The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin

In 1901, while Beatrix was on in holiday she sent a story and picture letter about a red squirrel colony in Cumberland (Now Cumbria) to Norah Moore, the daughter of her former governess Annie Moore. The letter expanded on an earlier letter sent to Norah’s brother Noel about some squirrels rafting down a river using their tails as sails. She kept a copy of the letter, and spent the summer sketching squirrels and the local landscape around St. Herbert’s Island.  This island would eventually become ‘Owl Island’ in The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin.
The Book was first published in 1903 and tells the tale of Squirrel Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry, and their many cousins who sail to Owl Island on little rafts they have constructed of twigs. Old Brown lives on the island and they bring him a gift and ask his permission to do their nut-collecting on his island. Old Brown pays no heed to Nutkin as he dances around whilst singing a silly riddle.   Old Owl allows the squirrels to go about their work.   The squirrels give gifts to Old Brown every day for six days but Nutkin continues to sing silly riddles. Old Mr. Brown is annoyed once too often, he catches Nutkin and tries to skin him alive. Nutkin escapes, but not without losing most of his tail.
Characters in the Book:
Squirrel Nutkin, an impertinent young red squirrel
Old Mr Brown, an owl living on Owl Island
Twinkleberry, Nutkin’s brother
Nutkin’s many nut-gathering cousins

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Vintage book by Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin, hardback Poss 1946

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the tale of squirrel nutkin