Simple Winter Puppet Show

Puppet shows can be as simple or as complicated as you’d like. If there are some peg dolls around you can use them as the characters. Even your children little wooden, plastic or stuffed animals. Simple pieces of cloth or scarves work for sky and scenery. I like to check the thrift stores for real silk scarves, I have even found some beautifully handprinted ones for under a dollar.

This video is a wonderful example of a truly simple and lovely puppet show by Starfuldolls.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 3-4 Year Olds)

public-domain-vintage-childrens-book-illustration-arthur-rackham-three-bears Illustration -Arthur Rackham

Once upon a time there were Three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was a Little, Small Wee Bear; and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the other was a Great, Huge Bear. They had each a pot for their porridge, a little pot for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized pot for the Middle Bear, and a great pot for the Great, Huge Bear. And they had each a chair to sit in; a little chair for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized chair for the Middle Bear; and a great chair for the Great, Huge Bear. And they had each a bed to sleep in; a little bed for the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and a middle-sized bed for the Middle Bear; and a great bed for the Great, Huge Bear.

One day, after they had made the porridge for their breakfast, and poured it into their porridge-pots, they walked out into the wood while the porridge was cooling, that they might not burn their mouths, by beginning too soon to eat it. And while they were walking, a little old Woman came to the house. She could not have been a good, honest old Woman; for first she looked in at the window, and then she peeped in at the keyhole; and seeing nobody in the house, she lifted the latch. The door was not fastened, because the Bears were good Bears, who did nobody any harm, and never suspected that anybody would harm them. So the little old Woman opened the door, and went in; and well pleased she was when she saw the porridge on the table. If she had been a good little old Woman, she would have waited till the Bears came home, and then, perhaps, they would have asked her to breakfast; for they were good Bears–a little rough or so, as the manner of Bears is, but for all that very good-natured and hospitable. But she was an impudent, bad old Woman, and set about helping herself.

So first she tasted the porridge of the Great, Huge Bear, and that was too hot for her; and she said a bad word about that. And then she tasted the porridge of the Middle Bear, and that was too cold for her; and she said a bad word about that too. And then she went to the porridge of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and tasted that; and that was neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right; and she liked it so well, that she ate it all up: but the naughty old Woman said a bad word about the little porridge-pot, because it did not hold enough for her.

Then the little old Woman sate down in the chair of the Great, Huge Bear, and that was too hard for her. And then she sate down in the chair of the Middle Bear, and that was too soft for her. And then she sate down in the chair of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and that was neither too hard, nor too soft, but just right. So she seated herself in it, and there she sate till the bottom of the chair came out, and down she came, plump upon the ground. And the naughty old Woman said a wicked word about that too.
Then the little old Woman went upstairs into the bed-chamber in which the three Bears slept. And first she lay down upon the bed of the Great, Huge Bear; but that was too high at the head for her. And next she lay down upon the bed of the Middle Bear; and that was too high at the foot for her. And then she lay down upon the bed of the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and that was neither too high at the head, nor at the foot, but just right. So she covered herself up comfortably, and lay there till she fell fast asleep.
By this time the Three Bears thought their porridge would be cool enough; so they came home to breakfast. Now the little old Woman had left the spoon of the Great, Huge Bear, standing in his porridge.

“Somebody has been at my porridge!”
said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice. And when the Middle Bear looked at his, he saw that the spoon was standing in it too. They were wooden spoons; if they had been silver ones, the naughty old Woman would have put them in her pocket.
“Somebody has been at my porridge!”
said the Middle Bear in his middle voice.
Then the Little, Small, Wee Bear looked at his, and there was the spoon in the porridge-pot, but the porridge was all gone.
“Somebody has been at my porridge, and has eaten it all up!”
said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
Upon this the Three Bears, seeing that some one had entered their house, and eaten up the Little, Small, Wee Bear’s breakfast, began to look about them. Now the little old Woman had not put the hard cushion straight when she rose from the chair of the Great, Huge Bear.

“Somebody has been sitting in my chair!”
said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.
And the little old Woman had squatted down the soft cushion of the Middle Bear.
“Somebody has been sitting in my chair!”
said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.

And you know what the little old Woman had done to the third chair.
“Somebody has been sitting in my chair and has sate the bottom out of it!”
said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
Then the Three Bears thought it necessary that they should make farther search; so they went upstairs into their bedchamber. Now the little old Woman had pulled the pillow of the Great, Huge Bear, out of its place.

“Somebody has been lying in my bed!”
said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough, gruff voice.
And the little old Woman had pulled the bolster of the Middle Bear out of its place.

“Somebody has been lying in my bed!”
said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.

And when the Little, Small, Wee Bear came to look at his bed, there was the bolster in its place; and the pillow in its place upon the bolster; and upon the pillow was the little old Woman’s ugly, dirty head,–which was not in its place, for she had no business there.

