Thomas Bewick.

The History of little King Pippin : with an account of the melancholy death of four naughty boys, who were devoured by wild beasts : and the wonderful delivery of Master Harry Harmless, by a little white horse online

. (page 1 of 2)
Online LibraryThomas BewickThe History of little King Pippin : with an account of the melancholy death of four naughty boys, who were devoured by wild beasts : and the wonderful delivery of Master Harry Harmless, by a little white horse → online text (page 1 of 2)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

E-text prepared by Meredith Bach and the Project Gutenberg Online
Distributed Proofreading Team ( from digital material
generously made available by Internet Archive/American Libraries

Note: Project Gutenberg also has an HTML version of this
file which includes the original illustrations.
See 28768-h.htm or

Images of the original pages are available through
Internet Archive/American Libraries. See

[Illustration: A King.]

[Illustration: FRONTISPIECE.

Would you be learned, good, and great,
Our Hero strive to imitate;
For Merit was the only Thing
That made poor Pippin's Son a King.]




With an Account of the Melancholy Death of



_Devoured by Wild Beasts_.


Wonderful Delivery of Master Harry Harmless,

by a little



Printed by F. Houlston and Son.

Price Two-pence.




PETER PIPPIN was the son of Gaffer and Gammer Pippin,

_Who liv'd at the Ivy-house under the hill,
And if they are not gone, they live there still._


This is the house, and a pretty little snug place it is, and there is
Peter and his father and mother at the door. Daddy, says Peter, I wish I
could have another pretty little Picture-Book, for I have read Mrs.
Lovechild's Golden Present so often, that I can repeat it without book.
I am very glad to hear it, Peter, says his father, and I wish I could
afford to buy you books as fast as you can learn them. I have been
saving a penny a week these five weeks, to buy the LADDER to LEARNING
for you: well then, says Peter, I have got a penny, which was given me
this morning by Miss Kitty Kindness, so that will make sixpence: O dear,
I should like vastly to have the Ladder to Learning, and you shall see
how fast I will climb up it; pray give me your fivepence, rather, and I
will run to Farmer Giles with it directly, and desire him to bring it
down for me, when he goes to Town next week; and away he ran to Farmer
Giles, and gave him the money to buy the Ladder to Learning. You can't
miss the shop, says Peter, it is just in the midst of the Town, the only
place where all the pretty little books are sold: for, though Peter had
never been in Town, he knew as well as could be, where his old friend
the Publisher lived.


Now a great many silly boys would have spent that penny in apples or
gingerbread, or some such trash, and when they had eaten it, what would
they have been the better for it? Why nothing at all; but Peter did not
lay out his money in such an idle manner; whenever he got a penny, he
bought food for his mind, instead of his belly, and you will find he
afterwards reaped the benefit of it.

Well, the next week Peter had his new book, and here he sits reading it
under the hedge, where he was sent to keep away the crows from Farmer
Giles's corn; and you see he neither neglected his book nor his work.

_Away, Away, John Carrion Crow,
Your Master hath enow
Down in his Barley Mow._

See how he makes them fly, and as soon as they are gone, out he whips
his little book, and reads till they come back again; for Gaffer Pippin,
being but a poor labouring man, could not afford to keep Peter at
school; so he was obliged to go out to work, though he was but six years


But good fortune is generally attendant on good and virtuous actions,
and so it happened to Peter, who was certainly one of the best boys in
the whole country; he always did what his father and mother bid him, not
only without murmuring, but with pleasure in his countenance; he never
went to bed, or got up in the morning, without kneeling down by his
bed-side to say his prayers; nor was he ever known to tell a fib, or
say a naughty word, or to quarrel with his play-fellows.



As he was coming home from work one evening, wishing for another new
book, he could not help crying, because he had no money to buy one; so
being met by Lady Bountiful, whose country seat was but a small distance
from the little Ivy-house, she asked him what he cried for? Peter was
afraid to tell at first, lest she should be angry with him; but her
Ladyship insisted on knowing, and Peter was determined never to tell a
fib, so out came the truth. Well, says she, Peter, you need not have
been ashamed to tell me, there is no harm in it; dry up your tears. I
know you are a good boy, very dutiful to your parents, and obliging to
every one, and since I find you are so desirous of improving your mind,
you shall not be deprived of the benefit of education because you are
poor; so do you and your father come to me to-morrow morning, and I will
see what I can do for you. Peter returned her Ladyship a great many
thanks, made one of his best bows, and ran home whistling and singing as
merry as a grig. As soon as he got within side the door, Good news, good
news, says he, father; you and I are to go to Lady Bountiful's to
morrow-morning; I believe her Ladyship is going to put me to school:
Peter's head was so full of it, that he scarce slept a wink all the
night, and he got up the next morning at four o'clock, put on his
Sunday clothes, washed his face and hands, combed out his hair, and
looked as brisk as a bee; and about six o'clock, away his father and he
trudged to Lady Bountiful's; as soon as they arrived, they were ordered
into her Ladyship's parlour. Well, says she, Gaffer Pippin, since you
cannot afford to put Peter to school, I will send him at my own expence:
so carry this letter to Mr. Teachum the Schoolmaster, and he will be
taken as much care of as if he were my own son. A thousand blessings on
your Ladyship, says the old man, I hope God Almighty will reward you for
your goodness to my poor boy. It is no more than Peter deserves, says
her Ladyship, and as long as he continues such a good boy, he shall not
want a friend; but make haste away with him, Gaffer Pippin, or you will
not get there before it is dark, for they had near twenty miles to walk:
so taking Peter in his hand, they set off towards the school; but they
had not walked above a mile or two, before they were overtaken by a
gentleman's coach, which stopped as soon as it came up with them, and
the gentleman looking out, asked if that was not little Peter Pippin,
whom he had heard was such a good boy? Yes, Sir, replied Gaffer Pippin,
it is. Indeed, says the gentleman, I thought so, from that good nature
so visible in his countenance: pray, how far are you going? To Mr.
Teachum's School, Sir, replied Peter. A very fortunate meeting, says
the gentleman, I am going to the very same place with my two sons, so
you shall ride with them in my coach; you need not trouble yourself to
go any farther, Gaffer Pippin; I will take care of your son: so thanking
the gentleman for his kindness, and bestowing his blessing on Peter, the
old man returned home to his work. As soon as Peter was seated in the
coach, the gentleman informed him, he was going to a school where he
would meet with kind usage and good entertainment: you live very well,
says he to his son, don't you, Tommy? Yes, Sir, very well, replied
Tommy, we have apple-pie two or three times a week; then I dare say, you
know how to spell apple-pie, don't you, Tommy? O yes, Sir, ap-pel-pey.
And how do you spell it, Billy? says he to his other son, ap-pel-pye.
And how do you spell it, Peter? ap-ple-pie, Sir: that's right, you are a
good boy, and there is a sixpence for you; and as for you two dunces, I
will take care you shall neither of you have another bit of apple-pie,
till you know how to spell it; and he was as good as his word; for
though all the rest of the boys had apple-pie the next day for dinner,
neither of them were suffered to eat a bit, because they had not learned
to spell it; so they were obliged to sit and look at the rest, like two
blockheads as they were.



The same affable behaviour which had gained him the esteem of all his
acquaintance at home, soon made little Peter equally respected at
school; nay, all the good boys were so pleased with the sweetness of his
temper, and the good advice which he always gave them, when any quarrel
or disagreement happened between them, that they came to a resolution to
elect him their King, by the title of the King of the Good Boys, and he
was always afterwards called LITTLE KING PIPPIN, (so we shall give him
the same title through the remainder of the history:) and all disputes
between them, of whatever nature, were referred to his decision; and so
great was their respect for their King, and so just were his
determinations on these occasions, that they were always submitted to
without murmuring or repining: as a badge of distinction for their new
king, they made a general subscription, and bought him a fine cap
ornamented with a white feather, and round it was engraved in letters of
gold, "Peter Pippin, King of the Good Boys." A few days after Peter was
chosen King, as George Graceless, Neddy Neverpray, and two or three
other boys, as naughty as themselves, were playing at marbles in the
church-yard, George Graceless's brother Jack, who was a very
good-natured little boy, happened to stop his brother George's marble by
accident, upon which he flew into a violent passion, took the Lord's
name in vain, called his brother a fool, and made use of a great many
other wicked expressions, which so shocked Little King Pippin, who was
sitting on a tomb-stone, just by, reading Mrs. Winlove's Lectures, that
he could not forbear speaking to little Graceless; pray, Master
Graceless, says he, do you know the consequence of these shocking
expressions? did you never read in your Bible, that "Whosoever calleth
his brother a fool, is in danger of hell fire?" and don't you know, that
one of the commandments says, "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord
thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless, that taketh
his name in vain?" Where can you expect to go when you die? Pooh, says
little Graceless, don't tell me any of your nonsensical stuff about
dying, I have many a good year to live yet; do you mind your reading,
and let me alone to my play. Oh fy, oh fy, Master Graceless, says Little
King Pippin, God Almighty, if he pleased, could strike you dead, this
moment, and however secure you may think yourself, be assured,

_There's not a sin that you commit,
Nor wicked word you say,
But in God's dreadful book 'tis writ
Against the judgment day._

There's not a fib that e'er was told,
Or evil thought arose,
_But in that book is safe inroll'd,
As that day will disclose._



