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The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle
by [?]

[For the Real Little Lucie of Newlands]

Once upon a time there was a little girl called Lucie, who lived at a farm called Little-town. She was a good little girl–only she was always losing her pocket-handkerchiefs!

One day little Lucie came into the farm-yard crying–oh, she did cry so! “I’ve lost my pocket-handkin! Three handkins and a pinny! Have YOU seen them, Tabby Kitten?”

The Kitten went on washing her white paws; so Lucie asked a speckled hen–

“Sally Henny-penny, have YOU found three pocket-handkins?”

But the speckled hen ran into a barn, clucking–

“I go barefoot, barefoot, barefoot!”

And then Lucie asked Cock Robin sitting on a twig. Cock Robin looked sideways at Lucie with his bright black eye, and he flew over a stile and away.

Lucie climbed upon the stile and looked up at the hill behind Little- town–a hill that goes up–up–into the clouds as though it had no top!

And a great way up the hillside she thought she saw some white things spread upon the grass.

Lucie scrambled up the hill as fast as her short legs would carry her; she ran along a steep path-way–up and up–until Little-town was right away down below–she could have dropped a pebble down the chimney!

Presently she came to a spring, bubbling out from the hillside.

Some one had stood a tin can upon a stone to catch the water–but the water was already running over, for the can was no bigger than an egg- cup! And where the sand upon the path was wet–there were footmarks of a VERY small person.

Lucie ran on, and on.

The path ended under a big rock. The grass was short and green, and there were clothes-props cut from bracken stems, with lines of plaited rushes, and a heap of tiny clothes pins–but no pocket-handkerchiefs!

But there was something else–a door! straight into the hill; and inside it some one was singing–

“Lily-white and clean, oh!
With little frills between, oh!
Smooth and hot-red rusty spot
Never here be seen, oh!”

Lucie knocked-once-twice, and interrupted the song. A little frightened voice called out “Who’s that?”

Lucie opened the door: and what do you think there was inside the hill?–a nice clean kitchen with a flagged floor and wooden beams– just like any other farm kitchen. Only the ceiling was so low that Lucie’s head nearly touched it; and the pots and pans were small, and so was everything there.

There was a nice hot singey smell; and at the table, with an iron in her hand, stood a very stout short person staring anxiously at Lucie.

Her print gown was tucked up, and she was wearing a large apron over her striped petticoat. Her little black nose went sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes went twinkle, twinkle; and underneath her cap-where Lucie had yellow curls-that little person had PRICKLES!

“Who are you?” said Lucie. “Have you seen my pocket-handkins?”

The little person made a bob- curtsey–“Oh yes, if you please’m; my name is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle; oh yes if you please’m, I’m an excellent clear- starcher!” And she took something out of the clothesbasket, and spread it on the ironing-blanket.

“What’s that thing?” said Lucie- “that’s not my pocket-handkin?”

“Oh no, if you please’m; that’s a little scarlet waist-coat belonging to Cock Robin!”

And she ironed it and folded it, and put it on one side.

Then she took something else off a clothes-horse–“That isn’t my pinny?” said Lucie.

“Oh no, if you please’m; that’s a damask table-cloth belonging to Jenny Wren; look how it’s stained with currant wine! It’s very bad to wash!” said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle’s nose went sniffle sniffle snuffle, and her eyes went twinkle twinkle; and she fetched another hot iron from the fire.

“There’s one of my pocket- handkins!” cried Lucie–“and there’s my pinny!”

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle ironed it, and goffered it, and shook out the frills.

“Oh that IS lovely!” said Lucie.

“And what are those long yellow things with fingers like gloves?”