The Tale of Peter Rabbit

 

Beatrix Potter

 

Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names

were--

Flopsy,

Mopsy,

Cotton-tail,

and Peter. 🔊

 

They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a

very big fir-tree. 🔊

'Now my dears,' said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, 'you may go into

the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden:

your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs.

McGregor.' 🔊

'Now run along, and don't get into mischief. I am going out.' 🔊

Then old Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and went through

the wood to the baker's. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five

currant buns. 🔊

Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail, who were good little bunnies, went

down the lane to gather blackberries: 🔊

But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor's

garden, and squeezed under the gate! 🔊

First he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate

some radishes;

And then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley. 🔊

But round the end of a cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr.

McGregor! 🔊

Mr. McGregor was on his hands and knees planting out young cabbages,

but he jumped up and ran after Peter, waving a rake and calling out,

'Stop thief!' 🔊

Peter was most dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden,

for he had forgotten the way back to the gate. 🔊

 

He lost one of his shoes among the cabbages, and the other shoe

amongst the potatoes. 🔊

After losing them, he ran on four legs and went faster, so that I

think he might have got away altogether if he had not unfortunately

run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his

jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new. 🔊

Peter gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were

overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great

excitement, and implored him to exert himself. 🔊

Mr. McGregor came up with a sieve, which he intended to pop upon the

top of Peter; but Peter wriggled out just in time, leaving his jacket

behind him. 🔊

And rushed into the tool-shed, and jumped into a can. It would have

been a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had not had so much water in it. 🔊

Mr. McGregor was quite sure that Peter was somewhere in the

tool-shed, perhaps hidden underneath a flower-pot. He began to turn

them over carefully, looking under each. 🔊

Presently Peter sneezed--'Kertyschoo!' Mr. McGregor was after him in

no time. 🔊

 

And tried to put his foot upon Peter, who jumped out of a window,

upsetting three plants. The window was too small for Mr. McGregor, and

he was tired of running after Peter. He went back to his work. 🔊

Peter sat down to rest; he was out of breath and trembling with

fright, and he had not the least idea which way to go. Also he was

very damp with sitting in that can. 🔊

After a time he began to wander about, going lippity--lippity--not

very fast, and looking all round. 🔊

 

He found a door in a wall; but it was locked, and there was no room

for a fat little rabbit to squeeze underneath. 🔊

 

An old mouse was running in and out over the stone doorstep, carrying

peas and beans to her family in the wood. 🔊 Peter asked her the way to

the gate, but she had such a large pea in her mouth that she could not

answer. She only shook her head at him. Peter began to cry. 🔊

Then he tried to find his way straight across the garden, but he

became more and more puzzled. Presently, he came to a pond where Mr.

McGregor filled his water-cans. 🔊 A white cat was staring at some

gold-fish, she sat very, very still, but now and then the tip of her

tail twitched as if it were alive. 🔊 Peter thought it best to go away

without speaking to her; he had heard about cats from his cousin,

little Benjamin Bunny. 🔊

He went back towards the tool-shed, but suddenly, quite close to him,

he heard the noise of a hoe--scr-r-ritch, scratch, scratch, scritch. 🔊

Peter scuttered underneath the bushes. But presently, as nothing

happened, he came out, and climbed upon a wheelbarrow and peeped over. 🔊

The first thing he saw was Mr. McGregor hoeing onions. His back was

turned towards Peter, and beyond him was the gate! 🔊

Peter got down very quietly off the wheelbarrow; and started running

as fast as he could go, along a straight walk behind some

black-currant bushes. 🔊

Mr. McGregor caught sight of him at the corner, but Peter did not

care. He slipped underneath the gate, and was safe at last in the wood

outside the garden. 🔊

 

Mr. McGregor hung up the little jacket and the shoes for a scare-crow

to frighten the blackbirds. 🔊

Peter never stopped running or looked behind him till he got home to

the big fir-tree. 🔊

 

He was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice soft sand on the

floor of the rabbit-hole and shut his eyes. 🔊 His mother was busy

cooking; she wondered what he had done with his clothes. It was the

second little jacket and pair of shoes that Peter had lost in a

fortnight! 🔊

I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening. 🔊

 

His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a

dose of it to Peter!

 

'One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.' 🔊

But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and

blackberries for supper. 🔊