This year’s Annual Member-only Figurine, which is only available to members during 2017, has been inspired by one of the most memorable illustrations from Beatrix Potter’s ‘little book’: The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (published in 1918) and depicts the two mice from very different walks of life in an idyllic rural scene, in which Timmy Willie tries to convince Johnny Town-mouse that he will ‘never want to live in town again’.
When little Timmy Willie sneaks in to the vegetable hamper in the garden and falls asleep after eating some peas, he wakes up distraught to find himself transported to house in the nearby town. The shy little mouse trembled with fear at all of the noise going on around him.
When the cook unpacks the vegetables ‘out sprang the terrified Timmy Willie’ who‘rushed along the skirting board till he came to a little hole, and in he popped. He dropped half a foot, and crashed into the middle of a mouse dinner party breaking three glasses.’ The host, Johnny Town-mouse, introduced Timmy Willie to the other nine genteel mice, but try as he might, the little country mouse just didn't feel at home in his new surroundings and became thin and homesick.
Fortunately, Timmy Willie was able to stow away in the empty hamper when it was collected the following week and made it home again, after ‘Johnny Town-mouse had half promised a visit.’
When Johnny Town-mouse visits, he does not find the country at all to his liking, ‘H’m’m! It is a little damp,’ he says whilst ‘carrying his tail under his arm, out of the mud.’ Having never seen a cow or heard a lawnmower, he was quite frightened and couldn’t wait to return to the town.
Beatrix adds a note at the end of the Tale: ‘One place suits one person, another place suits another person. For my part I prefer to live in the country, like Timmy Willie.’
A28096 Timmy Willie & Johnny Town-Mouse
Stock due date: 21st February