 

"Cuck-cuck-cuck-cur-r-r- 
cuck-k-k!" 

THE END 



Potter, B. 

The tale of Squirrel 
Nutkin. 



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