The Tale of Pigling Bland

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The Tale of Pigling Bland  (1913) 
by Beatrix Potter
All images are from a first edition, first print of the book

THE TALE OF
PIGLING BLAND

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FOR
CECILY AND CHARLIE,

A TALE OF
THE CHRISTMAS PIG.

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COPYRIGHT 1913
BY
FREDERICK Warner & Co.


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ONCE upon a time there was an
old pig called Aunt Pettitoes.
She had eight of a family: four
little girl pigs, called Cross-patch,
Suck-suck, Yock-yock and Spot;



Pigling Bland pg 8.jpg

and four little boy pigs, called
Alexander, Pigling Bland, Chin-
Chin and Stumpy. Stumpy had
had an accident to his tail.

The eight little pigs had very fine
appetites. "Yus, yus, yus! they
eat and indeed they do eat!"
said Aunt Pettitoes, looking at her
family with pride.


Pigling Bland pg 9.jpg


Suddenly there
were fearful squeals; Alexander
had squeezed inside the hoops of
the pig trough and stuck.

Aunt Pettitoes and I dragged
him out by the hind legs.



Chin-chin was already in
disgrace; it was washing day, and he
had eaten a piece of soap. And
presently in a basket of clean clothes,
we found another dirty little pig.

"Tchut, tut, tut! whichever is
this?" grunted Aunt Pettitoes.



Now all the pig family are pink, or
pink with black spots, but this pig
child was smutty black all over;
when it had been popped into a
tub, it proved to be Yock-yock.


Pigling Bland pg 12.jpg


I went into the garden; there I
found Cross-patch and Suck-suck
rooting up carrots. I whipped them
myself and led them out by the ears.
Cross-patch tried to bite me.



Pigling Bland pg 14.jpg

"Aunt Pettitoes, Aunt Pettitoes!
you are a worthy person, but your
family is not well brought up.
Every one of them has been in
mischief except Spot and Pigling
Bland."

"Yus, yus!" sighed Aunt
Pettitoes. "And they drink
bucketfuls of milk; I shall have to
get another cow! Good little Spot
shall stay at home to do the
housework; but the others must go.
Four little boy pigs and four little
girl pigs are too many altogether."
"Yus, yus, yus," said Aunt Pettitoes,
"there will be more to eat without them."


Pigling Bland pg 16.jpg


So Chin-chin and Suck-suck
went away in a wheel-barrow, and
Stumpy, Yock-yock and Cross-
patch rode away in a cart.

And the other two little boy pigs,
Pigling Bland and Alexander, went
to market. We brushed their coats,
we curled their tails and washed
their little faces, and wished them
good bye in the yard.

Aunt Pettitoes wiped her eyes
with a large pocket handkerchief,
then she wiped Pigling Bland's nose
and shed tears; then she wiped
Alexander's nose and shed tears;
then she passed the handkerchief
to Spot. Aunt Pettitoes sighed
and grunted, and addressed those
little pigs as follows--

"Now Pigling Bland, son Pigling
Bland, you must go to market.
Take your brother Alexander by the
hand. Mind your Sunday clothes,
and remember to blow your nose"--


Pigling Bland pg 19.jpg

(Aunt Pettitoes passed round the
handkerchief again)--"beware of
traps, hen roosts, bacon and eggs;
always walk upon your hind legs."
Pigling Bland, who was a sedate
little pig, looked solemnly at his
mother, a tear trickled down his
cheek.

Aunt Pettitoes turned to the
other--"Now son Alexander take
the hand"--"Wee, wee, wee!"
giggled Alexander--"take the
hand of your brother Pigling
Bland, you must go to market.
Mind--" "Wee, wee, wee!" interrupted
Alexander again. "You
put me out," said Aunt Pettitoes--

Pigling Bland pg 21.jpg

"Observe sign-posts and milestones;
do not gobble herring bones--"
"And remember," said I impressively,
"if you once cross the county
boundary you cannot come back.

Alexander, you are not attending.
Here are two licences permitting
two pigs to go to market in
Lancashire. Attend, Alexander. I have
had no end of trouble in getting
these papers from the policeman."

