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The Tale of Timmy 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.

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.

When these stumps were full,
they began to empty the bags into
a hole high up a tree, that had
belonged to a woodpecker; 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
springtime, 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!

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.

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 to-
wards 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?"

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 Tip-
toes! Oh, where is Timmy Tiptoes?"

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 nightcap; 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!

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
downstairs; 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.

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

Down below there was a noise
of nutcrackers, 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 durn di!
     Day diddle diddle dum day!"

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 fort-
night; 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.

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

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

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.

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 dig-
ging-up my-nuts?" But nobody
ever answers!

Beatrix Potter