Folks, you'll be glad to know Jemima has hatched her four ducklings and is ready to begin our tour of the Lake District.
I've provided our map once again just in case Jemima gets sidetracked, as she so often does. She'll be taking us down the path from Hill Top, turning left onto to the main road, then a right up Stones Lane past Belle Green and Castle Cottage to Oatmeal Crag. . . .
Jemima informs me the reason we are going up Stones Lane to Oatmeal Crag is because this is where Mr. Tod and Tommy Brock live. It was a special place for Beatrix. She first discovered it on her first holiday at Lakefield (later called Ees Wyke and now an Inn) in 1896. In her journal she wrote of sitting on Oatmeal Crag where she imagined that "a myriad of fairy fungi are singing, bobbing and dancing in the grass, laughing and clapping their hands." Later she would own the surrounding landscape as well as Moss Eccles Tarn where her husband, William Heelis, kept a rowing boat so he could fish in the tarn. . . .
|photo credit: Peter Rabbit on Twitter|
Beatrix wrote The Tale of Mr. Tod in 1911. It begins, "I have made many books about well-behaved people. Now, for a change, I am going to make a story about two disagreeable people, called Tommy Brock and Mr. Tod." Mr. Tod, you will recall, first encountered Jemima in our February story when he duped her into laying her eggs in his shed and then invited her for dinner. . . .
Jemima says she's ready. Do you have your hiking boots on?
THE TALE OF MR. TOD
as told by Jemima Puddle-Duck
Pit pat, paddle pat! Pit pat, waddle pat! Quack! Quack!
I met Mr. Tod a while back. He seemed like a very nice gentleman to me, and I am quite sorry that I have lost his company…..although Kep, the collie, assures me I am better off. I will take you down Stones Lane up to Oatmeal Crag to show you one of Mr. Tod’s houses. He has several I have been told. Tommy Brock, a badger of bad repute, apparently took up abode in Mr. Tod’s house, causing quite a fight. But I shall begin my story at the house of Benjamin and Flopsy Bunny.
It happened that Flopsy had left her 7 bunnies in care of old Mr. Benjamin Bouncer, her father-in-law, when Tommy Brock stopped by.
This was his first mistake. The second mistake was his fell asleep.
Because this is when Tommy Brock gathered up the bunnies and put them in a sack!
When Flopsy arrived home she immediately smelled Badger and ran to the basket only to find her bunnies were gone. She was very angry with her father-in-law. Meanwhile, Benjamin headed off to look for the bunnies.Along the way Benjamin came upon his cousin, Peter Rabbit, who told him he’d seen Tommy Brock carrying a sack.
So Peter joined Benjamin in his search.
When they got to Mr. Tod’s house they peered into the bedroom window. They could hear someone snoring, but it was too dark to see who was in the bed. Peter whispered, “He has gone to bed in his boots.”
Then they went around to the kitchen window and peered in. They could hear noises coming from the brick oven. The bunnies were alive!
They tried all the doors and windows but could not get in so they began to dig a tunnel under the kitchen. Then they heard Mr. Tod approaching.
Mr. Tod was furious to find Tommy Brock in his house and in his bed, no less.
So he devised a plan to dump a pail of water on his head.
But Tommy was all the wiser to the plan and slipped out of bed while Mr. Tod was outside rigging up the rope.
Mr. Tod heard the pail drop but he heard no scream. He thought he must have killed the badger.
When Mr. Tod discovered Tommy Brock had slipped away he found him in the kitchen.
Soon a struggle ensued.
When Mr. Tod and Tommy Brock rolled out into the yard, Benjamin and Peter rushed in and saved the bunnies!
Thank you, Jemima! For the entire story you can read it HERE or watch it. . . .
If you are interested in the background and commentary on the story, go HERE.
Oatmeal Crag is known for the fairies that live there. Beatrix Potter wrote in her journal:
"I think one of my pleasantest memories of Esthwaite is sitting on Oatmeal Crag on a Sunday afternon, where there is a sort of table of rock with a dip, with the lane and fields and oak copse like a trough below my feet, and all the little tiny fungus people singing and bobbing and dancing in the grass and under the leaves all down below, like the whistling that some people cannot hear of stay mice and bats, and I sitting up above and knowing something about them. I cannot tell what possesses me with the fancy that they laugh and clap their hands, especially the little ones that grow in troops and rings amongst dead leaves in the woods. I suppose it is the fairy rings, the myriads of fairy fungi that start into life in autumn woods. I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense, to fear no longer the terror that flieth by night, yet to feel truly and understand a little, a very little, of the story of life."
If you half-believe in fairies, too, you might want to rent this delightful British movie, "Fairytale: A True Story" on YouTube. . . .
These are my practice drawings this month. . . .
I decided to paint this Beatrix Potter illustration of Mr. Tod walking through the green woods. . . .
First I drew it (and forgot to take my photo before I started painting!). . . .
One of the things I learned in my on-line Craftsy watercolor class is how to use a gum eraser to pull up some of the graphite from my sketch. As you will see, the pencil lines of the trees will not show after I paint them. The other thing I've learned is how to make a color chart by mixing 6 pigments to get all these colors. Here are the various colors created by combining the last color to the first color on each line, adding a little more each time. . . .
This way I can create any color I want.
This is my version of Mr. Tod walking through the green woods. . . .
The lesson learned this month. . . . .
"Going to bed in one's shoes and dirty clothes is a slovenly habit. If you insist on wearing boots in bed, at least be sure to sleep between your own sheets. No doubt the smelly, snoring Tommy Brock will compound the insult by neglecting to wash Mr. Tod's blanket and make the bed when he awakes."
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