“Somebody has been lying in my bed,–and here she is!”
said the Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.

The little old Woman had heard in her sleep the great, rough, gruff voice of the Great, Huge Bear; but she was so fast asleep that it was no more to her than the roaring of wind, or the rumbling of thunder. And she had heard the middle voice, of the Middle Bear, but it was only as if she had heard some one speaking in a dream. But when she heard the little, small, wee voice of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, it was so sharp, and so shrill, that it awakened her at once. Up she started; and when she saw the Three Bears on one side of the bed, she tumbled herself out at the other, and ran to the window. Now the window was open, because the Bears, like good, tidy Bears, as they were, always opened their bedchamber window when they got up in the morning. Out the little old Woman jumped. The Three Bears never saw anything more of her.

The Turnip

The Turnip
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 3-4 Year olds)
*Audio file at the end

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There were once two brothers who both served as soldiers, one of
them was rich, and the other poor. Then the poor one, to escape
from his poverty, doffed his soldier’s coat, and turned farmer.
He dug and hoed his bit of land, and sowed it with turnip-seed.
The seed came up, and one turnip grew there which became large and
strong, and visibly grew bigger and bigger, and seemed as if it
would never stop growing, so that it might have been called the
princess of turnips, for never was such an one seen before, and
never will such an one be seen again.
At length it was so enormous that by itself it filled a whole
cart, and two oxen were required to draw it, and the farmer had
not the least idea what he was to do with the turnip, or whether
it would be a fortune to him or a misfortune. At last he thought,
if you sell it, what will you get for it that is of any importance,
and if you eat it yourself, why, the small turnips would do you
just as much good. It would be better to take it to the king, and
make him a present of it.
So he placed it on a cart, harnessed two oxen, took it to the
palace, and presented it to the king. What strange thing is
this, said the king. Many wonderful things have come before my
eyes, but never such a monster as this. From what seed can this
have sprung, or are you a favorite of good fortune and have met
with it by chance. Ah, no, said the farmer, no favorite
am I. I am a poor soldier, who because he could no longer
support himself hung his soldier’s coat on a nail and took to
farming land. I have a brother who is rich and well known to you,
lord king, but I, because I have nothing, am forgotten by everyone.
Then the king felt compassion for him, and said, you shall be
raised from your poverty, and shall have such gifts from me that
you shall be equal to your rich brother. Then he bestowed
on him much gold, and lands, and meadows, and herds, and made him
immensely rich, so that the wealth of the other brother could
not be compared with his. When the rich brother heard what the
poor one had gained for himself with one single turnip, he
envied him, and thought in every way how he also could come by a
similar piece of luck. He set about it in a much more cunning
way, however, and took gold and horses and carried them to the
king, and made certain the king would give him a much larger
present in return. If his brother had got so much for one
turnip, what would he not carry away with him in return for such
beautiful things as these. The king accepted his present, and
said he had nothing to give him in return that was more rare and
excellent than the great turnip. So the rich man was obliged to
put his brother’s turnip in a cart and have it taken to his home.
There, he did not know on whom to vent his rage and anger, until
bad thoughts came to him, and he resolved to kill his brother.
He hired murderers, who were to lie in ambush, and then he went
to his brother and said, dear brother, I know of a hidden
treasure, we will dig it up together, and divide it between us.
The other agreed to this, and accompanied him without suspicion.
While they were on their way the murderers fell on him, bound
him, and would have hanged him to a tree. But just as they were
doing this, loud singing and the sound of a horse’s feet were
heard in the distance. On this their hearts were filled with
terror, and they pushed their prisoner hastily into the sack, hung
it on a branch, and took to flight. He, however, worked up there
until he had made a hole in the sack through which he could put his
head. The man who was coming by was no other than a traveling
student, a young fellow who rode on his way through the wood
joyously singing his song. When he who was aloft saw that someone
was passing below him, he cried, good day. You have come at
a lucky moment. The student looked round on every side, but did
not know whence the voice came. At last he said, who calls
me. Then an answer came from the top of the tree, raise your
eyes, here I sit aloft in the sack of wisdom. In a short time
have I learnt great things, compared with this all schools are
a jest, in a very short time I shall have learnt everything, and
shall descend wiser than all other men. I understand the stars,
and the tracks of the winds, the sand of the sea, the healing of
illness, and the virtues of all herbs, birds and stones. If
you were once within it you would feel what noble things issue
forth from the sack of knowledge.
The student, when he heard all this, was astonished, and said,
blessed be the hour in which I have found you. May not I also
enter the sack for a while. He who was above replied as if
unwillingly, for a short time I will let you get into it, if
you reward me and give me good words, but you must wait an hour
longer, for one thing remains which I must learn before I do it.
When the student had waited a while he became impatient, and begged
to be allowed to get in at once, his thirst for knowledge was
so very great. So he who was above pretended
at last to yield, and said, in order that I may come forth from
the house of knowledge you must let it down by the rope, and
then you shall enter it. So the student let the sack down,
untied it, and set him free, and then cried, now draw me up at
once, and was about to get into the sack. Halt, said the other,
that won’t do, and took him by the head and put him upside down
into the sack, fastened it, and drew the disciple of wisdom up
the tree by the rope. Then he swung him in the air and said, how
goes it with you, my dear fellow. Behold, already you feel wisdom
coming, and you are gaining valuable experience. Keep perfectly
quiet until you become wiser. Thereupon he mounted the student’s
horse and rode away, but in an hour’s time sent someone to let
the student out again.

