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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

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[For Stephanie 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,

eats salad."

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

the pond.

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

the float.

"This is getting tiresome, I think I

should like some lunch," said Mr.

Jeremy Fisher.

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.

Jeremy Fisher.

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 pond!

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 larder.

Sir Isaac Newton wore his black

and gold waistcoat.

And Mr. Alderman Ptolemy Tortoise

brought a salad with him in a string bag.

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!




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