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The Squirrel Story – Written By Beatrix Potter

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Meet Nutkin in the Squirrel Story

Nutkin – The Squirrel

Nutkin – The Squirrel

Do you know Nutkin the squirrel? He who almost lost his tail annoying the Old Brown, he who never uttered his silly riddles afterwards? Yes, we are going to tell you the story of this squirrel and about his adventurous journey with his brother to Owl Island. 

Let us read the Squirrel Story – Nutkin the Squirrel.  

Nutkin – The Squirrel Story

This tale of Nutkin is about his own ‘tail’. Nutkin was a little red squirrel; he had a brother who was named Twinkleberry. They had many other great cousins as well. The brothers lived in the woods near a river’s edge. 

Old Brown living in the hollow oak tree

Old Brown living in the hollow oak tree 

In the lake was an island, and on that island was a hollow oak tree, this was the house of an owl, his name was Old Brown.  

The squirrel brothers rafting to the Owl Island

The squirrel brothers rafting to the Owl Island

In the autumn, when the nuts were ripe, Nutkin and Twinkleberry with other brother squirrels made little rafts and paddled over the water to the Owl Island to gather nuts for themselves. Each of the squirrels carried a sack with them and a large oar, and with the help of their tail, they sailed on the water. They even took three fat mice as an offering to the Old Brown – the owl. 

When they reached, they kept the offering on the owl’s doorstep and made a low bow and said “Old Mr Brown can you please give us the permission to gather nuts from your island?” 

But Nutkin, the squirrel was a bit ill-mannered and thus he cheered up and sang – 

“Riddle me, riddle me, rot-tot-tote!

A little wee man, in a red red coat!

A staff in his hand, and a stone in his throat;

If you’ll tell me this riddle, I’ll give you a groat.”

To this, Mr Brown did not pay any attention, so he went back to sleep while the other squirrels filled their sacks with nuts. They returned to their home in the evening. The next day again, they came to the Owl Island and laid a fine fat mole on Mr Old Brown’s doorstep and again asked for permission to collect nuts from his island. Again today, the impertinent Nutkin began his silly riddle –

“Old Mr B! Riddle-me-ree!

Hitty Pitty within the wall,

Hitty Pitty without the wall;

If you touch Hitty Pitty,

Hitty Pitty will bite you!”

Mr Brown again did not pay any attention to his silliness and carried the mole to his home. On the third day as well, the squirrels gathered enough tasty nuts for themselves. 

On the third day, the squirrels went fishing and caught seven fat minnows and presented them at the doorstep of Old Brown. Suddenly, Nutkin who got no manner sprang up and began singing 

    “The man in the wilderness said to me,

‘How many strawberries grow in the sea?’

I answered him as I thought good—

‘As many red herrings as grow in the wood.’”

Yet again, the owl did not pay attention. The next day Nutkin did the same, he started singing rudely as ever—

“Old Mr B! riddle-me-ree!

Flour of England, the fruit of Spain,

Met together in a shower of rain;

Put in a bag tied round with a string,

If you’ll tell me this riddle,

I’ll give you a ring!”

Again on the next day, Nutkin skipped up and down, singing his silly riddle —

“Hum-a-bum! Buzz! Buzz! Hum-a-bum 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 the Tipple-tine.”

When all this went on for a while, and Nutkin picked up silly riddles to tease him every time; finally, the Owl grew angry. He held Nutkin by his tail and intended to skin him alive. Nutkin pulled himself very hard and luckily he dashed up through the staircase, swearing never to riddle again in his life. 

Now, if you ask Nutkin any riddle, he will throw sticks at you, stamp his feet, and scold you!

The End. 


We hope you enjoyed reading this fantastic story about Nutkin the squirrel. This story teaches us not to be rude to others and irritate them unnecessarily. Mr Brown the owl had held onto his patience for quite a while, but Nutkinhad forced him to react that way. Hence, we should be well-mannered and not try people’s patience and our luck when not required. You can read more of such interesting tales by visiting our website and exploring the huge collection of stories for kids.

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FAQs on The Squirrel Story – Written By Beatrix Potter

1. What is the moral of the story?

The moral of the story is never to tease anyone. As we see in this story, Nutkin made silly riddles to tease Old Brown; Old Brown got so annoyed that he tried to pull off his tail and skin him alive. 

2. Why did Nutkin throw sticks when asked to sing a riddle?

Nutkin was ashamed of his act of teasing Old Brown. Also, he was scared of him, and thus he threw sticks and stamped his feet when he was later asked to sing riddles by anyone.