Listen to the audio from LibriVox here:

The Little Red Hen

The little red Hen
Retold by FLORENCE WHITE WILLIAMS
(Ideal for 4 Year Olds)

little_red_hen-1

A Little Red Hen lived in a barnyard. She spent almost all of her time
walking about the barnyard in her picketty-pecketty fashion,
scratching everywhere for worms.

She dearly loved fat, delicious worms and felt they were absolutely
necessary to the health of her children. As often as she found a worm
she would call “Chuck-chuck-chuck!” to her chickies.

When they were gathered about her, she would distribute choice morsels
of her tid-bit. A busy little body was she!

A cat usually napped lazily in the barn door, not even bothering
herself to scare the rat who ran here and there as he pleased. And as
for the pig who lived in the sty–he did not care what happened so
long as he could eat and grow fat.

One day the Little Red Hen found a Seed. It was a Wheat Seed, but the
Little Red Hen was so accustomed to bugs and worms that she supposed
this to be some new and perhaps very delicious kind of meat. She bit
it gently and found that it resembled a worm in no way whatsoever as
to taste although because it was long and slender, a Little Red Hen
might easily be fooled by its appearance.

Carrying it about, she made many inquiries as to what it might be. She
found it was a Wheat Seed and that, if planted, it would grow up and
when ripe it could be made into flour and then into bread.

When she discovered that, she knew it ought to be planted. She was so
busy hunting food for herself and her family that, naturally, she
thought she ought not to take time to plant it.

So she thought of the Pig–upon whom time must hang heavily and of the
Cat who had nothing to do, and of the great fat Rat with his idle
hours, and she called loudly:

“Who will plant the Seed?”

But the Pig said, “Not I,” and the Cat said, “Not I,” and the Rat
said, “Not I.”

“Well, then,” said the Little Red Hen, “I will.”

And she did.

Then she went on with her daily duties through the long summer days,
scratching for worms and feeding her chicks, while the Pig grew fat,
and the Cat grew fat, and the Rat grew fat, and the Wheat grew tall
and ready for harvest.

So one day the Little Red Hen chanced to notice how large the Wheat
was and that the grain was ripe, so she ran about calling briskly:
“Who will cut the Wheat?”

The Pig said, “Not I,” the Cat said, “Not I,” and the Rat said, “Not
I.”

“Well, then,” said the Little Red Hen, “I will.”

And she did.

She got the sickle from among the farmer’s tools in the barn and
proceeded to cut off all of the big plant of Wheat.

On the ground lay the nicely cut Wheat, ready to be gathered and
threshed, but the newest and yellowest and downiest of Mrs. Hen’s
chicks set up a “peep-peep-peeping” in their most vigorous fashion,
proclaiming to the world at large, but most particularly to their
mother, that she was neglecting them.

Poor Little Red Hen! She felt quite bewildered and hardly knew where
to turn.

Her attention was sorely divided between her duty to her children and
her duty to the Wheat, for which she felt responsible.

So, again, in a very hopeful tone, she called out, “Who will thresh
the Wheat?”

But the Pig, with a grunt, said, “Not I,”
and the Cat, with a meow, said, “Not I,” and
the Rat, with a squeak, said, “Not I.”

So the Little Red Hen, looking, it must be admitted, rather
discouraged, said, “Well, I will, then.”

And she did.

Of course, she had to feed her babies first, though, and when she had
gotten them all to sleep for their afternoon nap, she went out and
threshed the Wheat. Then she called out: “Who will carry the Wheat to
the mill to be ground?”

Turning their backs with snippy glee,
that Pig said, “Not I,”

and that Cat said, “Not I,” and that Rat said, “Not I.”

So the good Little Red Hen could do nothing but say, “I will then.”
And she did.

Carrying the sack of Wheat, she trudged off to the distant mill. There
she ordered the Wheat ground into beautiful white flour. When the
miller brought her the flour she walked slowly back all the way to her
own barnyard in her own picketty-pecketty fashion.

