The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher
 

Once upon a time there was a frog
called Mr. Jeremy Fisher; he lived in a
little damp house amongst the
buttercups at the edge of a pond.

The water was all slippy-sloppy in
the larder and in the back passage.

But Mr. Jeremy liked getting his feet
wet; nobody ever scolded him, and he
never caught a cold!

He was quite pleased when he
looked out and saw large drops of
rain, splashing in the pond--

"I will get some worms and go
fishing and catch a dish of minnows
for my dinner," said Mr. Jeremy
Fisher. "If I catch more than five fish, I
will invite my friends Mr. Alderman
Ptolemy Tortoise and Sir Isaac
Newton. The Alderman, however,
eats salad."

Mr. Jeremy put on a mackintosh,
and a pair of shiny galoshes; he took
his rod and basket, and set off with
enormous hops to the place where he
kept his boat.

The boat was round and green, and
very like the other lily-leaves. It was
tied to a water-plant in the middle of
the pond.

Mr. Jeremy took a reed pole, and
pushed the boat out into open water.
"I know a good place for minnows,"
said Mr. Jeremy Fisher.

Mr. Jeremy stuck his pole into the
mud and fastened the boat to it.

Then he settled himself cross-
legged and arranged his fishing
tackle. He had the dearest little red
float. His rod was a tough stalk of
grass, his line was a fine long white
horse-hair, and he tied a little
wriggling worm at the end.

The rain trickled down his back,
and for nearly an hour he stared at
the float.

"This is getting tiresome, I think I
should like some lunch," said Mr.
Jeremy Fisher.

He punted back again amongst the
water-plants, and took some lunch
out of his basket.

"I will eat a butterfly sandwich,
and wait till the shower is over," said
Mr. Jeremy Fisher.

A great big water-beetle came up
underneath the lily leaf and tweaked
the toe of one of his galoshes.

Mr. Jeremy crossed his legs up
shorter, out of reach, and went on
eating his sandwich.

Once or twice something moved
about with a rustle and a splash
amongst the rushes at the side of the
pond.

"I trust that is not a rat," said Mr.
Jeremy Fisher; "I think I had better get
away from here."

Mr. Jeremy shoved the boat out
again a little way, and dropped in the
bait. There was a bite almost directly;
the float gave a tremendous bobbit!

"A minnow! a minnow! I have him
by the nose!" cried Mr. Jeremy Fisher,
jerking up his rod.

But what a horrible surprise!
Instead of a smooth fat minnow, Mr.
Jeremy landed little Jack Sharp, the
stickleback, covered with spines!

The stickleback floundered about
the boat, pricking and snapping until
he was quite out of breath. Then he
jumped back into the water.

And a shoal of other little fishes put
their heads out, and laughed at Mr.
Jeremy Fisher.

And while Mr. Jeremy sat
disconsolately on the edge of his
boat--sucking his sore fingers and
peering down into the water--a much
worse thing happened; a really
frightful thing it would have been, if
Mr. Jeremy had not been wearing a
mackintosh!

A great big enormous trout came
up--ker-pflop-p-p-p! with a splash--
and it seized Mr. Jeremy with a snap,
"Ow! Ow! Ow!"--and then it turned
and dived down to the bottom of the
pond!

But the trout was so displeased
with the taste of the mackintosh, that
in less than half a minute it spat him
out again; and the only thing it
swallowed was Mr. Jeremy's galoshes.

Mr. Jeremy bounced up to the
surface of the water, like a cork and
the bubbles out of a soda water
bottle; and he swam with all his
might to the edge of the pond.

He scrambled out on the first bank
he came to, and he hopped home
across the meadow with his
mackintosh all in tatters.

"What a mercy that was not a
pike!" said Mr. Jeremy Fisher. "I have
lost my rod and basket; but it does
not much matter, for I am sure I
should never have dared to go fishing
again!"

He put some sticking plaster on his
fingers, and his friends both came to
dinner. He could not offer them fish,
but he had something else in his
larder.

Sir Isaac Newton wore his black
and gold waistcoat.

And Mr. Alderman Ptolemy
Tortoise brought a salad with him in a
string bag.

And instead of a nice dish of
minnows, they had a roasted
grasshopper with lady-bird sauce,
which frogs consider a beautiful treat;
but I think it must have been nasty!