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The Tailor of Gloucester
By Frederick Warne
Adapted by Beatrix Potter
Once upon a time
there was a tailor who lived in Gloucester. On a bitter cold day
near Christmas, he began to make a wedding coat for the Mayor of
Unnoticed, little mice collected the scraps from
his work bench. The tailor's cat, Simpkin, was also fond of mice!
When the tailor returned home he sent Simpkin out.
"With our last penny," he said, "buy me one
penn'orth of cherry- coloured thread, for I have no more twist,
and the coat must be finished in time." After Simpkin had gone,
a strange noise startled the tailor. Tip tap, tip tap, tip tap,
"This is very peculiar," said the Tailor of
Gloucester, as he lifted up the teacups on the dresser.
And what do you think he found? Each mouse made a
deep bow or curtsey befire hopping away.
"Simpkin," said the tailor when his cat returned,
"where is my twist? And where," thought Simpkin angrily, "is my
He hid the little parcel of twist privately in
the teapot, and sulked. The tailor went sadly to bed, for he
felt tired and feverish. How was he to finish the coat?
The tailor lay ill for three days and nights;
until it was Christmas Eve, and very late at night. Simpkin
wandered out into the night. The city was fast asleep under the
snow, but deep in a wine cellar, the rats celebrated Christmas.
The Mayor of Gloucester was to be married the next day.
"No more twist! No more twist!" muttered the poor
tailor as he tossed and turned.
From his shop came a glow of light and when
Simpkin crept up to peep in at the window, what do you think the
mice were doing? Simpkin went home and found the poor old tailor
sleeping peacefully, his fever gone.
Simpkin felt very ashamed after seeing those good
little mice. He took the cherry- coloured twisted silk from the
teapot and left it on the tailor's bed, for him to find in the
morning. The tailor made his way through the town of Gloucester
to his little shop. "Alack," he said, "I have my twist; but no
more time, for this is Christmas morning."
He unlocked the door and stared. Upon the table -
oh joy! There, where he had left plain cutting of silk - there
lay the most beautiful embroidered cherry- coloured silk coat!
One button- hole was unfinished, and a scrap of
paper was pinned to the cherry- coloured coat. Can you see what
was written on the scrap of paper, in little teeny weeny writing?
From then on began the luck of the Tailor of Gloucester; he grew
rich and famous. But his button- holes were the greatest triumph
of all. The stitches were so neat, and so small, they looked as
if they had been made by little mice!