Beatrix Potter’s Unpublished Tale

More than a century after it was written, an unknown story of “a well-behaved prime black Kitty cat, who leads rather a double life” by beloved children’s writer, Beatrix Potter has once again been brought back to life.

A thorough search through the V&A archives in London revealed three manuscripts, a sketch of Potter’s new leading character – Kitty-in-Boots, a mock-up book, and a rough drawing of the story’s prime villain, Mr Tod, have also been unearthed.

The story was originally encountered two years ago by publisher Jo Hanks, who spotted a reference to the manuscript in an out-of-print biography about the famous children’s author. Adults and children alike can look forward to yet another charming anecdote, with the story dubbed by Hanks as “The best of Beatrix Potter”, he stated “It has double identities, colourful villains and a number of favourite characters from other tales” with an “older, slower and portlier” Peter Rabbit also making an appearance.

Quentin Blake, hailed for his drawings in the Roald Dahl books, will be doing illustrations for the tale and said “I liked the story immediately – it’s full of incident and mischief and character” he warmly added, “I have a strange feeling that it might have been waiting for me.”

They story will be published in September, aptly by Beatrix Potter’s original publisher, Frederick Warne & Co – now a part of Penguin Random House.

While you wait patiently for the new book to be released, take a nostalgic look back at some of Potter’s most recognized characters…

With his distinctive blue jacket, who can possibly forget the famous Peter Rabbit? Named after a pet rabbit that Beatrix Potter kept as a child, the tale was originally created to cheer up an ill son of her former governess. It tells the story of Peter, his mother Mrs. Josephine Rabbit, and sisters Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-Tail. Peter is caught red handed eating vegtables in Mr. McGregor’s garden, before being chased out and subsequently losing his jacket and shoes.

Written during a summer in the Lake District and one of Potter’s slightly more sinister stories, the enterprising young Squirrel Nutkin, his brother Twinkleberry and their numerous cousins set off for Owl Island on rafts construsted from twigs. But instead of setting about the task of nut-collecting with the rest of the family, Squirrel Nutkin taunts Old Brown the owl by singing silly riddles. He eventually gets his tail torn off and narrowly escapes being skinned alive.

The hugely popular tale of the gullable Jemima Puddle Duck is a classic story of pursuit and prey. It involves the canny fox, Mr. Tod, who persuades Jemima to lay eggs in his shed after the farmers wife had been rountinely confiscating them, claiming that ducks make poor sitters. However, she is eventually saved by Kep the loyal farm collie, who see’s through Mr. Tod’s plan immediately.

Inspired by a Scottish washer woman employed by the Potter’s, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, tells the story of a hedgehog and a little girl called Lucie, who lost three pocket hankercheifs and a pinafore, which Mrs Tiggy-Winkle finds for her. The fictional hedgehog is said to be one of Potter’s most positive creations.

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