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 Farmyard Tale for Ralph and Betsy]

What a funny sight it is to see a

brood of ducklings with a hen!

Listen to the story of Jemima

Puddle-duck, who was annoyed

because the farmer's wife would not

let her hatch her own eggs.

Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Rebeccah

Puddle-duck, was perfectly willing to

leave the hatching to someone else--

"I have not the patience to sit on a

nest for twenty-eight days; and no

more have you, Jemima. You would

let them go cold; you know you would! "

"I wish to hatch my own eggs; I will

hatch them all by myself," quacked

Jemima Puddle-duck.

She tried to hide her eggs; but they

were always found and carried off.

Jemima Puddle-duck became quite

desperate. She determined to make a

nest right away from the farm.

She set off on a fine spring

afternoon along the cart road that

leads over the hill.

She was wearing a shawl and a

poke bonnet.

When she reached the top of the

hill, she saw a wood in the distance.

She thought that it looked a safe quiet spot.

Jemima Puddle-duck was not much

in the habit of flying. She ran downhill

a few yards flapping her shawl, and

then she jumped off into the air.

She flew beautifully when she had

got a good start.

She skimmed along over the

treetops until she saw an open place

in the middle of the wood, where the

trees and brushwood had been cleared.

Jemima alighted rather heavily and

began to waddle about in search of a

convenient dry nesting place. She

rather fancied a tree stump amongst

some tall foxgloves.

But--seated upon the stump, she

was startled to find an elegantly

dressed gentleman reading a

newspaper. He had black prick ears

and sandy colored whiskers.

"Quack?" said Jemima Puddle-

duck, with her head and her bonnet

on the one side--"Quack?"

The gentleman raised his eyes

above his newspaper and looked

curiously at Jemima--

"Madam, have you lost your way?"

said he. He had a long bushy tail

which he was sitting upon, as the

stump was somewhat damp.

Jemima thought him mighty civil

and handsome. She explained that she

had not lost her way, but that she was

trying to find a convenient dry nesting


"Ah! is that so? Indeed!" said the

gentleman with sandy whiskers,

looking curiously at Jemima. He

folded up the newspaper and put it in

his coattail pocket.

Jemima complained of the

superfluous hen.

"Indeed! How interesting! I wish I

could meet with that fowl. I would

teach it to mind its own business!

"But as to a nest--there is no

difficulty: I have a sackful of feathers

in my woodshed. No, my dear

madam, you will be in nobody's way.

You may sit there as long as you like,"

said the bushy long-tailed gentleman.

He led the way to a very retired,

dismal-looking house amongst the


It was built of faggots and turf, and

there were two broken pails, one on

top of another, by way of a chimney.

"This is my summer residence; you

would not find my earth--my winter

house--so convenient," said the

hospitable gentleman.

There was a tumbledown shed at

the back of the house, made of old

soap boxes. The gentleman opened

the door and showed Jemima in.

The shed was almost quite full of

feathers--it was almost suffocating;

but it was comfortable and very soft.

Jemima Puddle-duck was rather

surprised to find such a vast quantity

of feathers. But it was very

comfortable; and she made a nest

without any trouble at all.

When she came out, the sandy-

whiskered gentleman was sitting on a

log reading the newspaper--at least

he had it spread out, but he was

looking over the top of it.

He was so polite that he seemed

almost sorry to let Jemima go home

for the night. He promised to take

great care of her nest until she came

back again the next day.

He said he loved eggs and

ducklings; he should be proud to see a

fine nestful in his woodshed.

Jemima Puddle-duck came every

afternoon; she laid nine eggs in the

nest. They were greeny white and very

large. The foxy gentleman admired

them immensely. He used to turn

them over and count them when

Jemima was not there.

At last Jemima told him that she

intended to begin to sit next day--"and

I will bring a bag of corn with me, so

that I need never leave my nest until

the eggs are hatched. They might catch

cold," said the conscientious Jemima.

"Madam, I beg you not to trouble

yourself with a bag; I will provide

oats. But before you commence your

tedious sitting, I intend to give you a

treat. Let us have a dinner party all to


"May I ask you to bring up some

herbs from the farm garden to make

a savory omelet? Sage and thyme, and

mint and two onions, and some

parsley. I will provide lard for the

stuff--lard for the omelet," said the

hospitable gentleman with sandy whiskers.

Jemima Puddle-duck was a

simpleton: not even the mention of

sage and onions made her suspicious.

She went round the farm garden,

nibbling off snippets of all the

different sorts of herbs that are used

for stuffing roast duck.

And she waddled into the kitchen

and got two onions out of a basket.

The collie dog Kep met her coming

out, "What are you doing with those

onions? Where do you go every

afternoon by yourself, Jemima


Jemima was rather in awe of the

collie; she told him the whole story.

The collie listened, with his wise

head on one side; he grinned when

she described the polite gentleman

with sandy whiskers.

He asked several questions about

the wood and about the exact position

of the house and shed.

Then he went out, and trotted

down the village. He went to look for

two foxhound puppies who were out

at walk with the butcher.

Jemima Puddle-duck went up the

cart road for the last time, on a sunny

afternoon. She was rather burdened

with bunches of herbs and two onions

in a bag.

She flew over the wood, and

alighted opposite the house of the

bushy long-tailed gentleman.

He was sitting on a log; he sniffed

the air and kept glancing uneasily

round the wood. When Jemima

alighted he quite jumped.

"Come into the house as soon as

you have looked at your eggs. Give me

the herbs for the omelet. Be sharp!"

He was rather abrupt. Jemima

Puddle-duck had never heard him

speak like that.

She felt surprised and uncomfortable.

While she was inside she heard

pattering feet round the back of the

shed. Someone with a black nose

sniffed at the bottom of the door, and

them locked it.

Jemima became much alarmed.

A moment afterward there were

most awful noises--barking, baying,

growls and howls, squealing and groans.

And nothing more was ever seen of

that foxy-whiskered gentleman.

Presently Kep opened the door of

the shed and let out Jemima Puddle-duck.

Unfortunately the puppies rushed

in and gobbled up all the eggs before

he could stop them.

He had a bite on his ear, and both

the puppies were limping.

Jemima Puddle-duck was escorted

home in tears on account of those eggs.

She laid some more in June, and she

was permitted to keep them herself:

but only four of them hatched.

Jemima Puddle-duck said that it

was because of her nerves; but she

had always been a bad sitter.




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