Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stories for the Season: The Tailor of Gloucester

"The Tailor of Gloucester" became one of the Christmas stories read to children each year and because Beatrix Potter's work is so closely linked to fairy tales (in fact, that was often her aim: to write new ones) I feel I can highlight it here. The story was initially self-published by the author and not available in her collections but it's now included in the big box sets. (You can read the story online HERE.)

It also seems Ms. Potter wrote this story specifically for someone, as the inscription indicates (below):

Because you are fond of fairy-tales, and have been ill, I have made you a story all for yourself—a new one that nobody has read before. And the queerest thing about it is—that I heard it in Gloucestershire, and that it is true—at least about the tailor, the waistcoat, and the "No more twist!"
Christmas, 1901
The plot is as follows (from Wikipedia):
A tailor in Gloucester sends his cat Simpkin to buy food and a twist of cherry-coloured silk to complete a waistcoat the mayor has commissioned for his wedding on Christmas morning. While Simpkin is gone, the tailor finds mice the cat has imprisoned under teacups. The mice are released and scamper away. When Simpkin returns and finds his mice gone, he hides the twist in anger.
The tailor falls ill and is unable to complete the waistcoat, but, upon returning to his shop, he is surprised to find the waistcoat finished. The work has been done by the grateful mice. However, one buttonhole remains unfinished because there was "no more twist!" Simpkin gives the tailor the twist to complete the work and the success of the waistcoat makes the tailor's fortune.
On Christmas Day this year, some lovely person uploaded the wonderfully done live action film adaptation from 1989 onto YouTube for us all to enjoy.
All five parts should play in order. Enjoy!

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