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

The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

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[Dedicated to All Pickles,

--Especially to Those That Get upon My Garden Wall]

Once upon a time there were three

little kittens, and their names were

Mittens, Tom Kitten, and Moppet.

They had dear little fur coats of

their own; and they tumbled about

the doorstep and played in the dust.

But one day their mother--Mrs.

Tabitha Twitchit--expected friends to

tea; so she fetched the kittens indoors,

to wash and dress them, before the

fine company arrived.

First she scrubbed their faces (this

one is Moppet).

Then she brushed their fur (this

one is Mittens).

Then she combed their tails and

whiskers (this is Tom Kitten).

Tom was very naughty, and he scratched.

Mrs. Tabitha dressed Moppet and

Mittens in clean pinafores and

tuckers; and then she took all sorts of

elegant uncomfortable clothes out of

a chest of drawers, in order to dress

up her son Thomas.

Tom Kitten was very fat, and he

had grown; several buttons burst off.

His mother sewed them on again.

When the three kittens were ready,

Mrs. Tabitha unwisely turned them

out into the garden, to be out of the

way while she made hot buttered toast.

"Now keep your frocks clean,

children! You must walk on your hind

legs. Keep away from the dirty ash-

pit, and from Sally Henny Penny, and

from the pigsty and the Puddle-ducks."

Moppet and Mittens walked down

the garden path unsteadily. Presently

they trod upon their pinafores and fell

on their noses.

When they stood up there were

several green smears!

"Let us climb up the rockery and sit

on the garden wall," said Moppet.

They turned their pinafores back to

front and went up with a skip and a

jump; Moppet's white tucker fell

down into the road.

Tom Kitten was quite unable to

jump when walking upon his hind

legs in trousers. He came up the

rockery by degrees, breaking the ferns

and shedding buttons right and left.

He was all in pieces when he

reached the top of the wall.

Moppet and Mittens tried to pull

him together; his hat fell off, and the

rest of his buttons burst.

While they were in difficulties, there

was a pit pat, paddle pat! and the

three Puddle-ducks came along the

hard high road, marching one behind

the other and doing the goose step--

pit pat, paddle pat! pit pat, waddle pat!

They stopped and stood in a row

and stared up at the kittens. They had

very small eyes and looked surprised.

Then the two duck-birds, Rebeccah

and Jemima Puddle-duck, picked up

the hat and tucker and put them on.

Mittens laughed so that she fell off

the wall. Moppet and Tom descended

after her; the pinafores and all the

rest of Tom's clothes came off on the

way down.

"Come! Mr. Drake Puddle-duck,"

said Moppet. "Come and help us to

dress him! Come and button up Tom!"

Mr. Drake Puddle-duck advanced

in a slow sideways manner and

picked up the various articles.

But he put them on HIMSELF! They

fitted him even worse than Tom Kitten.

"It's a very fine morning!" said Mr.

Drake Puddle-duck.

And he and Jemima and Rebeccah

Puddle-duck set off up the road,

keeping step--pit pat, paddle pat! pit

pat, waddle pat!

Then Tabitha Twitchit came down

the garden and found her kittens on

the wall with no clothes on.

She pulled them off the wall,

smacked them, and took them back

to the house.

"My friends will arrive in a minute,

and you are not fit to be seen; I am

affronted," said Mrs. Tabitha Twitchit.

She sent them upstairs; and I am

sorry to say she told her friends that

they were in bed with the measles--

which was not true.

Quite the contrary; they were not in bed:

NOT in the least.

Somehow there were very extra--

ordinary noises overhead, which

disturbed the dignity and repose of

the tea party.

And I think that some day I shall

have to make another, larger book, to

tell you more about Tom Kitten!

As for the Puddle-ducks--they

went into a pond.

The clothes all came off directly,

because there were no buttons.

And Mr. Drake Puddle-duck, and

Jemima and Rebeccah, have been

looking for them ever since.




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