The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Illustration for Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit bedtime story for children
The delightful illustrated short story about a naughty rabbit's garden adventures!
The Tale of Peter Rabbit

 
 
[podcast_episode episode=”2421″ content=”player”]  
 

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.

Original Illustration of rabbits by tree burrow, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

‘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.’

Original Illustration of mother rabbit with her children, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story‘Now run along, and don’t get into mischief. I am going out.’

Original Illustration of mother rabbit dressing babies, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyThen 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.

Original Illustration of mother rabbit in red cloak, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyFlopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather blackberries:

Original Illustration of rabbits eating berries, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!

Original Illustration of rabbit squeezing under garden gate, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyFirst he ate some lettuces and some French beans; and then he ate some radishes;

Original Illustration of rabbit eating radishes, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyAnd then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.

Original Illustration of Peter rabbit, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyBut round the end of a cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor!

Original Illustration of Mr McGregor in the garden, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyMr. 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!’

Original Illustration of Mr McGregor chasing rabbit, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyPeter 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.

Original Illustration of vegetable patch, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

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.

Original Illustration of rabbit and radishes, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyPeter 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.

Original Illustration of rabbit lying with sparrows, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyMr. 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.

Original Illustration of rabbit and birds, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyAnd 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.

Original Illustration of rabbit in a watering can, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyMr. 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.

Original Illustration of Mr McGegor, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

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.

Original Illustration of rabbit knocking down pots, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

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.

Original Illustration of Peter in a garden, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyAfter 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.

Original Illustration of rabbit and door from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

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.

Original Illustration of white cat and goldfish from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

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!

Original Illustration of Rabbit and vegetable patch from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyPeter 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.

Original Illustration of Rabbit under fence from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story

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

Original Illustration of scarecrow from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyPeter 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!

Original Illustration of Mother rabbit in burrow, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyI am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening.

Original Illustration of Mother Rabbit cooking, from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime storyHis mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter!

But Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries for supper.

Original Illustration of Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail from Tale of Peter Rabbit bedtime story 

Short story by Beatrix Potter

 
Original Illustrations by Beatrix Potter 
 
Header Image courtesy of Pixabay

Let’s Chat About The Stories ~ Ideas for Talking With Kids

 
Responsibility 

1. Peter Rabbit went into Mr McGregor’s garden even though his mother told him not to. Why do you think he did this? Do you think he would do it again? 

2. What is a way that Peter might make up to his mother for having lost his second set of clothes in two weeks? 

Empathy 

3. Why do you think Mr McGregor chased rabbits like Peter Rabbit? 

4. Could rabbits and humans ever be friends? Why or why not? 

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