THE TALE OF
AUTHOR OF “THE TAIL OF PETER RABBIT,” &C.
FREDERICK WARNE & CO., INC.
FREDERICK WARNE & Co.
Copyright renewed, 1932
He pricked his ears and listened to the trit-trot, trit-trot of a pony.
That wood was full of rabbit holes; and in the neatest, sandiest hole of all lived Benjamin’s aunt and his cousins—Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter.
Little Benjamin did not very much want to see his Aunt.
Peter replied, “The scarecrow in Mr. McGregor’s garden,” and described how he had been chased about the garden, and had dropped his shoes and coat.
Peter said he hoped that it would rain.
At this point old Mrs. Rabbit’s voice was heard inside the rabbit hole, calling: “Cotton-tail! Cotton-tail! fetch some more camomile!”
Little Benjamin said: “It spoils people’s clothes to squeeze under a gate; the proper way to get in is to climb down a pear-tree.”
Peter fell down head first; but it was of no consequence, as the bed below was newly raked and quite soft.
Little Benjamin said that the first thing to be done was to get back Peter’s clothes, in order that they might be able to use the pocket-handkerchief.
They took them off the scarecrow. There had been rain during the night; there was water in the shoes, and the coat was somewhat shrunk.
Then he suggested that they should fill the pocket-handkerchief with onions, as a little present for his Aunt.
Benjamin, on the contrary, was perfectly at home, and ate a lettuce leaf. He said that he was in the habit of coming to the garden with his father to get lettuces for their Sunday dinner.
(The name of little Benjamin’s papa was old Mr. Benjamin Bunny.)
Little Benjamin said that it was not possible to get back up the pear-tree with a load of vegetables. He led the way boldly towards the other end of the garden. They went along a little walk on planks, under a sunny, red brick wall.
They got amongst flower-pots, and frames, and tubs. Peter heard noises worse than ever; his eyes were as big as lolly-pops!
This is what those little rabbits saw round that corner!
The cat got up and stretched herself, and came and sniffed at the basket.
Perhaps she liked the smell of onions!
She sat there for five hours.
I cannot draw you a picture of Peter and Benjamin underneath the basket, because it was quite dark, and because the smell of onions was fearful; it made Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin cry.
At length there was a pitter-patter, pitter-patter, and some bits of mortar fell from the wall above.
The cat looked up and saw old Mr. Benjamin Bunny prancing along the top of the wall of the upper terrace.
He was smoking a pipe of rabbit-tobacco, and had a little switch in his hand.
Old Mr. Bunny had no opinion whatever of cats.
He took a tremendous jump off the top of the wall on to the top of the cat, and cuffed it off the basket, and kicked it into the greenhouse, scratching off a handful of fur.
When old Mr. Bunny had driven the cat into the greenhouse, he locked the door.
Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and whipped him with the little switch.
When Mr. McGregor returned about half an hour later he observed several things which perplexed him.
It looked as though some person had been walking all over the garden in a pair of clogs—only the footmarks were too ridiculously little!