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Pigling Bland listened gravely;
Alexander was hopelessly volatile.

I pinned the papers, for safety,
inside their waistcoat pockets;

Aunt Pettitoes gave to each a
little bundle, and eight conversation
peppermints with appropriate
moral sentiments in screws of
paper. Then they started.


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Pigling Bland and Alexander
trotted along steadily for a mile;
at least Pigling Bland did. Alexander
made the road half as long
again by skipping from side to side.
He danced about and pinched his
brother, singing--

"This pig went to market, this pig
stayed at home,
"This pig had a bit of meat--

let's see what they have given us
for dinner, Pigling?"

Pigling Bland and Alexander
sat down and untied their bundles.
Alexander gobbled up his dinner
in no time; he had already eaten
all his own peppermints. "Give
me one of yours, please, Pigling."


"But I wish to preserve them for
emergencies," said Pigling Bland
doubtfully. Alexander went into
squeals of laughter. Then he
pricked Pigling with the pin that
had fastened his pig paper; and
when Pigling slapped him he
dropped the pin, and tried to take
Pigling's pin, and the papers got
mixed up. Pigling Bland reproved
Alexander.

But presently they made it up
again, and trotted away together,
singing--

"Tom, Tom, the piper's son, stole a pig
    and away he ran!
"But all the tune that he could play,
    was 'Over the hills and far away!'"

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"What's that, young sirs? Stole
a pig? Where are your licences?"
said the policeman. They had
nearly run against him round a
corner. Pigling Bland pulled out his
paper; Alexander, after fumbling,
handed over something scrumply--

"To 2 1/2 oz. conversation sweeties
at three farthings"--"What's this?
this ain't a licence." Alexander's
nose lengthened visibly, he had lost
it. "I had one, indeed I had, Mr.
Policeman!"

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"It's not likely they let you start
without. I am passing the farm.
You may walk with me." "Can I
come back too?" inquired Pigling
Bland. "I see no reason, young sir;
your paper is all right." Pigling
Bland did not like going on alone,
and it was beginning to rain. But
it is unwise to argue with the police;
he gave his brother a peppermint,
and watched him out of sight.

To conclude the adventures of
Alexander--the policeman sauntered
up to the house about tea
time, followed by a damp subdued
little pig. I disposed of Alexander
in the neighbourhood; he did fairly
well when he had settled down.


Pigling Bland went on alone
dejectedly; he came to cross-roads
and a sign-post--"To Market Town,
5 miles," "Over the Hills, 4 miles,"
"To Pettitoes Farm, 3 miles."

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Pigling Bland was shocked,
there was little hope of sleeping in
Market Town, and to-morrow was
the hiring fair; it was deplorable to
think how much time had been
wasted by the frivolity of Alexander.

He glanced wistfully along the
road towards the hills, and then set
off walking obediently the other
way, buttoning up his coat against
the rain. He had never wanted to
go; and the idea of standing all
by himself in a crowded market, to
be stared at, pushed, and hired by
some big strange farmer was very
disagreeable--

"I wish I could have a little
garden and grow potatoes," said
Pigling Bland.



He put his cold hand in his
pocket and felt his paper, he put his
other hand in his other pocket and
felt another paper--Alexander's!
Pigling squealed; then ran back
frantically, hoping to overtake
Alexander and the policeman.


Pigling Bland pg 38.jpg


He took a wrong turn--several
wrong turns, and was quite lost.

It grew dark, the wind whistled,
the trees creaked and groaned.

Pigling Bland became frightened
and cried "Wee, wee, wee! I can't
find my way home!"

After an hour's wandering he
got out of the wood; the moon
shone through the clouds, and
Pigling Bland saw a country that
was new to him.

The road crossed a moor; below
was a wide valley with a river
twinkling in the moonlight, and
beyond, in misty distance, lay
the hills.

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He saw a small wooden hut,
made his way to it, and crept
inside--"I am afraid it is a hen
house, but what can I do?" said
Pigling Bland, wet and cold and
quite tired out.


"Bacon and eggs, bacon and
eggs!" clucked a hen on a perch.

