The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse
Beatrix Potter
Children
9:00 m
Level 1
The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter and first published by Frederick Warne & Co. In December 1918. The tale is based on the Aesop fable, "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse", with details taken from Horace's Satires 2.6.79-117. It tells of a country mouse and a city mouse who visit each other in their respective homes. After sampling the other's way of life, both express a decided preference for their own. The book was critically well received.

The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse

by
Beatrix Potter


To Aesop in the Shadows

Johnny Town-mouse was born in a cupboard. Timmy Willie was born in a garden. Timmy Willie was a little country mouse who went to town by mistake in a hamper. The gardener sent vegetables to town once a week by carrier; he packed them in a big hamper.

The gardener left the hamper by the garden gate, so that the carrier could pick it up when he passed. Timmy Willie crept in through a hole in the wicker-work, and after eating some peas — Timmy Willie fell fast asleep.

He awoke in a fright, while the hamper was being lifted into the carrier’s cart. Then there was a jolting, and a clattering of horse’s feet; other packages were thrown in; for miles and miles — jolt — jolt — jolt! and Timmy Willie trembled amongst the jumbled up vegetables.

At last the cart stopped at a house, where the hamper was taken out, carried in, and set down. The cook gave the carrier sixpence; the back door banged, and the cart rumbled away. But there was no quiet; there seemed to be hundreds of carts passing. Dogs barked; boys whistled in the street; the cook laughed, the parlour maid ran up and down-stairs; and a canary sang like a steam engine.

Timmy Willie, who had lived all his life in a garden, was almost frightened to death. Presently the cook opened the hamper and began to unpack the vegetables. Out sprang the terrified Timmy Willie.

Up jumped the cook on a chair, exclaiming “A mouse! a mouse! Call the cat! Fetch me the poker, Sarah!” Timmy Willie did not wait for Sarah with the poker; he rushed along the skirting board till he came to a little hole, and in he popped.

He dropped half a foot, and crashed into the middle of a mouse dinner party, breaking three glasses. — “Who in the world is this?” inquired Johnny Town-mouse. But after the first exclamation of surprise he instantly recovered his manners.