She even managed, in spite of her load, to catch a nice juicy worm now
and then and had one left for the babies when she reached them. Those
cunning little fluff-balls were _so_ glad to see their mother. For the
first time, they really appreciated her.

After this really strenuous day Mrs. Hen retired to her slumbers
earlier than usual–indeed, before the colors came into the sky to
herald the setting of the sun, her usual bedtime hour.

She would have liked to sleep late in the morning, but her chicks,
joining in the morning chorus of the hen yard, drove away all hopes of
such a luxury.

Even as she sleepily half opened one eye, the thought came to her that
to-day that Wheat must, somehow, be made into bread.

She was not in the habit of making bread, although, of course, anyone
can make it if he or she follows the recipe with care, and she knew
perfectly well that she could do it if necessary.

So after her children were fed and made sweet and fresh for the day,
she hunted up the Pig, the Cat and the Rat.

Still confident that they would surely help her some day she sang out,
“Who will make the bread?”

Alas for the Little Red Hen! Once more her hopes were dashed! For the
Pig said, “Not I,”

the Cat said, “Not I,” and the Rat said, “Not I.”

So the Little Red Hen said once more, “I will then,” and she did.

Feeling that she might have known all the time that she would have to
do it all herself, she went and put on a fresh apron and spotless
cook’s cap. First of all she set the dough, as was proper. When it was
time she brought out the moulding board and the baking tins, moulded
the bread, divided it into loaves, and put them into the oven to bake.
All the while the Cat sat lazily by, giggling and chuckling.

And close at hand the vain Rat powdered his nose and admired himself
in a mirror.

In the distance could be heard the long-drawn snores of the dozing
Pig.

At last the great moment arrived. A delicious odor was wafted upon the
autumn breeze. Everywhere the barnyard citizens sniffed the air with
delight.

The Red Hen ambled in her picketty-pecketty way toward the source of
all this excitement.

Although she appeared to be perfectly calm, in reality she could only
with difficulty restrain an impulse to dance and sing, for had she not
done all the work on this wonderful bread?

Small wonder that she was the most excited person in the barnyard!

She did not know whether the bread would be fit to eat, but–joy of
joys!–when the lovely brown loaves came out of the oven, they were
done to perfection.

Then, probably because she had acquired the habit, the Red Hen called:
“Who will eat the Bread?”

All the animals in the barnyard were watching hungrily and smacking
their lips in anticipation, and the Pig said, “I will,” the Cat said,
“I will,” the Rat said, “I will.”

But the Little Red Hen said,

“No, you won’t. I will.”

And she did.

Sweet Porridge

Sweet Porridge
Grimm’s Fairy Tales
(Ideal for 3 Year olds)

There was a poor but good little girl who lived alone with her
mother, and they no longer had anything to eat. So the child went
into the forest, and there an aged woman met her who was aware of her
sorrow, and presented her with a little pot, which when she said,
cook, little pot, cook, would cook good, sweet porridge, and when she
said, stop, little pot, it ceased to cook. The girl took the pot
home to her mother, and now they were freed from their poverty and
hunger, and ate sweet porridge as often as they chose. Once on a
time when the girl had gone out, her mother said, cook, little pot,
cook. And it did cook and she ate till she was satisfied, and then
she wanted the pot to stop cooking, but did not know the word. So it
went on cooking and the porridge rose over the edge, and still it
cooked on until the kitchen and whole house were full, and then the
next house, and then the whole street, just as if it wanted to
satisfy the hunger of the whole world, and there was the greatest
distress, but no one knew how to stop it. At last when only one
single house remained, the child came home and just said, stop,
little pot, and it stopped and gave up cooking, and whosoever wished
to return to the town had to eat his way back.

The Story of the Three Little Pigs

The Story of the Three Little Pigs
England
(Ideal for 4-5 Year Olds)

There was once upon a time a pig who lived with her three children on a large, comfortable, old-fashioned farmyard. The eldest of the little pigs was called Browny, the second Whitey, and the youngest and best looking Blacky. Now Browny was a very dirty little pig, and, I am sorry to say, spent most of his time rolling and wallowing about in the mud. He was never so happy as on a wet day, when the mud in the farmyard got soft, and thick, and slab. Then he would steal away from his mother’s side, and finding the muddiest place in the yard, would roll about in it and thoroughly enjoy himself.

His mother often found fault with him for this, and would shake her head sadly and say, “Ah, Browny! Some day you will be sorry that you did not obey your old mother.”

But no words of advice or warning could cure Browny of his bad habits.

Whitey was quite a clever little pig, but she was greedy. She was always thinking of her food, and looking forward to her dinner. And when the farm girl was seen carrying the pails across the yard, she would rise up on her hind legs and dance and caper with excitement. As soon as the food was poured into the trough she jostled Blacky and Browny out of the way in her eagerness to get the best and biggest bits for herself. Her mother often scolded her for her selfishness, and told her that someday she would suffer for being so greedy and grabbing.