"Trap, trap, trap! cackle, cackle,
cackle!" scolded the disturbed
cockerel. "To market, to market!
jiggetty jig!" clucked a broody
white hen roosting next to him.
Pigling Bland, much alarmed,
determined to leave at daybreak.
In the meantime, he and the hens
fell asleep.

In less than an hour they were
all awakened. The owner, Mr.
Peter Thomas Piperson, came with
a lantern and a hamper to catch
six fowls to take to market in the
morning.

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He grabbed the white hen
roosting next to the cock; then
his eye fell upon Pigling Bland,
squeezed up in a corner. He made
a singular remark--"Hallo, here's
another!"--seized Pigling by the
scruff of the neck, and dropped him
into the hamper. Then he dropped
in five more dirty, kicking, cackling
hens upon the top of Pigling Bland.

The hamper containing six fowls
and a young pig was no light
weight; it was taken down hill,
unsteadily, with jerks. Pigling,
although nearly scratched to pieces,
contrived to hide the papers and
peppermints inside his clothes.

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At last the hamper was bumped
down upon a kitchen floor, the lid
was opened, and Pigling was lifted
out. He looked up, blinking, and
saw an offensively ugly elderly
man, grinning from ear to ear.


"This one's come of himself,
whatever," said Mr. Piperson,
turning Pigling's pockets inside out.
He pushed the hamper into a
corner, threw a sack over it to
keep the hens quiet, put a pot on
the fire, and unlaced his boots.

Pigling Bland drew forward a
coppy stool, and sat on the edge of
it, shyly warming his hands. Mr.
Piperson pulled off a boot and
threw it against the wainscot at
the further end of the kitchen.
There was a smothered noise--
"Shut up!" said Mr. Piperson.
Pigling Bland warmed his hands,
and eyed him.

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Mr. Piperson pulled off the other
boot and flung it after the first,
there was again a curious noise--
"Be quiet, will ye?" said Mr.
Piperson. Pigling Bland sat on the
very edge of the coppy stool.


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Mr. Piperson fetched meal from
a chest and made porridge. It
seemed to Pigling that something
at the further end of the kitchen
was taking a suppressed interest in
the cooking, but he was too hungry
to be troubled by noises.

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Mr. Piperson poured out three
platefuls: for himself, for Pigling,
and a third--after glaring at Pigling
--he put away with much scuffling,
and locked up. Pigling Bland ate
his supper discreetly.

After supper Mr. Piperson
consulted an almanac, and felt Pigling's
ribs; it was too late in the season
for curing bacon, and he grudged
his meal. Besides, the hens had
seen this pig.

He looked at the small remains
of a flitch, and then looked
undecidedly at Pigling. "You may
sleep on the rug," said Mr. Peter
Thomas Piperson.

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Pigling Bland slept like a top.
In the morning Mr. Piperson made
more porridge; the weather was
warmer. He looked to see how much
meal was left in the chest, and
seemed dissatisfied--"You'll likely
be moving on again?" said he to
Pigling Bland.

Before Pigling could reply, a
neighbour, who was giving Mr.
Piperson and the hens a lift,
whistled from the gate. Mr. Piperson
hurried out with the hamper,
enjoining Pigling to shut the door
behind him and not meddle with
nought; or "I'll come back and skin
ye!" said Mr. Piperson.


It crossed Pigling's mind that if
he had asked for a lift, too, he
might still have been in time for
market.

But he distrusted Peter Thomas.

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After finishing breakfast at his
leisure, Pigling had a look round
the cottage; everything was locked
up. He found some potato peelings
in a bucket in the back kitchen.
Pigling ate the peel, and washed
up the porridge plates in the bucket.
He sang while he worked--

"Tom with his pipe made such a noise,
  He called up all the girls and boys--
"And they all ran to hear him play
  "'Over the hills and far away!'"

Suddenly a little smothered voice
chimed in--

"Over the hills and a great way off,
The wind shall blow my top knot off!"

Pigling Bland put down a plate
which he was wiping, and listened.


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After a long pause, Pigling went
on tip-toe and peeped round the
door into the front kitchen. There
was nobody there.


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After another pause, Pigling
approached the door of the locked
cupboard, and snuffed at the key-
hole. It was quite quiet.

