Monday, September 24, 2012

Little Stories for Bedtime 1917

The Stories

Illustration for "New Year Wishes and Resolves" (January 2, 1917)
January 2. The animals make New Year's resolutions.
Illustration for "Chatterer learns to have sympathy" (January 8, 1917)
January 3 to January 9. A snow storm rocks the Old Orchard and Chatterer the Red Squirrel learns what it means to be hungry during the winter.
Illustration for "Granny Fox plans to get a fat hen" (January 22, 1917)
January 10 to January 30. Hard weather brings Granny and Reddy Fox to the Brown farm in search of food. Reprinted in Old Granny Fox.
Illustration for "Peter Rabbit gains wealth" (February 2, 1917)
January 31 to February 2. Peter Rabbit is stunned to discover a butterfly during the winter.
Illustration for "Peter Rabbit watches and is watched" (February 3, 1917)
February 2 to February 3. Peter Rabbit learns that Groundhog Day is a silly idea.
Illustration for "Farmer Brown's boy visits Paddy's pond" (February 10, 1917)
February 5 to February 14. Peter Rabbit and Farmer Brown's boy visit Paddy the Beaver's pond. Farmer Brown's boy performs an experiment. 
Illustration for "The planning of a new home" (February 24, 1917)
February 15 to March 3. Romance blossoms between Reddy Fox and Miss Swiftfoot. Reddy fights off a competitor, wins the approval of Granny Fox, and the couple make a new home. 
Illustration for "Bobby Coon has a bad dream" (March 5, 1917)
March 5 to April 12. Bobby Coon suffers a broken leg when Farmer Brown's boy chops down his tree. He is taken to the Brown house to recover (to the chagrin of Black Pussy). After being released, Bobby has a hard time finding a new place to sleep, but finally settles near his cousin Buster Bear. Much of it reprinted in The Adventures of Bobby Coon.
Illustration for "What Nanny Meadow Mouse was doing" (April 21, 1917)
April 13 to April 26. Danny and Nanny Meadow Mouse have adventures on their way back to the Green Meadows and Danny learns that Nanny can fend for herself.
Illustration for "Sammy Jay argues with himself" (May 2, 1917)
April 27 to May 4. Sammy Jay discovers the foxes have new babies and has to decide whether to reveal the secret. 
Illustration for "Farmer Brown's boy puts up signs" (May 9, 1917)
May 5 to May 10. Farmer Brown's boy creates a bird sanctuary in the Old Orchard.
Illustration for "Chubby wanders away" (May 25, 1917)
May 11 to June 9. The adventures of the four fox children: Chubby, Stubby, Dusky, and Cutie.  Dusky learns about scent trails and Chubby gets lost. 
Illustration for "Jimmy Skunk gets a bump on the head" (June 16, 1917)
June 11 to June 23. Jimmy Skunk and Unc' Billy Possum team up to raid Farmer Brown's hen house with disappointing results. Reprinted in The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk.
Illustration for "Learning by doing" (July 2, 1917)
June 25 to July 12. Billy Mink's five children learn how to fish and be safe. The "boldest little mink" is nearly caught by Hooty the Owl; the "timidest" little mink is wisely cautious.
Illustration for "Why Farmer Brown's boy got no potatoes" (July 14, 1917)
July 13 to July 17. Farmer Brown's boy needs to figure out how to get Jimmy Skunk out of his cellar. 
Illustration for "Grandfather Frog has a trying day" (July 21, 1917)
July 18 to July 21. Peter Rabbit learns how Grandfather Frog breathes underwater.
Illustration for "A surprise party" (July 23, 1917)
July 22 to July 26. Peter Rabbit sees baby turtles emerge from ground. 
Illustration for "Grandfather Frog's Eyes" (July 27, 1917)
July 27 to July 28. Peter Rabbit learns about Grandfather Frog's eyes
Illustration for "Peter grows curious about Ol' Mr. Buzzard" (July 30,  1917)
July 30 to August 18. Peter Rabbit, with the help of Sammy Jay, tries to find Ol' Mistah Buzzard's nest. Reprinted in The Adventures of Ol' Mistah Buzzard.
Illustration for "Big Tom asks questions" (August 23, 1917)
August 20 to October 1. Big Tom and Mrs. Gobbler prove too smart for wily Reddy Fox. Then Peter Rabbit must keep secret where Mrs. Gobbler has made her nest. 
Illustration for "Peter does a favor" (October 10, 1917)
October 2 to October 10. Peter learns all about Flitter the Bat and does some baby-sitting.
Illustration for "Buster Bear is piggish" (October 12, 1917)
October 11 to November 3. It is beech-nut time in the Green Forest and there is plenty for everyone, but that doesn't stop Chatterer the Red Squirrel and Happy Jack from fighting over nuts.
Illustration for "Mother Nature's healing touch" (November 10, 1917)
November 5 to November 10. Peter Rabbit tries to comfort Lightfoot the Deer, who is suffering from shotgun wounds.
Illustration for "Peter gets a lesson in logging" (November 15, 1917)
November 12 to November 16. Paddy the Beaver teaches Peter Rabbit about logging.
Illustration for "Farmer Brown's boy tries to smoke out Yowler" (December 8, 1917)
November 17 to December 10. Yowler the Bob Cat terrorizes the Green Forest. Bowser and Farmer Brown's boy intervene to drive him away.
Illustration for "How Buster Bear fought himself" (December 13, 1917)
December 11 to December 14. Buster Bear has a humorous encounter with a rock tied to a string. Then he decides to go to bed for the winter.
Illustration for "A test of two coats" (December 18, 1917)
December 15 to December 20. Peter Rabbit is envious of Jumper the Hare's white winter coat.
Illustration for "Was Johnny Chuck dead?" (December 26, 1917)
December 21 to December 26. Peter Rabbit is unsettled when he crawls into Johnny Chuck's house to see what Johnny looks like when he hibernates. 
Illustration for "The Great Fear" (December 31, 1917)
December 28 to December 31. Beginning of a story about the arrival of Mr. Goshawk. 


