The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle

Beatrix Potter

Book Description

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, by Beatrix Potter Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm. She was a good little girl only she was always losing her pocket-handkerchiefs! One day little Lucie came into the farm-yard crying--oh, she did cry so! "I've lost my pocket-handkin! Three handkins and a pinny! Have you seen them, Tabby Kitten?" The Kitten went on washing her white paws; so Lucie asked a speckled hen, "Sally Henny-penny, have you found three pocket-handkins?" But the speckled hen ran into a barn, clucking, "I go barefoot, barefoot, barefoot!" And then Lucie asked Cock Robin sitting on a twig. Cock Robin looked sideways at Lucie with his bright black eye, and he flew over a stile and away. Lucie climbed upon the stile and looked up at the hill that goes up up into the clouds as though it had no top! And a great way up the hill-side she thought she saw some white things spread upon the grass. Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast as her stout legs would carry her; she ran along a steep path way up and up until her Little town was right away down below she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney! Presently she came to a spring, bubbling out from the hill side. Some one had stood a tin can upon a stone to catch the water. And where the sand upon the path was wet there were foot marks of a very small person. Lucie ran on, and on. The path ended under a big rock. The grass was short and green, and there was a door! straight into the hill; and inside it some one was singing "Lily-white and clean, oh! With little frills between, oh! Smooth and hot--red rusty spot Never here be seen, oh!" Lucie, knocked once, twice, and interrupted the song. A little frightened voice called out "Who's that?" Lucie opened the door: and what do you think there was inside the hill?--a nice clean kitchen with a flagged floor and wooden beams--just like any other farm kitchen. Only the ceiling was so low that Lucie's head nearly touched it; and the pots and pans were small, and so was everything there. There was a nice hot singey smell; and at the table, with an iron in her hand stood a very stout short person staring anxiously at Lucie. Her print gown was tucked up, and she was wearing a large apron over her striped petticoat. Her little black nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and underneath her cap where Lucie had yellow curls that little person had PRICKLES! "Who are you?" said Lucie. "Have you seen my pocket-handkins?" The little person made a bob curtsey "Oh, yes, if you please'm; my name is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!" And she took something out of a clothes basket. "What's that thing?" said Lucie "that's not my pocket-handkin?" "Oh no, if you please'm; that's a little scarlet waist-coat belonging to Cock Robin!" Then she took something else off a clothes basket. "That isn't my pinny?" said Lucie. "Oh no, if you please'm; that's a damask table-cloth belonging to Jenny Wren!" said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and she fetched something out of a clothes-basket. "There's one of my pocket handkins!" cried Lucie "and there's my pinny!" "Oh! there's another one of mine," said Lucie. "What are those funny little white things?" "That's a pair of mittens belonging to Tabby Kitten." "There's my last pocket-handkin!" said Lucie. "What are these dear soft fluffy things?" said Lucie. "Oh those are woolly coats belonging to the little lambs," said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. Lucie's pocket handkerchiefs were folded up inside her clean pinny. Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made tea, a cup for herself and a cup for Lucie. They sat before the fire on a bench and looked sideways at one another. When they had finished tea, they went out and down the hill with the bundles of lost clothes! All the way down the path little animals came out of the fern to meet them and to get their lost clothes; the very first that they met were Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny! And Mrs. Tiggy Winkle gave them their clothes; and all the little animals and birds were so very much obliged to her. At the bottom of the hill when they came to the stile, there was nothing left to carry. Lucie turned to say "Good-night," and to thank the dear woman. But what a very odd thing! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle had not waited either for thanks! She was running, running, running up the hill and where was her white frilled cap? and her shawl? and her gown? and her petticoat? And how small she had grown, and how brown and covered with PRICKLES! Why!? Mrs. Tiggy-winkle was nothing but a HEDGEHOG.

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