The Tale of


By Beatrix Potter


Timmy and Goody Tiptoes


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.

Working Alone

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.

Storing Nuts in Hollows
Storing in a High Tree

When these stumps were full,
they began to empty the bags
into a hole high up a tree,
that had belonged to a wood-pecker;
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 spring-time,
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 commotion!

A Bird Sings

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.

Tying Bags of Nuts
Chasing Timmy

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 towards 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?"

Pushed Into the Hole
Lying on the 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 Tiptoes!
Oh, where is Timmy Tiptoes?"

Looking for Timmy
Tucked in Bed

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 night-cap;
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!

The Chipmunk
Goody Gathers

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 down-stairs;
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.

Meeting Mrs. Hackee
Listening at the Hole

She led the way
to the woodpecker's tree,
and they listened at the hole.

Down below there was
a noise of nut crackers,
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 dum di!
Day diddle diddle dum day!"

Discussing What to Do
Timmy Sees Goody

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 fortnight;
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.

Timmy Goes Home

But Chippy Hackee continued
to camp out for another week,
although it was uncomfortable.

At At last a large bear
came walking through the wood.
Perhaps he also was looking for nuts;
he seemed to be sniffing around.

A Bear
A Bear Looks In

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.

Chippy's Cold
Timmy Locks Store

And now Timmy and Goody
Tiptoes keep their nut-store
fastened up with a little padlock.

And whenever that little
bird sees the Chipmunks, he sings—
"Who's-been-digging-up my-nuts?
Who's been digging-up my-nuts?"
But nobody ever answers!

Bird Sings to Chipmunks