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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

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[For Cicily and Charlie, a Tale of the Christmas Pig]

Once upon a time there was an

old pig called Aunt Pettitoes. She

had eight of a family: four little girl

pigs, called Cross-patch, Suck-suck,

Yock-yock and Spot; and four little

boy pigs, called Alexander, Pigling

Bland, Chin-Chin and Stumpy.

Stumpy had had an accident to his tail.

The eight little pigs had very fine

appetites--"Yus, yus, yus! they eat

and indeed they DO eat!" said Aunt

Pettitoes, looking at her family

with pride. Suddenly there were

fearful squeals; Alexander had

squeezed inside the hoops of the

pig trough and stuck.

Aunt Pettitoes and I dragged him

out by the hind legs.

Chin-chin was already in disgrace;

it was washing day, and he

had eaten a piece of soap. And

presently in a basket of clean

clothes, we found another dirty

little pig--"Tchut, tut, tut! whichever

is this?" grunted Aunt Pettitoes.

Now all the pig family are pink, or

pink with black spots, but this pig

child was smutty black all over;

when it had been popped into a

tub, it proved to be Yock-yock.

I went into the garden; there I

found Cross-patch and Suck-suck

rooting up carrots. I whipped them

myself and led them out by the

ears. Cross-patch tried to bite me.

"Aunt Pettitoes, Aunt Pettitoes!

you are a worthy person, but your

family is not well brought up.

Every one of them has been in mischief

except Spot and Pigling Bland."

"Yus, yus!" sighed Aunt Pettitoes.

"And they drink bucketfuls of milk;

I shall have to get another cow!

Good little Spot shall stay at home

to do the housework; but the others

must go. Four little boy pigs and

four little girl pigs are too many

altogether." "Yus, yus, yus," said

Aunt Pettitoes, "there will be more

to eat without them."

So Chin-chin and Suck-suck went

away in a wheel-barrow, and

Stumpy, Yock-yock and Cross-

patch rode away in a cart.

And the other two little boy pigs,

Pigling Bland and Alexander went

to market. We brushed their coats,

we curled their tails and washed

their little faces, and wished them

good bye in the yard.

Aunt Pettitoes wiped her eyes

with a large pocket handkerchief,

then she wiped Pigling Bland's nose

and shed tears; then she wiped

Alexander's nose and shed tears;

then she passed the handkerchief to

Spot. Aunt Pettitoes sighed and

grunted, and addressed those little

pigs as follows--

"Now Pigling Bland, son Pigling

Bland, you must go to market. Take

your brother Alexander by the

hand. Mind your Sunday clothes,

and remember to blow your nose"

--(Aunt Pettitoes passed round the

handkerchief again)--"beware of

traps, hen roosts, bacon and eggs;

always walk upon your hind legs."

Pigling Bland who was a sedate

little pig, looked solemnly at his

mother, a tear trickled down his cheek.

Aunt Pettitoes turned to the

other--"Now son Alexander take

the hand"--"Wee, wee, wee!"

giggled Alexander--"take the hand of

your brother Pigling Bland, you

must go to market. Mind--" "Wee,

wee, wee!" interrupted Alexander

again. "You put me out," said Aunt

Pettitoes--"Observe signposts and

milestones; do not gobble herring

bones--" "And remember," said I

impressively, "if you once cross the

county boundary you cannot come

back. Alexander, you are not

attending. Here are two licenses

permitting two pigs to go to market in

Lancashire. Attend Alexander. I

have had no end of trouble in getting

these papers from the policeman."

Pigling Bland listened gravely;

Alexander was hopelessly volatile.

I pinned the papers, for safety,

inside their waistcoat pockets;

Aunt Pettitoes gave to each a little

bundle, and eight conversation

peppermints with appropriate

moral sentiments in screws of

paper. Then they started.

Pigling Bland and Alexander

trotted along steadily for a mile; at

least Pigling Bland did. Alexander

made the road half as long again

by skipping from side to side. He

danced about and pinched his

brother, singing--

"This pig went to market,

this pig stayed at home,

"This pig had a bit of meat--

let's see what they have given US for

dinner, Pigling?"

Pigling Bland and Alexander sat

down and untied their bundles.

Alexander gobbled up his dinner in

no time; he had already eaten all

his own peppermints--"Give me

one of yours, please, Pigling?" "But

I wish to preserve them for

emergencies," said Pigling Bland

doubtfully. Alexander went into squeals

of laughter. Then he pricked Pigling

with the pin that had fastened

his pig paper; and when Pigling

slapped him he dropped the pin,

and tried to take Pigling's pin, and

the papers got mixed up. Pigling

Bland reproved Alexander.

But presently they made it up

again, and trotted away together,


"Tom, Tom the piper's son,

stole a pig and away he ran!

"But all the tune that he could play,

was `Over the hills and far away!'"