Blacky was a good, nice little pig, neither dirty nor greedy. He had nice dainty ways (for a pig), and his skin was always as smooth and shining as black satin. He was much cleverer than Browny and Whitey, and his mother’s heart used to swell with pride when she heard the farmer’s friends say to each other that someday the little black fellow would be a prize pig.

Now the time came when the mother pig felt old and feeble and near her end. One day she called the three little pigs round her and said, “My children, I feel that I am growing old and weak, and that I shall not live long. Before I die I should like to build a house for each of you, as this dear old sty in which we have lived so happily will be given to a new family of pigs, and you will have to turn out. Now, Browny, what sort of a house would you like to have?”

“A house of mud,” replied Browny, looking longingly at a wet puddle in the corner of the yard.

“And you, Whitey?” said the mother pig in rather a sad voice, for she was disappointed that Browny had made so foolish a choice.

“A house of cabbage,” answered Whitey, with a mouth full, and scarcely raising her snout out of the trough in which she was grubbing for some potato parings.

“Foolish, foolish child!” said the mother pig, looking quite distressed. “And you, Blacky?” turning to her youngest son. “What sort of a house shall I order for you?”

“A house of brick, please mother, as it will be warm in winter and cool in summer, and safe all the year round.”

“That is a sensible little pig,” replied his mother, looking fondly at him. “I will see that the three houses are got ready at once. And now one last piece of advice. You have heard me talk of our old enemy the fox. When he hears that I am dead, he is sure to try and get hold of you, to carry you off to his den. He is very sly and will no doubt disguise himself, and pretend to be a friend, but you must promise me not to let him enter your houses on any pretext whatever.”

And the little pigs readily promised, for they had always had a great fear of the fox, of whom they had heard many terrible tales.

A short time afterwards the old pig died, and the little pigs went to live in their own houses.

Browny was quite delighted with his soft mud walls and with the clay floor, which soon looked like nothing but a big mud pie. But that was what Browny enjoyed, and he was as happy as possible, rolling about all day and making himself in such a mess.

One day, as he was lying half asleep in the mud, he heard a soft knock at his door, and a gentle voice said, “May I come in, Master Browny? I want to see your beautiful new house.”

“Who are you?” said Browny, starting up in great fright, for though the voice sounded gentle, he felt sure it was a feigned voice, and he feared it was the fox.

“I am a friend come to call on you,” answered the voice.

“No, no,” replied Browny, “I don’t believe you are a friend. You are the wicked fox, against whom our mother warned us. I won’t let you in.”

“Oho! Is that the way you answer me?” said the fox, speaking very roughly in his natural voice. “We shall soon see who is master here,” and with his paws he set to work and scraped a large hole in the soft mud walls. A moment later he had jumped through it, and catching Browny by the neck, flung him on his shoulders and trotted off with him to his den.

The next day, as Whitey was munching a few leaves of cabbage out of the corner of her house, the fox stole up to her door, determined to carry her off to join her brother in his den. He began speaking to her in the same feigned gentle voice in which he had spoken to Browny. But it frightend her very much when he said, “I am a friend come to visit you, and to have some of your good cabbage for my dinner.”

“Please don’t touch it,” cried Whitey in great distress. “The cabbages are the walls of my house, and if you eat them you will make a hole, and the wind and rain will come in and give me a cold. Do go away. I am sure you are not a friend, but our wicked enemy the fox.”

And poor Whitey began to whine and to whimper, and to wish that she had not been such a greedy little pig, and had chosen a more solid material than cabbages for her house. But it was too late now, and in another minute the fox had eaten his way through the cabbage walls, and had caught the trembling, shivering Whitey and carried her off to his den.

The next day the fox started off for Blacky’s house, because he had made up his mind that he would get the three little pigs together in his den, and then kill them, and invite all his friends to a feast. But when he reached the brick house, he found that the door was bolted and barred, so in his sly manner he began, “Do let me in, dear Blacky. I have brought you a present of some eggs that I picked up in a farmyard on my way here.”

“No, no, Mister Fox,” replied Blacky. “I am not gong to open my door to you. I know your cunning ways. You have carried off poor Browny and Whitey, but you are not going to get me.”

At this the fox was so angry that he dashed with all his force against the wall, and tried to knock it down. But it was too strong and well built. And though the fox scraped and tore at the bricks with his paws, he only hurt himself, and at last he had to give it up, and limp away with his forepaws all bleeding and sore.

“Never mind!” he cried angrily as he went off. “I’ll catch you another day, see if I don’t, and won’t I grind your bones to powder when I have got you in my den!” And he snarled fiercely and showed his teeth.

