On the fifth day the squirrels brought a present of wild honey; it was so sweet and sticky that they licked their fingers as they put it down upon the stone. They had stolen it out of a bumble bees’ nest on the tippitty top of the hill.
But Nutkin skipped up and down, singing—
“Hum-a-bum! buzz! buzz!
As I went over Tipple-tine
I met a flock of bonny swine;
Some yellow-nacked, some yellow backed!
They were the very bonniest swine
That e’er went over Tipple-tine.”
Old Mr. Brown turned up his eyes in disgust at the impertinence of Nutkin.
But he ate up the honey!
The squirrels filled their little sacks with nuts.
But Nutkin sat upon a big flat rock, and played ninepins with a crab apple and green fir-cones.
On the sixth day, which was Saturday, the squirrels came again for the last time; they brought a new-laid egg in a little rush basket as a last parting present for Old Brown.
But Nutkin ran in front laughing, and shouting—
“Humpty Dumpty lies
in the beck,
With a white counterpane round his neck,
Forty doctors and forty wrights,
Cannot put Humpty Dumpty to rights!”
Now old Mr. Brown took an interest in eggs; he opened one eye and shut it again. But still he did not speak.
Nutkin became more and more impertinent—
B! Old Mr. B!
Hickamore, Hackamore, on the King’s kitchen door;
All the King’s horses, and all the King’s men,
Couldn’t drive Hickamore, Hackamore,
Off the King’s kitchen door.”
Nutkin danced up and down like a sunbeam; but still Old Brown said nothing at all.
Nutkin began again—
has broken his band,
He comes roaring up the land!
The King of Scots with all his power,
Cannot turn Arthur of the Bower!”
Nutkin made a whirring noise to sound like the wind, and he took a running jump right onto the head of Old Brown!...
Then all at once there was a flutterment and a scufflement and a loud “Squeak!”
The other squirrels scuttered away into the bushes.
When they came back very cautiously, peeping round the tree—there was Old Brown sitting on his door-step, quite still, with his eyes closed, as if nothing had happened.
* * * * *
But Nutkin was in his waistcoat pocket!
This looks like the end of the story; but it isn’t.
Old Brown carried Nutkin into his house, and held him up by the tail, intending to skin him; but Nutkin pulled so very hard that his tail broke in two, and he dashed up the staircase and escaped out of the attic window.