TWT logo

Together We Teach
Reading Room

Take time to read.
Reading is the
fountain of wisdom.

| Home | Reading Room The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

< BACK    NEXT >





[A Story for Norah]

This is a Tale about a tail--a tail

that belonged to a little red squirrel,

and his name was Nutkin.

He had a brother called

Twinkleberry, and a great many

cousins: they lived in a wood at the

edge of a lake.

In the middle of the lake there is an

island covered with trees and nut

bushes; and amongst those trees

stands a hollow oak-tree, which is the

house of an owl who is called Old


One autumn when the nuts were

ripe, and the leaves on the hazel

bushes were golden and green--

Nutkin and Twinkleberry and all the

other little squirrels came out of the

wood, and down to the edge of the


They made little rafts out of twigs,

and they paddled away over the

water to Owl Island to gather nuts.

Each squirrel had a little sack and a

large oar, and spread out his tail for a


They also took with them an

offering of three fat mice as a present

for Old Brown, and put them down

upon his door-step.

Then Twinkleberry and the other

little squirrels each made a low bow,

and said politely--

"Old Mr. Brown, will you

favour us with permission to

gather nuts upon your island?"

But Nutkin was excessively

impertinent in his manners. He

bobbed up and down like a little

red CHERRY, singing--

"Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!

A little wee man, in a red red coat!

A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat;

If you'll tell me this riddle, I'll give you a groat."

Now this riddle is as old as the hills;

Mr. Brown paid no attention whatever

to Nutkin.

He shut his eyes obstinately and

went to sleep.

The squirrels filled their little sacks

with nuts, and sailed away home in

the evening.

But next morning they all came

back again to Owl Island; and

Twinkleberry and the others brought

a fine fat mole, and laid it on the

stone in front of Old Brown's

doorway, and said--

"Mr. Brown, will you favour us with

your gracious permission to gather

some more nuts?"

But Nutkin, who had no respect,

began to dance up and down, tickling

old Mr. Brown with a NETTLE and


"Old Mr. B! Riddle-me-ree!

Hitty Pitty within the wall,

Hitty Pitty without the wall;

If you touch Hitty Pitty,

Hitty Pitty will bite you!"

Mr. Brown woke up suddenly and

carried the mole into his house.

He shut the door in Nutkin's face.

Presently a little thread of blue SMOKE

from a wood fire came up from the

top of the tree, and Nutkin peeped

through the key-hole and sang--

"A house full, a hole full!

And you cannot gather a bowl-full!"

The squirrels searched for nuts all

over the island and filled their little


But Nutkin gathered oak-apples--

yellow and scarlet--and sat upon a

beech-stump playing marbles, and

watching the door of old Mr. Brown.

On the third day the squirrels got

up very early and went fishing; they

caught seven fat minnows as a

present for Old Brown.

They paddled over the lake and

landed under a crooked chestnut tree

on Owl Island.

Twinkleberry and six other little

squirrels each carried a fat minnow;

but Nutkin, who had no nice

manners, brought no present at all.

He ran in front, singing--

"The man in the wilderness said to me,

`How may strawberries grow in the sea?'

I answered him as I thought good--

`As many red herrings as grow in the wood."'

But old Mr. Brown took no interest

in riddles--not even when the answer

was provided for him.

On the fourth day the squirrels

brought a present of six fat beetles,

which were as good as plums in

PLUM-PUDDING for Old Brown. Each

beetle was wrapped up carefully in a

dockleaf, fastened with a pine-needle-


But Nutkin sang as rudely as ever--

"Old Mr. B! riddle-me-ree!

Flour of England, fruit of Spain,

Met together in a shower of rain;

Put in a bag tied round with a string,

If you'll tell me this riddle,

I'll give you a ring!"

Which was ridiculous of Nutkin,

because he had not got any ring to

give to Old Brown.

The other squirrels hunted up and

down the nut bushes; but Nutkin

gathered robin's pin-cushions off a

briar bush, and stuck them full of


On the fifth day the squirrels

brought a present of wild honey; it

was so sweet and sticky that they

licked their fingers as they put it down

upon the stone. They had stolen it out

of a bumble BEES' nest on the tippity

top of the hill.

But Nutkin skipped up and down,


"Hum-a-bum! buzz! buzz! Hum-a-bum buzz!

As I went over Tipple-tine

I met a flock of bonny swine;

Some yellow-nacked, some yellow backed!

They were the very bonniest swine

That e'er went over the Tipple-tine."

Old Mr. Brown turned up his eyes

in disgust at the impertinence of


But he ate up the honey!

The squirrels filled their little sacks

with nuts.

But Nutkin sat upon a big flat rock,

and played ninepins with a crab apple

and green fir-cones.

On the sixth day, which was

Saturday, the squirrels came again for

the last time; they brought a new-laid

EGG in a little rush basket as a last

parting present for Old Brown.

But Nutkin ran in front laughing,

and shouting--

"Humpty Dumpty lies in the beck,

With a white counterpane round his neck,

Forty doctors and forty wrights,

Cannot put Humpty Dumpty to rights!"

Now old Mr. Brown took an interest

in eggs; he opened one eye and shut it

again. But still he did not speak.

Nutkin became more and more


"Old Mr. B! Old Mr. B!

Hickamore, Hackamore, on the King's

kitchen door;

All the King's horses, and all the King's men,

Couldn't drive Hickamore, Hackamore,

Off the King's kitchen door!"

Nutkin danced up and down like a

SUNBEAM; but still Old Brown said

nothing at all.

Nutkin began again--

"Authur O'Bower has broken his band,

He comes roaring up the land!

The King of Scots with all his power,

Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower!"

Nutkin made a whirring noise to

sound like the WIND, and he took a

running jump right onto the head of

Old Brown! . . .

Then all at once there was a

flutterment and a scufflement and a

loud "Squeak!"

The other squirrels scuttered away

into the bushes.

When they came back very

cautiously, peeping round the tree--

there was Old Brown sitting on his

door-step, quite still, with his eyes

closed, as if nothing had happened.

* * * * * * * *


This looks like the end of the story;

but it isn't.

Old Brown carried Nutkin into his

house, and held him up by the tail,

intending to skin him; but Nutkin

pulled so very hard that his tail broke

in two, and he dashed up the

staircase, and escaped out of the attic


And to this day, if you meet Nutkin

up a tree and ask him a riddle, he will

throw sticks at you, and stamp his

feet and scold, and shout--





Top of Page

< BACK    NEXT >

| Home | Reading Room The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter




Why not spread the word about Together We Teach?
Simply copy & paste our home page link below into your emails... 

Want the Together We Teach link to place on your website?
Copy & paste either home page link on your webpage...
Together We Teach 





Use these free website tools below for a more powerful experience at Together We Teach!

****Google™ search****

For a more specific search, try using quotation marks around phrases (ex. "You are what you read")


*** Google Translate™ translation service ***

 Translate text:


  Translate a web page:

****What's the Definition?****
(Simply insert the word you want to lookup)

 Search:   for   

S D Glass Enterprises

Privacy Policy

Warner Robins, GA, USA