After another long pause, Pigling
pushed a peppermint under the door.
It was sucked in immediately.

In the course of the day Pigling
pushed in all the remaining six
peppermints.

When Mr. Piperson returned, he
found Pigling sitting before the
fire; he had brushed up the hearth
and put on the pot to boil; the meal
was not get-at-able.

Mr. Piperson was very affable;
he slapped Pigling on the back,
made lots of porridge and forgot
to lock the meal chest. He did
lock the cupboard door; but without
properly shutting it. He went
to bed early, and told Pigling upon
no account to disturb him next day
before twelve o'clock.


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Pigling Bland sat by the fire,
eating his supper.

All at once at his elbow, a little
voice spoke--"My name is Pig-
wig. Make me more porridge,
please!" Pigling Bland jumped,
and looked round.


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A perfectly lovely little black
Berkshire pig stood smiling beside
him. She had twinkly little
screwed up eyes, a double chin,
and a short turned up nose.

She pointed at Pigling's plate;
he hastily gave it to her, and
fled to the meal chest. "How did
you come here?" asked Pigling
Bland.

"Stolen," replied Pig-wig, with
her mouth full. Pigling helped
himself to meal without scruple.
"What for?" "Bacon, hams,"
replied Pig-wig cheerfully. "Why
on earth don't you run away?"
exclaimed the horrified Pigling.


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"I shall after supper," said Pig-
wig decidedly.

Pigling Bland made more porridge
and watched her shyly.

She finished a second plate, got
up, and looked about her, as though
she were going to start.


"You can't go in the dark," said
Pigling Bland.

Pig-wig looked anxious.

"Do you know your way by
daylight?"

"I know we can see this little
white house from the hills across
the river. Which way are YOU
going, Mr. Pig?"

"To market--I have two pig
papers. I might take you to the
bridge; if you have no objection,"
said Pigling much confused and
sitting on the edge of his coppy stool.
Pig-wig's gratitude was such and she
asked so many questions that it
became embarrassing to Pigling Bland.


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He was obliged to shut his eyes
and pretend to sleep. She became
quiet, and there was a smell of
peppermint.

"I thought you had eaten them,"
said Pigling, waking suddenly.

"Only the corners," replied Pig-
wig, studying the sentiments with
much interest by the firelight.

"I wish you wouldn't; he might
smell them through the ceiling,"
said the alarmed Pigling.

Pig-wig put back the sticky
peppermints into her pocket; "Sing
something," she demanded.

"I am sorry . . . I have tooth-
ache," said Pigling much dismayed.


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"Then I will sing," replied Pig-wig.
"You will not mind if I say iddy
tidditty? I have forgotten some of
the words."

Pigling Bland made no objection;
he sat with his eyes half shut, and
watched her.

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She wagged her head and rocked
about, clapping time and singing
in a sweet little grunty voice--

"A funny old mother pig lived in a
   stye, and three little piggies had she;
"(Ti idditty idditty) umph, umph,
   umph! and the little pigs said, wee, wee!"

She sang successfully through
three or four verses, only at every
verse her head nodded a little lower,
and her little twinkly eyes closed
up.

"Those three little piggies grew peaky
   and lean, and lean they might very
   well be;
"For somehow they couldn't say umph,
   umph, umph! and they wouldn't
   say wee, wee, wee!
"For somehow they couldn't say--

Pig-wig's head bobbed lower and
lower, until she rolled over, a little
round ball, fast asleep on the hearth-rug.

Pigling Bland, on tip-toe, covered
her up with an antimacassar.

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He was afraid to go to sleep
himself; for the rest of the night he
sat listening to the chirping of the
crickets and to the snores of Mr.
Piperson overhead.

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Early in the morning, between
dark and daylight, Pigling tied up
his little bundle and woke up Pig-
wig. She was excited and half-
frightened. "But it's dark! How
can we find our way?"

"The cock has crowed; we must
start before the hens come out; they
might shout to Mr. Piperson."

Pig-wig sat down again, and
commenced to cry.

"Come away Pig-wig; we can see
when we get used to it. Come!
I can hear them clucking!"