In 1917 it was Reddy's Fox's turn to find a mate and have adventurous children. Miss Swiftfoot, usually called "Mrs. Reddy," effectively replaced Granny Fox as Reddy's hunting partner. She eventually became one of Burgess's greatest (if lesser known) female creations. Billy Mink also had children and Burgess began a practice of naming offspring by temperaments ("the boldest/timidest little mink"). In coming years, being labeled "the boldest..." would be a death sentence, but not yet.

The strong anti-hunting tone of 1916 was toned down, restricted to a week-long story about Lightfoot the Deer and his recovery from shotgun wounds. In May, Farmer Brown's boy went beyond simply feeding the birds and constructed a full-fledged bird sanctuary. This paralleled Burgess's work promoting bird sanctuaries for the People's Home Journal's Green Meadow Club.

Peter Rabbit and his endless curiosity remained the main conduit into teaching nature facts, from the shape of bullfrog eyes to beaver logging behavior. Burgess made Peter Rabbit envious of Jumper the Hare's white coat. You may remember that Burgess mistakenly gave Peter Rabbit a white winter coat in 1913. This seems to be a pattern--when he'd make a mistake,  Burgess would go out of his way to make a correction (sometimes repeatedly) in future years.

Farmer Brown's boy

Tommy Brown continued his role as savior and nurse to animals in need, to Bobby Coon in particular in 1917. He was still not above tormenting Unc' Billy Possum (tickling his nose when he tried to play dead) or "experimenting" with the beaver dam (and causing Paddy quite a bit of anxiety). And he would intervene (this would cease in later years) to protect his animal friends from fearsome predators, including Yowler the Bobcat and in a 1917/1918 story, Mr. Goshawk (later named "Terror").  The wild turkeys that show up in the Green Forest, it turns out, were released by Farmer Brown's boy. 

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