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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 Gloucester.

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, tip!

"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 mouse?"

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!

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