Next day Blacky had to go into the neighboring town to do some marketing and to buy a big kettle. As he was walking home with it slung over his shoulder, he heard a sound of steps stealthily creeping after him. For a moment his heart stood still with fear, and then a happy thought came to him. He had just reached the top of a hill, and could see his own little house nestling at the foot of it among the trees. In a moment he had snatched the lid off the kettle and had jumped in himself. Coiling himself round, he lay quite snug in the bottom of the kettle, while with his foreleg he managed to put the lid on, so that he was entirely hidden. With a little kick from the inside, he started the kettle off, and down the hill it rolled full tilt. And when the fox came up, all that he saw was a large black kettle spinning over the ground at a great pace. Very much disappointed, he was just going to turn away, when he saw the kettle stop close to the little brick house, and a moment later, Blacky jumped out of it and escaped with the kettle into the housed, when he barred and bolted the door, and put the shutter up over the window.

“Oho!” exclaimed the fox to himself. “You think you will escape me that way, do you? We shall soon see about that, my friend.” And very quietly and stealthily he prowled round the house looking for some way to climb onto the roof.

In the meantime Blacky had filled the kettle with water, and having put it on the fire, sat down quietly waiting for it to boil. Just as the kettle was beginning to sing, and steam to come out of the spout, he heard a sound like a soft, muffled step, patter, patter, patter overhead, and the next moment the fox’s head and forepaws were seen coming down the chimney. But Blacky very wisely had not put the lid on the kettle, and, with a yelp of pain, the fox fell into the boiling water, and before he could escape, Blacky had popped the lid on, and the fox was scalded to death.

As soon as he was sure that their wicked enemy was really dead, and could do them no further harm, Blacky started off to rescue Browny and Whitey. As he approached the den he heard piteous grunts and squeals from his poor little brother and sister who lived in constant terror of the fox killing and eating them. But when they saw Blacky appear at the entrance to the den, their joy knew no bounds. He quickly found a sharp stone and cut the cords by which they were tied to a stake in the ground, and then all three started off together for Blacky’s house, where they lived happily ever after. And Browny quite gave up rolling in the mud, and Whitey ceased to be greedy, for they never forgot how nearly these faults had brought them to an untimely end.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
Norway
(Ideal for 4-5 Year Olds)

Once upon a time there were three billy goats, who were to go up to the hillside to make themselves fat, and the name of all three was “Gruff.”

On the way up was a bridge over a cascading stream they had to cross; and under the bridge lived a great ugly troll , with eyes as big as saucers, and a nose as long as a poker.

So first of all came the youngest Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

“Trip, trap, trip, trap!” went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll .

“Oh, it is only I, the tiniest Billy Goat Gruff , and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat,” said the billy goat, with such a small voice.

“Now, I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! pray don’t take me. I’m too little, that I am,” said the billy goat. “Wait a bit till the second Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

“Well, be off with you,” said the troll.

A little while after came the second Billy Goat Gruff to cross the bridge.

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap, went the bridge.

“Who’s that tripping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“Oh, it’s the second Billy Goat Gruff , and I’m going up to the hillside to make myself fat,” said the billy goat, who hadn’t such a small voice.

“Now I’m coming to gobble you up,” said the troll.

“Oh, no! Don’t take me. Wait a little till the big Billy Goat Gruff comes. He’s much bigger.”

“Very well! Be off with you,” said the troll.

But just then up came the big Billy Goat Gruff .

Trip, trap, trip, trap, trip, trap! went the bridge, for the billy goat was so heavy that the bridge creaked and groaned under him.

“Who’s that tramping over my bridge?” roared the troll.

“It’s I! The big Billy Goat Gruff ,” said the billy goat, who had an ugly hoarse voice of his own.

“Now I ‘m coming to gobble you up,” roared the troll.

Well, come along! I’ve got two spears,
And I’ll poke your eyeballs out at your ears;
I’ve got besides two curling-stones,
And I’ll crush you to bits, body and bones.

That was what the big billy goat said. And then he flew at the troll, and poked his eyes out with his horns, and crushed him to bits, body and bones, and tossed him out into the cascade, and after that he went up to the hillside. There the billy goats got so fat they were scarcely able to walk home again. And if the fat hasn’t fallen off them, why, they’re still fat; and so,

Snip, snap, snout.
This tale’s told out.

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse
an Aesop Fable
(Ideal for 3 Year Olds)

City Mouse and the Country Mouse
City Mouse and the Country Mouse

A country mouse invited his cousin who lived in the city to come visit him. The city mouse was so disappointed with the sparse meal which was nothing more than a few kernels of corn and a couple of dried berries.

“My poor cousin,” said the city mouse, “you hardly have anything to eat! I do believe that an ant could eat better! Please do come to the city and visit me, and I will show you such rich feasts, readily available for the taking.”

