The Tale Of Jemima Puddle-Duck
By Beatrix Potter
What a funny sight it is to see a brood of ducklings with a hen! Listen to the story of Jemima Puddle-duck, who was annoyed because the farmer’s wife would not let her hatch her own eggs.
Her sister-in-law, Mrs. Rebeccah Puddle-duck, was perfectly willing to leave the hatching to someone else–“I have not the patience to sit on a nest for twenty-eight days; and no more have you, Jemima. You would let them go cold; you know you would!”
“I wish to hatch my own eggs; I will hatch them all by myself,” quacked Jemima Puddle-duck. She tried to hide her eggs; but they were always found and carried off.
Jemima Puddle-duck became quite desperate. She determined to make a nest right away from the farm. She set off on a fine spring afternoon along the cart-road that leads over the hill. She was wearing a shawl and a poke bonnet.
When she reached the top of the hill, she saw a wood in the distance. She thought that it looked a safe quiet spot.
Jemima Puddle-duck was not much in the habit of flying. She ran downhill a few yards flapping her shawl, and then she jumped off into the air. She flew beautifully when she had got a good start.
She skimmed along over the tree-tops until she saw an open place in the middle of the wood, where the trees and brushwood had been cleared.
Jemima alighted rather heavily, and began to waddle about in search of a convenient dry nesting-place. She rather fancied a tree-stump amongst some tall fox-gloves.
But–seated upon the stump, she was startled to find an elegantly dressed gentleman reading a newspaper. He had black prick ears and sandy coloured whiskers.
“Quack?” said Jemima Puddle-duck, with her head and her bonnet on one side–“Quack?”
The gentleman raised his eyes above his newspaper and looked curiously at Jemima–“Madam, have you lost your way?” said he. He had a long bushy tail which he was sitting upon, as the stump was somewhat damp.
Jemima thought him mighty civil and handsome. She explained that she had not lost her way, but that she was trying to find a convenient dry nesting-place.
“Ah! is that so? indeed!” said the gentleman with sandy whiskers, looking curiously at Jemima. He folded up the newspaper, and put it in his coat-tail pocket.
Jemima complained of the superfluous hen.
“Indeed! how interesting! I wish I could meet with that fowl. I would teach it to mind its own business!”
“But as to a nest–there is no difficulty: I have a sackful of feathers in my wood-shed. No, my dear madam, you will be in nobody’s way. You may sit there as long as you like,” said the bushy long-tailed gentleman.
He led the way to a very retired, dismal-looking house amongst the fox-gloves.
It was built of faggots and turf, and there were two broken pails, one on top of another, by way of a chimney.
“This is my summer residence; you would not find my earth–my winter house–so convenient,” said the hospitable gentleman.
There was a tumble-down shed at the back of the house, made of old soap-boxes. The gentleman opened the door, and showed Jemima in.
The shed was almost quite full of feathers–it was almost suffocating; but it was comfortable and very soft.
Jemima Puddle-duck was rather surprised to find such a vast quantity of feathers. But it was very comfortable; and she made a nest without any trouble at all.