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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

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[For W.M.L.W., the Little Girl Who Had the Doll's House]

Once upon a time there was a very

beautiful doll's-house; it was red

brick with white windows, and it had

real muslin curtains and a front door

and a chimney.

It belonged to two Dolls called

Lucinda and Jane; at least it belonged

to Lucinda, but she never ordered meals.

Jane was the Cook; but she never

did any cooking, because the dinner

had been bought ready-made, in a

box full of shavings.

There were two red lobsters and a

ham, a fish, a pudding, and some

pears and oranges.

They would not come off the plates,

but they were extremely beautiful.

One morning Lucinda and Jane had

gone out for a drive in the doll's

perambulator. There was no one in

the nursery, and it was very quiet.

Presently there was a little scuffling,

scratching noise in a corner near the

fireplace, where there was a hole

under the skirting-board.

Tom Thumb put out his head for a

moment, and then popped it in again.

Tom Thumb was a mouse.

A minute afterwards, Hunca

Munca, his wife, put her head out,

too; and when she saw that there was

no one in the nursery, she ventured

out on the oilcloth under the coal-box.

The doll's-house stood at the other

side of the fire-place. Tom Thumb

and Hunca Munca went cautiously

across the hearthrug. They pushed

the front door--it was not fast.

Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca

went upstairs and peeped into the

dining-room. Then they squeaked

with joy!

Such a lovely dinner was laid out

upon the table! There were tin

spoons, and lead knives and forks,

and two dolly-chairs--all SO convenient!

Tom Thumb set to work at once to

carve the ham. It was a beautiful

shiny yellow, streaked with red.

The knife crumpled up and hurt

him; he put his finger in his mouth.

"It is not boiled enough; it is hard.

You have a try, Hunca Munca."

Hunca Munca stood up in her

chair, and chopped at the ham with

another lead knife.

"It's as hard as the hams at the

cheesemonger's," said Hunca Munca.

The ham broke off the plate with a

jerk, and rolled under the table.

"Let it alone," said Tom Thumb;

"give me some fish, Hunca Munca!"

Hunca Munca tried every tin spoon

in turn; the fish was glued to the dish.

Then Tom Thumb lost his temper.

He put the ham in the middle of the

floor, and hit it with the tongs and

with the shovel--bang, bang, smash, smash!

The ham flew all into pieces, for

underneath the shiny paint it was

made of nothing but plaster!

Then there was no end to the rage

and disappointment of Tom Thumb

and Hunca Munca. They broke up the

pudding, the lobsters, the pears and

the oranges.

As the fish would not come off the

plate, they put it into the red-hot

crinkly paper fire in the kitchen; but it

would not burn either.

Tom Thumb went up the kitchen

chimney and looked out at the top--

there was no soot.

While Tom Thumb was up the

chimney, Hunca Munca had another

disappointment. She found some tiny

canisters upon the dresser, labelled--

Rice--Coffee--Sago--but when she

turned them upside down, there was

nothing inside except red and blue beads.

Then those mice set to work to do

all the mischief they could--especially

Tom Thumb! He took Jane's clothes

out of the chest of drawers in her

bedroom, and he threw them out of

the top floor window.

But Hunca Munca had a frugal

mind. After pulling half the feathers

out of Lucinda's bolster, she

remembered that she herself was in

want of a feather bed.

With Tom Thumbs's assistance she

carried the bolster downstairs, and

across the hearth-rug. It was difficult

to squeeze the bolster into the mouse-

hole; but they managed it somehow.

Then Hunca Munca went back and

fetched a chair, a book-case, a bird-

cage, and several small odds and

ends. The book-case and the bird-

cage refused to go into the mousehole.

Hunca Munca left them behind the

coal-box, and went to fetch a cradle.

Hunca Munca was just returning

with another chair, when suddenly

there was a noise of talking outside

upon the landing. The mice rushed

back to their hole, and the dolls came

into the nursery.

What a sight met the eyes of Jane

and Lucinda! Lucinda sat upon the

upset kitchen stove and stared; and

Jane leant against the kitchen dresser

and smiled--but neither of them

made any remark.

The book-case and the bird-cage

were rescued from under the coal-

box--but Hunca Munca has got the

cradle, and some of Lucinda's clothes.

She also has some useful pots and

pans, and several other things.

The little girl that the doll's-house

belonged to, said,--"I will get a doll

dressed like a policeman!"

But the nurse said,--"I will set a


So that is the story of the two Bad

Mice,--but they were not so very very

naughty after all, because Tom

Thumb paid for everything he broke.

He found a crooked sixpence under

the hearth-rug; and upon Christmas

Eve, he and Hunca Munca stuffed it

into one of the stockings of Lucinda

and Jane.

And very early every morning--

before anybody is awake--Hunca

Munca comes with her dust-pan and

her broom to sweep the Dollies' house!




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