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  • >> JUDITH GREGG: Hello, I'm Judith Gregg with the San José Public Library, and I would

  • like to read you a story.

  • Are you sitting comfortably?

  • Then I will begin.

  • This is the story of "The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" by Beatrix Potter.

  • (reads) One morning a little rabbit sat on a bank.

  • He pricked his ears and listened to the trit-trot, trit-trot of a pony.

  • A gig was coming along the road; it was driven by Mr. McGregor, and beside him sat Mrs. McGregor

  • in her best bonnet.

  • As soon as they had passed, little Benjamin Bunny slid down into the road, and set off--with

  • a hop, skip, and a jump--to call upon his relations, who lived in the wood at the back

  • of Mr. McGregor's garden.

  • 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.

  • Old Mrs. Rabbit was a widow; she earned her living by knitting rabbit-wool mittens and

  • muffatees (I once bought a pair at a bazaar). She also sold herbs, and rosemary tea, and

  • rabbit-tobacco (which is what we call lavender).

  • Little Benjamin did not very much want to see his Aunt.

  • He came round the back of the fir-tree, and nearly tumbled upon the top of his Cousin

  • Peter.

  • Peter was sitting by himself. He looked poorly, and was dressed in a red cotton pocket-handkerchief.

  • "Peter," said little Benjamin, in a whisper, "who has got your clothes?"

  • 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.

  • Little Benjamin sat down beside his cousin and assured him that Mr. McGregor had gone

  • out in a gig, and Mrs. McGregor also; and certainly for the day, because she was wearing

  • her best bonnet.

  • 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!"

  • Peter said he thought he might feel better if he went for a walk.

  • They went away hand in hand, and got upon the flat top of the wall at the bottom of

  • the wood. From here they looked down into Mr. McGregor's garden. Peter's coat and shoes

  • were plainly to be seen upon the scarecrow, topped with an old tam-o'-shanter of Mr. McGregor's.

  • 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.

  • It had been sown with lettuces.

  • They left a great many odd little footmarks all over the bed, especially little Benjamin,

  • who was wearing clogs.

  • 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.

  • Benjamin tried on the tam-o'-shanter, but it was too big for him.

  • Then he suggested that they should fill the pocket-handkerchief with onions, as a little

  • present for his Aunt.

  • Peter did not seem to be enjoying himself; he kept hearing noises.

  • 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.)

  • The lettuces certainly were very fine.

  • Peter did not eat anything; he said he should like to go home. Presently he dropped half

  • the onions.

  • 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.

  • The mice sat on their doorsteps cracking cherry-stones; they winked at Peter Rabbit and little Benjamin

  • Bunny.

  • Presently Peter let the pocket-handkerchief go again.

  • They got amongst flower-pots, and frames, and tubs. Peter heard noises worse than ever;

  • his eyes were as big as lolly-pops!

  • He was a step or two in front of his cousin when he suddenly stopped.

  • This is what those little rabbits saw round that corner!

  • Little Benjamin took one look, and then, in half a minute less than no time, he hid himself

  • and Peter and the onions underneath a large basket....

  • The cat got up and stretched herself, and came and sniffed at the basket.

  • Perhaps she liked the smell of onions!

  • Anyway, she sat down upon the top of the basket.

  • 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.

  • The sun got round behind the wood, and it was quite late in the afternoon; but still

  • the cat sat upon the basket.

  • 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.

  • He was looking for his son.

  • 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.

  • The cat was too much surprised to scratch back.

  • 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.

  • Then he took out his nephew Peter.

  • Then he took out the handkerchief of onions, and marched out of the garden.

  • 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!

  • Also he could not understand how the cat could have managed to shut herself up _inside_ the

  • greenhouse, locking the door upon the _outside_.

  • When Peter got home his mother forgave him, because she was so glad to see that he had

  • found his shoes and coat. Cotton-tail and Peter folded up the pocket-handkerchief, and

  • old Mrs. Rabbit strung up the onions and hung them from the kitchen ceiling, with the bunches

  • of herbs and the rabbit-tobacco.

  • THE END

  • >> JUDITH GREGG: If you'd like to see more stories like this, please go to sjpl.org.

  • Thank you.

>> JUDITH GREGG: Hello, I'm Judith Gregg with the San José Public Library, and I would

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"The Tale of Benjamin Bunny" - Online Story Time

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    Anbe2623 posted on 2013/08/24
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