"What's that, young Sirs? Stole a

pig? Where are your licenses?" said

the policeman. They had nearly run

against him round a corner. Pigling

Bland pulled out his paper; Alexander,

after fumbling, handed over

something scrumply--

"To 2 1/2 oz. conversation sweeties

at three farthings"--"What's this?

this ain't a license?" Alexander's

nose lengthened visibly, he had lost

it. "I had one, indeed I had, Mr.


"It's not likely they let you start

without. I am passing the farm.

You may walk with me." "Can I

come back too?" inquired Pigling

Bland. "I see no reason, young Sir;

your paper is all right." Pigling

Bland did not like going on alone,

and it was beginning to rain. But it

is unwise to argue with the police;

he gave his brother a peppermint,

and watched him out of sight.

To conclude the adventures of

Alexander--the policeman sauntered

up to the house about tea

time, followed by a damp subdued

little pig. I disposed of Alexander in

the neighborhood; he did fairly

well when he had settled down.

Pigling Bland went on alone

dejectedly; he came to cross roads and

a sign-post--"To Market-town 5

miles," "Over the Hills, 4 miles,"

"To Pettitoes Farm, 3 miles."

Pigling Bland was shocked, there

was little hope of sleeping in Market

Town, and tomorrow was the

hiring fair; it was deplorable to

think how much time had been

wasted by the frivolity of Alexander.

He glanced wistfully along the

road towards the hills, and then set

off walking obediently the other

way, buttoning up his coat against

the rain. He had never wanted to

go; and the idea of standing all by

himself in a crowded market, to be

stared at, pushed, and hired by

some big strange farmer was very


"I wish I could have a little garden

and grow potatoes," said Pigling Bland.

He put his cold hand in his

pocket and felt his paper, he put his

other hand in his other pocket and

felt another paper--Alexander's!

Pigling squealed; then ran back

frantically, hoping to overtake

Alexander and the policeman.

He took a wrong turn--several

wrong turns, and was quite lost.

It grew dark, the wind whistled,

the trees creaked and groaned.

Pigling Bland became frightened

and cried "Wee, wee, wee! I can't

find my way home!"

After an hour's wandering he got

out of the wood; the moon shone

through the clouds, and Pigling Bland

saw a country that was new to him.

The road crossed a moor; below

was a wide valley with a river twinkling

in the moonlight, and beyond

--in misty distance--lay the hills.

He saw a small wooden hut,

made his way to it, and crept inside

--"I am afraid it IS a hen house,

but what can I do?" said Pigling Bland,

wet and cold and quite tired out.

"Bacon and eggs, bacon and

eggs!" clucked a hen on a perch.

"Trap, trap, trap! cackle, cackle,

cackle!" scolded the disturbed

cockerel. "To market, to market!

jiggettyjig!" clucked a broody white

hen roosting next to him. Pigling

Bland, much alarmed, determined

to leave at daybreak. In the meantime,

he and the hens fell asleep.

In less than an hour they were all

awakened. The owner, Mr. Peter

Thomas Piperson, came with a lantern

and a hamper to catch six fowls

to take to market in the morning.

He grabbed the white hen roosting

next to the cock; then his eye

fell upon Pigling Bland, squeezed

up in a corner. He made a singular

remark--"Hallo, here's another!"

--seized Pigling by the scruff of the

neck, and dropped him into the

hamper. Then he dropped in five

more dirty, kicking, cackling hens

upon the top of Pigling Bland.

The hamper containing six fowls

and a young pig was no light

weight; it was taken down hill,

unsteadily, with jerks. Pigling,

although nearly scratched to pieces,

contrived to hide the papers and

peppermints inside his clothes.

At last the hamper was bumped

down upon a kitchen floor, the lid

was opened, and Pigling was lifted

out. He looked up, blinking, and

saw an offensively ugly elderly

man, grinning from ear to ear.

"This one's come of himself,

whatever," said Mr. Piperson, turning

Pigling's pockets inside out. He

pushed the hamper into a corner,

threw a sack over it to keep the

hens quiet, put a pot on the fire,

and unlaced his boots.

Pigling Bland drew forward a

coppy stool, and sat on the edge of

it, shyly warming his hands. Mr.

Piperson pulled off a boot and

threw it against the wainscot at the

further end of the kitchen. There

was a smothered noise--"Shut up!"

said Mr. Piperson. Pigling Bland

warmed his hands, and eyed him.

Mr. Piperson pulled off the other

boot and flung it after the first,

there was again a curious noise--

"Be quiet, will ye?" said Mr. Piperson.

Pigling Bland sat on the very

edge of the coppy stool.

Mr. Piperson fetched meal from

a chest and made porridge, it

seemed to Pigling that something

at the further end of the kitchen

was taking a suppressed interest in

the cooking; but he was too hungry

to be troubled by noises.