So the country mouse left with his city cousin who brought him to a splendid feast in the city’s alley. The country mouse could not believe his eyes. He had never seen so much food in one place. There was bread, cheese, fruit, cereals, and grains of all sorts scattered about in a warm cozy portion of the alley.

The two mice settled down to eat their wonderful dinner, but before they barely took their first bites, a cat approached their dining area. The two mice scampered away and hid in a small uncomfortable hole until the cat left. Finally, it was quiet, and the unwelcome visitor went to prowl somewhere else. The two mice ventured out of the hole and resumed their abundant feast. Before they could get a proper taste in their mouth, another visitor intruded on their dinner, and the two little mice had to scuttle away quickly.

“Goodbye,” said the country mouse, “You do, indeed, live in a plentiful city, but I am going home where I can enjoy my dinner in peace.”

The Little Gingerbread Man

The Little Gingerbread Man
G. P. PUTNAM’S
(Ideal for 3 Year Olds)

One day, the cook went into the kitchen to make some gingerbread.
She took some flour and water, and treacle and ginger, and mixed
them all well together, and she put in some more water to make it
thin, and then some more flour to make it thick, and a little salt
and some spice, and then she rolled it out into a beautiful,
smooth, dark-yellow dough.

Then she took the square tins and cut out some square cakes for the
little boys, and with some round tins she cut out some round cakes
for the little girls, and then she said, “I’m going to make a
little gingerbread man for little Bobby.” So she took a nice round
lump of dough for his body, and a smaller lump for his head, which
she pulled out a little for the neck. Two other lumps were stuck on
beneath for the legs, and were pulled out into proper shape, with
feet and toes all complete, and two still smaller pieces were made
into arms, with dear little hands and fingers.

But the nicest work was done on the head, for the top was frizzed
up into a pretty sugary hat; on either side was made a dear little
ear, and in front, after the nose had been carefully moulded, a
beautiful mouth was made out of a big raisin, and two bright little
eyes with burnt almonds and caraway seeds.

Then the gingerbread man was finished ready for baking, and a very
jolly little man he was. In fact, he looked so sly that the cook
was afraid he was plotting some mischief, and when the batter was
ready for the oven, she put in the square cakes and she put in the
round cakes; and then she put in the little gingerbread man in a
far back corner, where he couldn’t get away in a hurry.

Then she went up to sweep the parlor, and she swept and she swept
till the clock struck twelve, when she dropped her broom in a
hurry, and exclaiming, “Lawks! the gingerbread will be all baked to
a cinder,” she ran down into the kitchen, and threw open the oven
door. And the square cakes were all done, nice and hard and brown,
and the round cakes were all done, nice and hard and brown, and the
gingerbread man was all done too, nice and hard and brown; and he
was standing up in his corner, with his little caraway-seed eyes
sparkling, and his raisin mouth bubbling over with mischief, while
he waited for the oven door to be opened. The instant the door was
opened, with a hop, skip, and a jump, he went right over the square
cakes and the round cakes, and over the cook’s arm, and before she
could say “Jack Robinson” he was running across the kitchen floor,
as fast as his little legs would carry him, towards the back door,
which was standing wide open, and through which he could see the
garden path.

The old cook turned round as fast as she could, which wasn’t very
fast, for she was rather a heavy woman and she had been quite taken
by surprise, and she saw lying right across the door-way, fast
asleep in the sun, old Mouser, the cat.

“Mouser, Mouser,” she cried, “stop the gingerbread man! I want him
for little Bobby.” When the cook first called, Mouser thought it
was only some one calling in her dreams, and simply rolled over
lazily; and the cook called again, “Mouser, Mouser!” The old cat
sprang up with a jump, but just as she turned round to ask the cook
what all the noise was about, the little gingerbread man cleverly
jumped under her tail, and in an instant was trotting down the
garden walk. Mouser turned in a hurry and ran after, although she
was still rather too sleepy to know what it was she was trying to
catch, and after the cat came the cook, lumbering along rather
heavily, but also making pretty good speed.

Now at the bottom of the walk, lying fast asleep in the sun against
the warm stones of the garden wall, was Towser, the dog.

And the cook called out: “Towser, Towser, stop the gingerbread man!
I want him for little Bobby.”

And when Towser first heard her calling he thought it was some one
speaking in his dreams, and he only turned over on his side, with
another snore, and then the cook called again, “Towser, Towser,
stop him, stop him!”

Then the dog woke up in good earnest, and jumped up on his feet to
see what it was that he should stop. But just as the dog jumped up,
the little gingerbread man, who had been watching for the chance,
quietly slipped between his legs, and climbed up on the top of the
stone wall, so that Towser saw nothing but the cat running towards
him down the walk, and behind the cat the cook, now quite out of
breath.

