Monday, March 12, 2012

Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

A little girl named Lucie lives on a farm called Little-town. She is a good little girl, but has lost three handkerchiefs and a pinafore. She questions Tabby Kitten and Sally Henny-penny about them, but they know nothing. Lucie mounts a stile and spies some white cloths lying in the grass high on a hill behind the farm. She scrambles up the hill along a steep path-way which ends under a big rock. She finds a little door in the hillside, and hears someone singing behind it:

Lily-white and clean, oh!
With little frills between, oh!
Smooth and hot – red rusty spot
Never here be seen, oh!

She knocks. A frightened voice cries out, "Who's that?" Lucie opens the door, and discovers a low-ceilinged kitchen. Everything is tiny, even the pots and pans. At the table stands a short, stout person wearing a tucked-up print gown, an apron, and a striped petticoat. She is ironing. Her little black nose goes sniffle, sniffle, snuffle, and her eyes go twinkle, twinkle, and beneath her little white cap are prickles! She is Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, the animals' laundress and "an excellent clear-starcher". She keeps busy with her work.

The laundered clothing is tied up in bundles and Lucie's handkerchiefs are neatly folded into her clean pinafore. They set off together down the path to return the fresh laundry to the little animals and birds in the neighbourhood.

At the bottom of the hill, Lucie mounts the stile and turns to thank Mrs. Tiggy-winkle. "But what a very odd thing!" Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is "running running running up the hill". Her cap, shawl, and print gown are nowhere to be seen. How small and brown she has grown – and covered with prickles! "Why! Mrs. Tiggy-winkle is nothing but a HEDGEHOG!"

This weekend we found our own little Tiggy-Winkle, but alas there was no pinny, shawl or cap.
What we had instead was a very live hedgehog lying on the driveway by the car.
It still moved when touched and was sniffling around.

We do have hedgehogs in our garden, seeing as the garden has 2 great big hedges down either side, then it is not a shock to find one in the garden, usually we hear them scurrying around in the night.
However we were quite concerned as this was 4pm in broad daylight and that is unusual for these creatures.
We showed the boys and they were quite interested in our new found creature.
When Steve appeared from the garage with a large spade, I was quite shocked especially as he was in the process of telling us that "all these creatures need is a good whack with a spade!" turns out he was getting the spade to be able to move the hedgehog to the hedge in the garden.

It was fascinating to see the defensive mode it manages to go to when feeling under threat.
Its head and feet well protected under its spiky outer.
We moved the hedgehog but it still seemed a little unsure of where to go or what to do.

Eventually, after we had shoo'd the cat away several times, it scurried into the hedge and we left it to its own devises.

However this morning Steve informed us that our little friend was now curled up in a ball, still breathing, on the front lawn.
It strikes me as very odd and weird.
I myself sadly do not think that it will be alive when we get home. I do not think the cats will get it, but for it to be out in the daytime and in the open space as well strikes me as not good. I think something is wrong and sadly it is dying.
So we may have to have a little burial in the back garden tonight, otherwise the cats (mainly the other ones not ours) may play and the last thing we need is a played with hedgehog on the front lawn.

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