Mr. Piperson poured out three

platefuls: for himself, for Pigling,

and a third-after glaring at Pigling--

he put away with much scuffling,

and locked up. Pigling Bland

ate his supper discreetly.

After supper Mr. Piperson consulted

an almanac, and felt Pigling's

ribs; it was too late in the

season for curing bacon, and he

grudged his meal. Besides, the hens

had seen this pig.

He looked at the small remains

of a flitch [side of bacon], and then

looked undecidedly at Pigling. "You

may sleep on the rug," said Mr.

Peter Thomas Piperson.

Pigling Bland slept like a top. In

the morning Mr. Piperson made

more porridge; the weather was

warmer. He looked how much

meal was left in the chest, and

seemed dissatisfied--"You'll likely

be moving on again?" said he to

Pigling Bland.

Before Pigling could reply, a

neighbor, who was giving Mr. Piperson

and the hens a lift, whistled

from the gate. Mr. Piperson hurried

out with the hamper, enjoining

Pigling to shut the door behind him

and not meddle with nought; or

"I'll come back and skin ye!" said

Mr. Piperson.

It crossed Pigling's mind that if

HE had asked for a lift, too, he

might still have been in time for market.

But he distrusted Peter Thomas.

After finishing breakfast at his

leisure, Pigling had a look round

the cottage; everything was locked

up. He found some potato peelings

in a bucket in the back kitchen.

Pigling ate the peel, and washed up

the porridge plates in the bucket.

He sang while he worked--

"Tom with his pipe made such a noise,

He called up all the girls and boys--

"And they all ran to hear him play,

"Over the hills and far away!--"

Suddenly a little smothered voice

chimed in--

"Over the hills and a great way off,

The wind shall blow my top knot off."

Pigling Bland put down a plate

which he was wiping, and listened.

After a long pause, Pigling went

on tiptoe and peeped round the

door into the front kitchen; there

was nobody there.

After another pause, Pigling

approached the door of the locked

cupboard, and snuffed at the keyhole.

It was quite quiet.

After another long pause, Pigling

pushed a peppermint under the

door. It was sucked in immediately.

In the course of the day Pigling

pushed in all his remaining six


When Mr. Piperson returned, he

found Pigling sitting before the fire;

he had brushed up the hearth and

put on the pot to boil; the meal was

not get-at-able.

Mr. Piperson was very affable; he

slapped Pigling on the back, made

lots of porridge and forgot to lock

the meal chest. He did lock the cup-

board door; but without properly

shutting it. He went to bed early,

and told Pigling upon no account

to disturb him next day before

twelve o'clock.

Pigling Bland sat by the fire,

eating his supper.

All at once at his elbow, a little

voice spoke--"My name is Pig-wig.

Make me more porridge, please!"

Pigling Bland jumped, and looked


A perfectly lovely little black

Berkshire pig stood smiling beside

him. She had twinkly little screwed

up eyes, a double chin, and a short

turned up nose.

She pointed at Pigling's plate; he

hastily gave it to her, and fled to

the meal chest--"How did you

come here?" asked Pigling Bland.

"Stolen," replied Pig-wig, with

her mouth full. Pigling helped himself

to meal without scruple. "What

for?" "Bacon, hams," replied Pig-

wig cheerfully. "Why on earth don't

you run away?" exclaimed the

horrified Pigling.

"I shall after supper," said Pigwig decidedly.

Pigling Bland made more porridge

and watched her shyly.

She finished a second plate, got

up, and looked about her, as

though she were going to start.

"You can't go in the dark," said Pigling Bland.

Pig-wig looked anxious.

"Do you know your way by daylight?"

"I know we can see this little white house

from the hills across the river.

Which way are _you_ going, Mr. Pig?"

"To market--I have two pig

papers. I might take you to the bridge;

if you have no objection," said

Pigling much confused and sitting

on the edge of his coppy stool. Pig-

wig's gratitude was such and she

asked so many questions that it

became embarrassing to Pigling Bland.

He was obliged to shut his eyes

and pretend to sleep. She became

quiet, and there was a smell of


"I thought you had eaten them?"

said Pigling, waking suddenly.

"Only the corners," replied Pig-

wig, studying the sentiments with

much interest by the firelight.

"I wish you wouldn't; he might

smell them through the ceiling,"

said the alarmed Pigling.

Pig-wig put back the sticky

peppermints into her pocket; "Sing

something," she demanded.

"I am sorry. . . I have tooth-

ache," said Pigling much dismayed.

"Then I will sing," replied Pig-

wig, "You will not mind if I say

iddy tidditty? I have forgotten some

of the words."

Pigling Bland made no objection;

he sat with his eyes half shut, and

watched her.

She wagged her head and rocked

about, clapping time and singing in

a sweet little grunty voice--

"A funny old mother pig lived in a stye,

and three little piggies had she;

"(Ti idditty idditty) umph, umph,

umph! and the little pigs said wee, wee!"

