The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter    

Chapter 6: The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle

Performer: LibriVox - Jeremy

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 farmyard 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.
Someone 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 someone 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?"
"Oh that's a pair of stockings belonging to Sally Henny-penny-look how she's worn the heels out with scratching in the yard! She'll very soon go barefoot!" said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

"Why, there's another hankersniff- but it isn't mine; it's red?"
"Oh no, if you please'm; that one belongs to old Mrs. Rabbit; and it did so smell of onions! I've had to wash it separately, I can't get out that smell."

"There's another one of mine," said Lucie. "What are those funny little white things?"
"That's a pair of mittens belonging to Tabby Kitten; I only have to iron them; she washes them herself."

"There's my last pocket-handkin!" said Lucie. "And what are you dipping into the basin of starch?"
"They're little dicky shirt-fronts belonging to Tom Titmouse-most terrible particular!" said Mrs. Tiggy- winkle. "Now I've finished my ironing; I'm going to air some clothes."
"What are these dear soft fluffy things?" said Lucie.

"Oh those are woolly coats belonging to the little lambs at Skelghyl."

"Will their jackets take off?" asked Lucie.

"Oh yes, if you please'm; look at the sheep-mark on the shoulder. And here's one marked for Gatesgarth, and three that come from Little-town. They're always marked at washing!" said Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.

And she hung up all sorts and sizes of clothes-small brown coats of mice; and one velvety black moleskin waist-coat; and a red tail-coat with no tail belonging to Squirrel Nutkin; and a very much shrunk blue jacket belonging to Peter Rabbit; and a petticoat, not marked, that had gone lost in the washing-and at last the basket was empty!
Then Mrs. Tiggy-winkle made tea-a cup for herself and a cup for Lucie. They sat before the fire on a bench and looked sideways at one another. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's hand, holding the tea-cup, was very very brown, and very very wrinkly with soap-suds; and all through her gown and her cap, there were hairpins sticking wrong end out; so that Lucie didn't like to sit too near her.
When they had finished tea, they tied up the clothes in bundles; and Lucie's pocket-handkerchiefs were folded up inside her clean pinny, and fastened with a silver safety pin. And then they made up the fire with turf, and came out and locked the door, and hid the key under the doorsill.
Then away down the hill trotted Lucie and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle with the bundles of clothes! All the way down the path little animals came out of the fern to meet them; the very first that they met were Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny!
And she gave them their nice clean clothes; and all the little animals and birds were so very much obliged to dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle.
So that at the bottom of the hill when they came to the stile, there was nothing left to carry except Lucie's one little bundle. Lucie scrambled up the stile with the bundle in her hand; and then she turned to say "Good-night," and to thank the washer-woman.-But what a very odd thing! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle had not waited either for thanks or for the washing bill!
She was running running running up the hill-and where was her white frilled cap? and her shawl? and her gown-and her petticoat?
And how small she had grown- and how brown-and covered with prickles!

Why! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle was nothing but a hedgehog!
(Now some people say that little Lucie had been asleep upon the stile-but then how could she have found three clean pocket-handkins and a pinny, pinned with a silver safety-pin?

And besides-I have seen that door into the back of the hill called Cat Bells-and besides I am very well acquainted with dear Mrs. Tiggy-winkle!)

    The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter    

Chapter 6: The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle

Performer: LibriVox - Jeremy


Study the story for one week.

Over the week:

  • Read or listen to the story one or more times.
  • Review the synopsis.
  • Study the vocabulary words.
  • Complete the enrichment activities.
  • Discuss the review questions.


A little girl named Lucie loses her handkins and a pinny and sets out to find them. She comes to a little house inside a hill. Inside she meets a washer-woman named Mrs. Tiggy-winkle who is ironing and starching clothing. Mrs. Tiggy-winkle takes out and irons Lucie's handkins and her pinny. Lucie and Mrs. Tiggy-winkle take bundles of clothing and deliver them to various animals. When they are done delivering the laundry, Lucie realizes Mrs. Tiggy-winkle isn't a person, she's a hedgehog.


Pocket-Handkin: Handkerchief
Pinny: A pinafore. A sleeveless apron-like garment worn over a child's dress.
Stile: An arrangement of steps that allows people but not animals to climb over a fence or wall.
Clothes-props: A support to hold wet clothing for air drying.
Bracken: Large ferns.
Plaited Rushes: Braided leaves used for strewing on floors.
Flagged Floor: Floor covered in flat, square pieces of stone.
Singey: A burned scent.
Curtsey: A woman's or girl's formal greeting made by bending the knees with one foot in front of the other.
Damask: A figured woven fabric with a pattern visible on both sides, typically used for table linen and upholstery.
Goffered: Treated (a lace edge or frill) with heated irons to crimp or flute it.


Activity 1: Study the Story Pictures

  • Before reading or listening to the story, study and describe the pictures accompanying the story.

Activity 2: Recite the Book Information

  • Before and after reading or listening to the story, recite aloud the name of the author, the title of the book, and the title of the chapter.

Activity 3: Narrate the Story

  • After reading or listening to the story, narrate the events of the story aloud in your own words.

Activity 4: Act Out the Story

  • Mrs. Tiggy-winkle does a curtsey in the story.
  • Practice doing your own curtseys.

Activity 5: Draw the Story

  • In the story, the character of Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog.
  • Study the real hedgehog below and draw or color your own picture.


Question 1

Why does Lucie go into Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's house?
1 / 5

Answer 1

To look for her handkerchiefs and pinny.
1 / 5

Question 2

What does Mrs. Tiggy-winkle do for a living?
2 / 5

Answer 2

She is a washer-woman who does laundry.
2 / 5

Question 3

Who has Lucie's handkerchiefs and pinny?
3 / 5

Answer 3

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle
3 / 5

Question 4

Is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle a person?
4 / 5

Answer 4

No, she is a hedgehog.
4 / 5

Question 5

What clues does Lucie have early on that Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog and not a person?
5 / 5

Answer 5

Mrs. Tiggy-winkle had a little black nose and prickles. She had a brown hand. Through her gown and cap, she had hairpins sticking out.
5 / 5

  1. Why does Lucie go into Mrs. Tiggy-winkle's house? To look for her handkerchiefs and pinny.
  2. What does Mrs. Tiggy-winkle do for a living? She is a washer-woman who does laundry.
  3. Who has Lucie's handkerchiefs and pinny? Mrs. Tiggy-winkle
  4. Is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle a person? No, she is a hedgehog.
  5. What clues does Lucie have early on that Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is a hedgehog and not a person? Mrs. Tiggy-winkle had a little black nose and prickles. She had a brown hand. Through her gown and cap, she had hairpins sticking out.