Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were: Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree. “Now, my dears,” said Mrs. Rabbit one morning, “you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden, your father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.” “Now run along, and don’t get into mischief. I am going out.”
Then Mrs. Rabbit took a basket and her umbrella, and went through the wood to the baker’s. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns.
Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail, who were good little bunnies, went down the lane to gather black-berries; But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate! First he ate some lettuces and some broad beans; and then he ate some radishes; and then feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley. But round the end of a cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor! Mr. McGregor was on his hands and knees planting out cabbages, but he jumped up and ran after Peter, waving a rake and calling out, “Stop!” Peter was mast dreadfully frightened; he lost one of his shoes among the cabbages, and the other shoe amongst the potatoes. After losing them, he ran on four legs and went faster, so I think he might have got away altogether if he had not unfortunately run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.
Peter gave himself up for lost and cried big tears; but his sobs were heard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself. Mr. McGregor came up with a sieve, which he intended to pop upon the top of Peter; but Peter wriggled out just in time, leaving his jacket behind him, and rushed into the tool-shed, and jumped into a can. It would have been a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had not had so much water in it.
Mr. McGregor was quite sure that Peter was somewhere in the tool-shed, perhaps hidden under a flower pot.
He began to turn them over carefully, looking under each. Peter sneezed”Kertyschoo!” Mr. McGregor was after him no time, but Peter jumped out of a window. Mr. McGregor was tired of running after Peter. He went back to his work. Peter sat down to rest and he had not the least idea which way to go. After a time he began to wander about, going lippity- lippity not very fast, and looking around. He found a door in a wall; but it was locked, and there was no room for a fat little rabbit to squeeze underneath. A mouse was running in and out over the stone door-step, carrying peas and beans to her family in the wood. Peter asked her way to the gate, but she had such a large pea in her mouth that she could not answer. She only shook her head at him. Peter began to cry again. Then he tried to find his way straight across the garden. It was just like a very bad dream. In the middle of the garden he came to a pond where Mr. McGregor filled his water-cans. A white cat was starring at some gold fish; she sat very, very still, but now and then the tip of her tail twitched as if it were alive.
Peter thought it best to go away without speaking to her. Peter started running as fast as he could go along a straight walk behind some black-currant bushes. Mr. McGregor caught sight of him at the corner, but Peter did not care. He slipped under the gate, and was safe at last in the wood outside the garden. Peter never stopped running till he got home to the big fir-tree. He was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice soft sand on the floor of the rabbit-hole, and shut his eyes. His mother was busy cooking; she wondered what he had done with his clothes. It was the second little jacket and pair of shoes that Peter had lost in a fortnight! I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some chamomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter!
"One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.” But Flopsy, Mopsy, and
Cotton-tail had bread and milk and blackberries, for supper.
(The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter)