Literature: The Tale Of Timmy Tiptoes

The Tale of Timmy Tiptoes is a Beatrix Potter story about a pair of sensible squirrels, Timmy and his wife Goody. They work hard storing up nuts for winter, but when the other squirrels get the mistaken impression that the two are stealing their nuts, they capture Timmy and imprison him in the very same hollow tree that he was using for nut storage. There, he befriends an irresponsible Chipmunk and the two gentlemen pass a fortnight together in the tree trunk until a storm blows it down and Timmy goes home with Goody.


This story provides examples of:

  • Babies Ever After: The final pages show a reunited Timmy and Goody with some baby squirrels in springtime.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: That hollow trunk was a great hiding place the other squirrels couldn't get in, and Timmy couldn't get out.
  • The Scapegoat: The squirrels can't remember where they hid their nuts, so they assume someone stole them and put the blame on Timmy.
  • Screwy Squirrel: Timmy and Goody avert it, but the rest of the squirrels play it straight.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: The angry squirrel mob who throw Timmy into the hollow tree embody this trope, though they don't have any literal torches or pitchforks.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The little bird singing about stolen nuts. It was just a nonsense song, but the squirrels took it seriously.
  • A Weighty Aesop: Timmy binges on nuts inside the tree and winds up too fat to escape.
  • Women Are Wiser: Goody always suspected the hollow tree would prove to be an impractical storage space, since the entrance was so high up.