She sang successfully through

three or four verses, only at every

verse her head nodded a little

lower, and her little twinkly eyes

closed up--

"Those three little piggies grew peaky

and lean, and lean they might very well be;

"For somehow they couldn't say umph,

umph, umph! and they wouldn't

say wee, wee, wee!

"For somehow they couldn't say--

Pig-wig's head bobbed lower and

lower, until she rolled over, a little

round ball, fast asleep on the


Pigling Bland, on tiptoe, covered

her up with an antimacassar.

He was afraid to go to sleep himself;

for the rest of the night he sat

listening to the chirping of the

crickets and to the snores of Mr.

Piperson overhead.

Early in the morning, between

dark and daylight, Pigling tied up

his little bundle and woke up Pig-

wig. She was excited and half-

frightened. "But it's dark! How can

we find our way?"

"The cock has crowed; we must

start before the hens come out; they

might shout to Mr. Piperson."

Pig-wig sat down again, and

commenced to cry.

"Come away Pig-wig; we can see

when we get used to it. Come! I can

hear them clucking!"

Pigling had never said shuh! to a

hen in his life, being peaceable;

also he remembered the hamper.

He opened the house door quietly

and shut it after them. There was

no garden; the neighborhood of

Mr. Piperson's was all scratched up

by fowls. They slipped away hand

in hand across an untidy field to the road.

"Tom, Tom the piper's son, stole a pig

and away he ran!

"But all the tune that he could play, was

`Over the hills and far away!'"

"Come Pig-wig, we must get to

the bridge before folks are stirring."

"Why do you want to go to

market, Pigling?" inquired Pig-wig.

The sun rose while they were

crossing the moor, a dazzle of light

over the tops of the hills. The sunshine

crept down the slopes into

the peaceful green valleys, where

little white cottages nestled in

gardens and orchards.

"That's Westmorland," said Pig-

wig. She dropped Pigling's hand

and commenced to dance, singing--

presently. "I don't want; I want to

grow potatoes." "Have a peppermint?"

said Pig-wig. Pigling Bland

refused quite crossly. "Does your

poor toothy hurt?" inquired Pig-

wig. Pigling Bland grunted.

Pig-wig ate the peppermint herself,

and followed the opposite side

of the road. "Pig-wig! keep under

the wall, there's a man ploughing."

Pig-wig crossed over, they hurried

down hill towards the county boundary.

Suddenly Pigling stopped; he heard wheels.

Slowly jogging up the road below

them came a tradesman's cart. The

reins flapped on the horse's back,

the grocer was reading a newspaper.

"Take that peppermint out of

your mouth, Pig-wig, we may have

to run. Don't say one word. Leave it

to me. And in sight of the bridge!"

said poor Pigling, nearly crying.

He began to walk frightfully lame,

holding Pig-wig's arm.

The grocer, intent upon his

newspaper, might have passed

them, if his horse had not shied

and snorted. He pulled the cart

crossways, and held down his

whip. "Hallo? Where are you going

to?"--Pigling Bland stared at him vacantly.

"Are you deaf? Are you going to

market?" Pigling nodded slowly.

"I thought as much. It was

yesterday. Show me your license?"

Pigling stared at the off hind

shoe of the grocer's horse which

had picked up a stone.

The grocer flicked his whip--

"Papers? Pig license?" Pigling fumbled

in all his pockets, and handed

up the papers. The grocer read

them, but still seemed dissatisfied.

"This here pig is a young lady; is

her name Alexander?" Pig-wig

opened her mouth and shut it

again; Pigling coughed asthmatically.

The grocer ran his finger down

the advertisement column of his

newspaper--"Lost, stolen or

strayed, 10S. reward;" he looked

suspiciously at Pig-wig. Then he

stood up in the trap, and whistled

for the ploughman.

"You wait here while I drive on

and speak to him," said the grocer,

gathering up the reins. He knew

that pigs are slippery; but surely,

such a VERY lame pig could never


"Not yet, Pig-wig, he will look

back." The grocer did so; he saw

the two pigs stock-still in the middle

of the road. Then he looked over

at his horse's heels; it was lame

also; the stone took some time to

knock out, after he got to the


"Now, Pig-wig, NOW!" said

Pigling Bland.

Never did any pigs run as these

pigs ran! They raced and squealed

and pelted down the long white hill

towards the bridge. Little fat Pig-

wig's petticoats fluttered, and her

feet went pitter, patter, pitter, as

she bounded and jumped.

They ran, and they ran, and they

ran down the hill, and across a

short cut on level green turf at the

bottom, between pebble beds and rushes.

They came to the river, they

came to the bridge--they crossed it

hand in hand--then over the hills

and far away she danced with Pigling Bland!




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