He thought at once that the cat must have stolen something, and
that it was the cat the cook wanted him to stop. Now, if there was
anything that Towser liked, it was going after the cat, and he
jumped up the walk so fiercely that the poor cat did not have time
to stop herself or to get out of his way, and they came together
with a great fizzing, and barking, and meowing, and howling, and
scratching, and biting, as if a couple of Catherine-wheels had gone
off in the wrong way and had got mixed up with one another.

But the old cook had been running so hard that she was not able to
stop herself any better than the cat had done, and she fell right
on top of the mixed up dog and cat, so that all three rolled over
on the walk in a heap together.

And the cat scratched whichever came nearest, whether it was a
piece of the dog or of the cook, and the dog bit at whatever came
nearest, whether it was a piece of the cat or of the cook, so that
the poor cook was badly pummelled on both sides.

Meanwhile, the gingerbread man had climbed up on the garden wall,
and stood on the top with his hands in his pockets, looking at the
scrimmage, and laughing till the tears ran down from his little
caraway-seed eyes and his raisin mouth was bubbling all over with
fun.

After a little while, the cat managed to pull herself out
from under the cook and the dog, and a very cast-down and
crumpled-up-looking cat she was. She had had enough of hunting
gingerbread men, and she crept back to the kitchen to repair
damages.

The dog, who was very cross because his face had been badly
scratched, let go of the cook, and at last, catching sight of the
gingerbread man, made a bolt for the garden wall. The cook picked
herself up, and although her face was also badly scratched and her
dress was torn, she was determined to see the end of the chase, and
she followed after the dog, though this time more slowly.

When the gingerbread man saw the dog coming, he jumped down on the
farther side of the wall, and began running across the field. Now
in the middle of the field was a tree, and at the foot of the tree
was lying Jocko, the monkey. He wasn’t asleep–monkeys never
are–and when he saw the little man running across the field and
heard the cook calling, “Jocko, Jocko, stop the gingerbread man,”
he at once gave one big jump. But he jumped so fast and so far that
he went right over the gingerbread man, and as luck would have it,
he came down on the back of Towser, the dog, who had just scrambled
over the wall, and whom he had not before noticed. Towser was
naturally taken by surprise, but he turned his head around and
promptly bit off the end of the monkey’s tail, and Jocko quickly
jumped off again, chattering his indignation.

Meanwhile, the gingerbread man had got to the bottom of the tree,
and was saying to himself: “Now, I know the dog can’t climb a tree,
and I don’t believe the old cook can climb a tree; and as for the
monkey I’m not sure, for I’ve never seen a monkey before, but I am
going up.”

So he pulled himself up hand over hand until he had got to the
topmost branch.

But the monkey had jumped with one spring onto the lowest branch,
and in an instant he also was at the top of the tree.

The gingerbread man crawled out to the furthermost end of the
branch, and hung by one hand, but the monkey swung himself under
the branch, and stretching out his long arm, he pulled the
gingerbread man in. Then he held him up and looked at him so
hungrily that the little raisin mouth began to pucker down at the
corners, and the caraway-seed eyes filled with tears.

And then what do you think happened? Why, little Bobby himself came
running up. He had been taking his noon-day nap upstairs, and in
his dreams it seemed as if he kept hearing people call “Little
Bobby, little Bobby!” until finally he jumped up with a start, and
was so sure that some one was calling him that he ran down-stairs,
without even waiting to put on his shoes.

[Illustration: Bobby thought he heard someone calling.]

As he came down, he could see through the window in the field
beyond the garden the cook, and the dog, and the monkey, and could
even hear the barking of Towser and the chattering of Jocko. He
scampered down the walk, with his little bare feet pattering
against the warm gravel, climbed over the wall, and in a few
seconds arrived under the tree, just as Jocko was holding up the
poor little gingerbread man.

“Drop it, Jocko!” cried Bobby, and drop it Jocko did, for he always
had to mind Bobby. He dropped it so straight that the gingerbread
man fell right into Bobby’s uplifted pinafore.

Then Bobby held him up and looked at him, and the little raisin
mouth puckered down lower than ever, and the tears ran right out of
the caraway-seed eyes.

But Bobby was too hungry to mind gingerbread tears, and he gave one
big bite, and swallowed down both legs and a piece of the body.

“OH!” said the gingerbread man, “I’M ONE-THIRD GONE!”

Bobby gave a second bite, and swallowed the rest of the body and
the arms.

“OH!” said the gingerbread man, “I’M TWO-THIRDS GONE!”

Bobby gave a third bite, and gulped down the head.

“_Oh!_” said the gingerbread man, “_I’m all gone!_”

And so he was–and that is the end of the story.

“I Had a Little Turtle”

I Had a Little Turtle

I had a little Turtle,
His name was Tiny Tim.

I put him in the bathtub,
To see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water.
He ate up all the soap.

Now he’s home sick in bed
With bubbles in his throat.

Bubble bubble bubble
Bubble bubble pop.