Pigling had never said shuh! to
a hen in his life, being peaceable;
also he remembered the hamper.


Pigling Bland pg 76.jpg

He opened the house door quietly
and shut it after them. There was
no garden; the neighbourhood of
Mr. Piperson's was all scratched
up by fowls. They slipped away
hand in hand across an untidy field
to the road.

Pigling Bland pg 77.jpg

The sun rose while they were
crossing the moor, a dazzle of light
over the tops of the hills. The
sunshine crept down the slopes
into the peaceful green valleys,
where little white cottages nestled
in gardens and orchards.

Pigling Bland pg 79.jpg

"That's Westmorland," said
Pig-wig. She dropped Pigling's
hand and commenced to dance,
singing--

"Tom, Tom, the piper's son, stole a pig
   and away he ran!

"But all the tune that he could play,
   was 'Over the hills and far away!'"

"Come, Pig-wig, we must get to
the bridge before folks are stirring."
"Why do you want to go to market,
Pigling?" inquired Pig-wig presently.
"I don't want; I want to
grow potatoes." "Have a peppermint?"
said Pig-wig. Pigling
Bland refused quite crossly. "Does
your poor toothy hurt?" inquired
Pig-wig. Pigling Bland grunted.

Pigling Bland pg 81.jpg

Pig-wig ate the peppermint
herself and followed the opposite side
of the road. "Pig-wig! keep under
the wall, there's a man ploughing."
Pig-wig crossed over, they hurried
down hill towards the county boundary.

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Suddenly Pigling stopped; he
heard wheels.

Slowly jogging up the road below
them came a tradesman's cart. The
reins flapped on the horse's back,
the grocer was reading a newspaper.

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"Take that peppermint out of
your mouth, Pig-wig, we may have
to run. Don't say one word. Leave
it to me. And in sight of the bridge!"
said poor Pigling, nearly crying.
He began to walk frightfully lame,
holding Pig-wig's arm.

Pigling Bland pg 84.jpg

The grocer, intent upon his news-
paper, might have passed them, if
his horse had not shied and snorted.
He pulled the cart crossways, and
held down his whip. "Hallo!
Where are you going to?"--Pigling
Bland stared at him vacantly.

Pigling Bland pg 86.jpg

"Are you deaf? Are you going
to market?" Pigling nodded slowly.

"I thought as much. It was
yesterday. Show me your licence?"

Pigling stared at the off hind
shoe of the grocer's horse which
had picked up a stone.

The grocer flicked his whip--
"Papers? Pig licence?" Pigling
fumbled in all his pockets, and
handed up the papers. The grocer
read them, but still seemed dissatisfied.
"This here pig is a young
lady; is her name Alexander?"
Pig-wig opened her mouth and shut
it again; Pigling coughed asthmatically.

Pigling Bland pg 88.jpg

The grocer ran his finger down
the advertisement column of his
newspaper--"Lost, stolen or
strayed, 10s. reward." He looked
suspiciously at Pig-wig. Then he
stood up in the trap, and whistled
for the ploughman.

Pigling Bland pg 89.jpg

"You wait here while I drive on
and speak to him," said the grocer,
gathering up the reins. He knew
that pigs are slippery; but surely,
such a very lame pig could never
run!

Pigling Bland pg 91.jpg

"Not yet, Pig-wig, he will look
back." The grocer did so; he saw
the two pigs stock-still in the
middle of the road. Then he looked
over at his horse's heels; it was
lame also; the stone took some
time to knock out, after he got to
the ploughman.

"Now, Pig-wig, NOW!" said
Pigling Bland.

Never did any pigs run as these
pigs ran! They raced and squealed
and pelted down the long white hill
towards the bridge. Little fat Pig-
wig's petticoats fluttered, and her
feet went pitter, patter, pitter, as she
bounded and jumped.

Pigling Bland pg 93.jpg

They ran, and they ran, and they
ran down the hill, and across a short
cut on level green turf at the bottom,
between pebble beds and rushes.

They came to the river, they
came to the bridge--they crossed
it hand in hand--

Pigling Bland pg 94a.jpg

then over the hills and far away
she danced with Pigling Bland!


THE END


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1943, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.