Beatrix Potter

The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies

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The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter - is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and first published by Frederick Warne & Co. in July 1909. After two full-length tales about rabbits, Potter had grown weary of the subject and was reluctant to write another. She realized however that children most enjoyed her rabbit stories and pictures, and so reached back to characters and plot elements from The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) and The Tale of Benjamin Bunny (1904) to create The Flopsy Bunnies. A semi-formal garden of archways and flowerbeds in Wales at the home of her uncle and aunt became the background for the illustrations. Plot In The Flopsy Bunnies, Benjamin Bunny (son of Old Mr. Bunny) and Peter Rabbit are adults, and Benjamin has married his cousin Flopsy (one of Peter's sisters). As for Peter, Mopsy, and Cotton-Tail, they haven't been married yet and still live with their mother (Mrs. Josephine Rabbit). (However, Peter becomes an uncle and his sisters --Mopsy and Cotton-Tail-- are aunts.) The couple (as Benjamin had become a father) are the parents of six young rabbits generally called The Flopsy Bunnies. Benjamin and Flopsy are "very improvident and cheerful" and have some difficulty feeding their brood. At times, they turn to Peter Rabbit (who has gone into business as a florist and keeps a nursery garden), but there are days when Peter cannot spare cabbages.[note 1] It is then that the Flopsy Bunnies cross the field to Mr. McGregor's rubbish heap of rotten vegetables. One day they find and feast on lettuces that have shot into flower, and, under their "soporific" influence, fall asleep in the rubbish heap, though Benjamin puts a sack over his head. Mr. McGregor discovers them by accident when tipping grass-clippings down and places them in a sack and ties it shut then sets the sack aside while attending to another matter. Benjamin and Flopsy are unable to help their children, but a "resourceful" wood mouse called Thomasina Tittlemouse, gnaws a hole in the sack and the bunnies escape. The rabbit family (Benjamin, Flopsy, and the Flopsy bunnies) fill the sack with rotten vegetables (two decayed turnips and three rotten vegetable marrows) to trick Mr. McGregor into thinking the Flopsy Bunnies are still in the sack. Then the animals mend the hole which Thomasina Tittlemouse made. Afterwards, they hide under a bush to observe Mr. McGregor's reaction. Mr. McGregor does not notice the replacement (as the bunnies have replaced the six baby rabbits with the rotten vegetables), and carries the sack home (still thinking he has the six baby rabbits), continually counting the six rabbits (he says, "One, two, three, four, five, six leetle fat rabbits!"). The McGregors do not know that the youngest Flopsy Bunny is out there and eavesdropping.
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