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200px-The Tale of the Flopsy Bunnies cover-1

First edition cover.

The Tale of The Flopsy Bunnies is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and first published by Frederick Warne & Co. in July 1909.


Benjamin Bunny and Peter Rabbit are adults. And Benjamin has married his cousin, Flopsy Rabbit (one of Peter's three younger sisters). The couple have six young children (possibly three boys and three girls), who are all nicknamed The Flopsy Bunnies. Benjamin and Flopsy are “very improvident and cheerful” and have some difficulty feeding their children. Sometimes they go to Peter Rabbit (who has a large vegetable garden with his wife), however sometimes Peter cannot spare anything. If that happens, then they cross a field to go to Mr. McGregor’s rubbish heap which has rotten vegetables.

One day they find and feast on lettuces that have shot into flower, and, under their "soporific" influence, fall asleep in the rubbish heap, though Benjamin puts a sack over his head. Mr. McGregor discovers them by accident when tipping grass-clippings down and places them in a sack and ties it shut then sets the sack aside while attending to another matter. (Mr. McGregor, he counts, "One, two, three, four, five, six leetle rabbits". Then he ties up the sack with the six baby rabbits inside.) Benjamin and Flopsy are unable to help their children. Benjamin and Flopsy tried to undo the string on the sack, but it was too strong to untie. Flopsy cries when she hears that her babies have been kidnapped. But a "resourceful" wood mouse called Thomasina Tittlemouse, gnaws a hole in the sack and the bunnies escape. Their parents fill the sack with rotten vegetables (an old blackening brush, three rotten vegetable marrows, and two decayed turnips), and the animals hide under a bush to observe Mr. McGregor's reaction.

Mr. McGregor does not notice the substitution, and carries the sack home, continually counting the six rabbits. Mrs. McGregor still thinks that Mr. McGregor is acting silly. That is, until Mr. McGregor counts them (while showing his wife the sack). (That is, as Mr. McGregor says, "In the sack! It's one, two, three, four, five, six!".)

Mrs. McGregor claims the skins for herself (intending to line her old cloak with them). Mrs. McGregor untied the sack and put her hand inside. But when she reaches into the sack and discovers the rotten vegetables, she became very, very angry. Then she (furiously) accuses her husband of playing a trick on her. (In the cartoon, Mr. McGregor --who accuses her husband-- says to him, "MY OLD BLACKENING BRUSH! AND THE MARROWS I THREW OUT YESTERDAY ARE ROTTEN! YOU SILLY MAN, YOU HAVE MADE A FOOL OF ME! AND YOU HAVE DONE IT ON PURPOSE!". That is, when she sees the rotten vegetables. And she throws a rotten vegetable marrow at Mr. McGregor, which lands in his dinner.) And Mr. McGregor was very angry too. Then one of the rotten vegetable marrows are thrown through the window (by Mr. McGregor). (That is, after Mr. McGregor --also furious-- says to his wife that the Flopsy bunnies have "gotten the better of him again". He says, "OH BEASTIES! THEY HAVE GOTTEN THE BETTER OF ME AGAIN!".)

One of the rotten vegetable marrows came flying out of the window. And it hits the youngest of the eavesdropping bunnies (who has been sitting on the windowsill). (Mrs. McGregor blamed Mr. McGregor, followed by Mr. McGregor who blamed one of the Flopsy bunnies, and followed by the youngest Flopsy Bunny --because the thrown marrow broke his arm when Mr. McGregor threw it at him-- who was carried off in Flopsy and Benjamin's --his parents's-- arms for comfort.) Then the Flopsy bunnies decided it was time to go home.

Finally, the McGregors (after the Flopsy bunnies leave) get into a nasty argument. And they play the blame game. Mrs. McGregor (mockingly) repeats Mr. McGregor's counting patterns. (She says, "One, two, three, four, five, six!".) Mr. McGregor says it is not his fault that the Flopsy bunnies were playing a joke on him all along and admits there were six fat rabbits in the sack. (That is, as he says, "And I tell you there were six fat rabbits in that sack!".) But Mrs. McGregor remains unmoved, despite understanding that it was not her husband's fault that the six rabbits were replaced with rotten vegetables. (That is, as she says, "Keep me for a fool, Mr. John McGregor! I am mad to believe the theories have changed them into marrows!".) And the McGregors (after she --Mrs. McGregor-- says this) continue the argument.

At Christmas, they send the heroic little wood mouse a quantity of rabbit-wool. She makes herself a cloak and a hood, and a muff and mittens.

In the end, the McGregors fail their attempt to get the rabbit tobacco. And Mrs. McGregor orders her husband to go out and find the Flopsy bunnies. Mr. McGregor does as she asks. Then he impatiently gets to the burrow and digs from them with his stick. (That is, as he then says, "WHERE ARE YOU!? YOU WEE LITTLE BEASTIES! I KNOW YOU ARE IN THERE! COME OUT! COME OUT! YOU ARE SIX WEE RABBITS! AND YOU ARE MAKING A FOOL OF MR. JOHN MCGREGOR!".)


In an illustration of Peter with his vegetable garden, a female rabbit wearing a pink dress is next to him. This implies that Peter is married.