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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

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[For Many Unknown Little Friends, Including Monica]

Once upon a time there was a

little fat comfortable grey squirrel,

called Timmy Tiptoes. He had a

nest thatched with leaves in the

top of a tall tree; and he had a

little squirrel wife called Goody.

Timmy Tiptoes sat out, enjoying

the breeze; he whisked his tail and

chuckled--"Little wife Goody, the

nuts are ripe; we must lay up a

store for winter and spring."

Goody Tiptoes was busy pushing

moss under the thatch--"The nest

is so snug, we shall be sound

asleep all winter." "Then we shall

wake up all the thinner, when

there is nothing to eat in spring-

time," replied prudent Timothy.

When Timmy and Goody

Tiptoes came to the nut

thicket, they found other

squirrels were there already.

Timmy took off his jacket

and hung it on a twig; they

worked away quietly by themselves.

Every day they made several

journeys and picked quantities

of nuts. They carried them

away in bags, and stored

them in several hollow

stumps near the tree where

they had built their nest.

When these stumps were full,

they began to empty the bags into

a hole high up a tree, that had

belonged to a woodpecker; the nuts

rattled down--down--down inside.

"How shall you ever get them

out again? It is like a money box!"

said Goody.

"I shall be much thinner before

springtime, my love," said Timmy

Tiptoes, peeping into the hole.

They did collect quantities--

because they did not lose them!

Squirrels who bury their nuts in

the ground lose more than half,

because they cannot remember

the place.

The most forgetful squirrel in

the wood was called Silvertail. He

began to dig, and he could not

remember. And then he dug again

and found some nuts that did not

belong to him; and there was a

fight. And other squirrels began to

dig,--the whole wood was in


Unfortunately, just at this time

a flock of little birds flew by, from

bush to bush, searching for green

caterpillars and spiders. There

were several sorts of little birds,

twittering different songs.

The first one sang--"Who's bin

digging-up MY nuts? Who's-been-

digging-up MY nuts?"

And another sang--"Little bita

bread and-NO-cheese! Little bit-a-

bread an'-NO-cheese!"

The squirrels followed and listened.

The first little bird flew into

the bush where Timmy and Goody

Tiptoes were quietly tying up their

bags, and it sang--"Who's-bin

digging-up MY nuts? Who's been

digging-up MY-nuts?"

Timmy Tiptoes went on with

his work without replying; indeed,

the little bird did not expect an

answer. It was only singing its

natural song, and it meant nothing

at all.

But when the other squirrels

heard that song, they rushed upon

Timmy Tiptoes and cuffed and

scratched him, and upset his bag

of nuts. The innocent little bird

which had caused all the mischief,

flew away in a fright!

Timmy rolled over and over,

and then turned tail and fled to-

wards his nest, followed by a

crowd of squirrels shouting--

"Who's-been digging-up MY-nuts?"

They caught him and dragged

him up the very same tree, where

there was the little round hole,

and they pushed him in. The hole

was much too small for Timmy

Tiptoes' figure. They squeezed

him dreadfully, it was a wonder

they did not break his ribs. "We

will leave him here till he confesses,"

said Silvertail Squirrel and

he shouted into the hole--"Who's-

been-digging-up MY-nuts?"

Timmy Tiptoes made no

reply; he had tumbled down

inside the tree, upon half a

peck of nuts belonging to himself.

He lay quite stunned and still.

Goody Tiptoes picked up the

nut bags and went home. She

made a cup of tea for Timmy; but

he didn't come and didn't come.

Goody Tiptoes passed a lonely

and unhappy night. Next morning

she ventured back to the nut

bushes to look for him; but the

other unkind squirrels drove her away.

She wandered all over the wood, calling--

"Timmy Tiptoes! Timmy Tip-

toes! Oh, where is Timmy Tiptoes?"

In the meantime Timmy Tiptoes

came to his senses. He found

himself tucked up in a little moss

bed, very much in the dark, feeling

sore; it seemed to be under

ground. Timmy coughed and

groaned, because his ribs hurted

him. There was a chirpy noise,

and a small striped Chipmunk

appeared with a night light, and

hoped he felt better?

It was most kind to Timmy Tiptoes;

it lent him its nightcap; and

the house was full of provisions.

The Chipmunk explained that it

had rained nuts through the top of

the tree--"Besides, I found a few

buried!" It laughed and chuckled

when it heard Timmy's story.

While Timmy was confined to

bed, it 'ticed him to eat quantities

--"But how shall I ever get out

through that hole unless I thin

myself? My wife will be anxious!"

"Just another nut--or two nuts;

let me crack them for you," said

the Chipmunk. Timmy Tiptoes

grew fatter and fatter!

Now Goody Tiptoes had set to

work again by herself. She did not

put any more nuts into the woodpecker's

hole, because she had always

doubted how they could be

got out again. She hid them under

a tree root; they rattled down,

down, down. Once when Goody

emptied an extra big bagful, there

was a decided squeak; and next

time Goody brought another bagful,

a little striped Chipmunk

scrambled out in a hurry.

"It is getting perfectly full-up

downstairs; the sitting room is

full, and they are rolling along the

passage; and my husband, Chippy

Hackee, has run away and left me.

What is the explanation of these

showers of nuts?"

"I am sure I beg your pardon; I

did not know that anybody lived

here," said Mrs. Goody Tiptoes;

"but where is Chippy Hackee? My

husband, Timmy Tiptoes, has run

away too." "I know where Chippy

is; a little bird told me," said Mrs.

Chippy Hackee.

She led the way to the woodpecker's

tree, and they listened at the hole.

Down below there was a noise

of nutcrackers, and a fat squirrel

voice and a thin squirrel voice

were singing together--

"My little old man and I fell out,

How shall we bring this matter about?

Bring it about as well as you can,

And get you gone, you little old man!"

"You could squeeze in, through

that little round hole," said Goody

Tiptoes. "Yes, I could," said the

Chipmunk, "but my husband,

Chippy Hackee, bites!"

Down below there was a noise

of cracking nuts and nibbling; and

then the fat squirrel voice and the

thin squirrel voice sang--

"For the diddlum day

Day diddle durn di!

Day diddle diddle dum day!"

Then Goody peeped in at the

hole, and called down--"Timmy

Tiptoes! Oh fie, Timmy Tiptoes!"

And Timmy replied, "Is that you,

Goody Tiptoes? Why, certainly!"

He came up and kissed Goody

through the hole; but he was so fat

that he could not get out.

Chippy Hackee was not too fat,

but he did not want to come; he

stayed down below and chuckled.

And so it went on for a fort-

night; till a big wind blew off

the top of the tree, and opened

up the hole and let in the rain.

Then Timmy Tiptoes came out,

and went home with an umbrella.

But Chippy Hackee continued

to camp out for another

week, although it was


At last a large bear came

walking through the wood.

Perhaps he also was looking

for nuts; he seemed to be

sniffing around.

Chippy Hackee went home in a hurry!

And when Chippy Hackee

got home, he found he had

caught a cold in his head; and

he was more uncomfortable still.

And now Timmy and

Goody Tiptoes keep their nut

store fastened up with a little


And whenever that little

bird sees the Chipmunks, he


up MY-nuts? Who's been dig-

ging-up MY-nuts?" But nobody

ever answers!




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