Shah, says he, I am not afraid of that, and away he went singing,

_Let us be merry and gay,
And drive away care and sorrow,
We'll laugh and sing to-day,
And talk about death to-morrow,_

as thoughtless and unconcerned as if he had done nothing amiss; and now
the clock striking two, which was the hour for returning to school,
Billy Meanwell, Sammy Sober, Bobby Bright, Tommy Telltruth, and all the
rest of the good boys, with Little King Pippin at their head, ran as
fast as they could, to try who should get into the school first; but
George Graceless and his companions, being on the other side of the
church, saw nothing of their running into school, and their minds were
so taken up with play, that they never heard the clock strike, and
continued playing so long till they were afraid to go in; so at last
they agreed to play truant, and they all went together a bird's nesting.
The first nest they found was a poor little Robin Redbreast's, which one
of them, whose name was Harry Harmless, and who was not so hard-heated
as the rest, (indeed his chief fault was keeping company with these
wicked boys,) persuaded them not to destroy; for, says he, a Robin
Redbreast is such a pretty innocent bird, that I can't find in my heart
to do it any harm, and it was that good-natured bird that covered over
the poor little Children in the Wood with leaves, when they were starved
to death: Pooh, says George Graceless and Tom Tiger, what signifies
talking such stuff as that, and down they pulled the poor Robin's eggs,
nest and all, and left the pretty little bird making such piteous moans,
as would have melted a heart of stone; but they turned a deaf ear to his
tender cries, and went on destroying every nest they could find, without
paying any distinction to the most innocent of the feathered race: at
last they came to a turtle dove's nest, which was on the top of a great
high tree that hung over a deep river; George Graceless, always the most
forward to undertake any dangerous or mischievous exploit, directly
pulled off his coat and waistcoat, and climbed up the tree, but just as
he got to the top, and was stretching out his wicked hand to take away
the turtle dove's eggs, crack goes the limb, and down he fell into the
river! oh save me, save me, I shall be drowned; oh, that I had attended
to the good advice of Little King Pippin, cried he, and with these
words, down he went to the bottom, and was never seen more. The rest of
his companions began now to see the folly and wickedness of neglecting
their books for idle mischief, and heartily repented that they had not
stayed at school instead of playing truant; but dreading to appear
before their master, both on account of their own naughty behaviour, and
the melancholy accident which had happened to George Graceless, they
strolled about from one field to another, till it was quite dark, and
then went and laid themselves under some bushes in an adjacent wood,
where they fell asleep; but alas! their sleep was very short, for in
less than an hour, they were awakened with such terrible howlings of
wild beasts as was scarce ever heard, tigers, wolves, and lions, hunting
for their prey, with eyes that glared like balls of fire, rushed by them
every instant: in this dreadful situation, expecting every moment to be
torn in pieces, Harry Harmless requested them all to betake themselves
to prayer to God Almighty to guard and protect them from the terrible
dangers which now surrounded them. But oh, shame to tell, not one of
them, except Harry Harmless himself, could repeat, or indeed had ever
learned a single prayer; upon which, Harry, justly concluding, that
those naughty boys who had so totally neglected their duty to their
Creator, could have no claim whatever to his protection, thought he
should be in more safety alone than in such wicked company, therefore
moved to a distance from them, and kneeled down to prayer by himself;
and he had not left them but a few minutes before two monstrous lions
came and devoured every one of them: after they had eaten these wicked
boys, they went up to Harry Harmless, but instead of devouring him, as
they had the others, they seemed as fond of him as a dam of her young,
licked his face and hands with their tongues, and then lay down quietly
upon the ground by his side: for God Almighty had heard his prayers, as
he always will those of all good little boys and girls, and had
converted the natural rage and fierceness of these dreadful beasts into
the meekness and gentleness of lambs. When morning came, Harry found he
had wandered so far from home, that he could not tell which way to
return, but as he was sitting on the side of a bank, reflecting on the
danger and folly of keeping such naughty company, and the many wicked
ways little boys are too often undesignedly led into by that means, he
was surprised by the neighing of a horse, and looking round, there was
the prettiest milk-white little creature galloping towards him that ever
was seen, with a little bridle on, and a saddle and stirrups on his
back, and running directly up to Harry, he fell down on his knees,
seemingly to invite him to get on his back; Harry was almost afraid to
trust himself on the little horse at first, but recollecting that the
same Almighty hand which had rescued him from the paws of the lions,
could protect him from every other danger, he mounted on his back, and
he was no sooner seated, but the pretty little thing galloped away with
him as fast as he could run, and never stopt till he brought him within
a little distance of his home; when dropping down again on his knees, in
the same manner as when he took him up, Harry imagining it to be a
signal for him to dismount, immediately alighted, and letting go the
bridle, the little white horse set off neighing and galloping, as when
he first found him, and was out of sight in an instant. As soon as the
account of the unhappy death of George Graceless and his companions was
made known to their master, he was obliged to dispatch a messenger to
inform their parents, and the shocking news had such a melancholy
effect on George Graceless's papa and mamma, that they both died of a
broken heart within a month afterwards; and the parents of the other
naughty boys were so greatly afflicted with their loss, that it rendered
the remainder of their lives miserable. Such were the fatal consequences
of these naughty boys neglecting that duty which every one owes to his
Maker; and which, above all things, should never be forgotten; for, had
they learned their prayers, and said them every evening and morning,
they would not have been at a loss to have repeated them when they were
surrounded by the wild beasts; and then, no doubt, God Almighty would
have saved them, as well as Harry Harmless; and instead of being the
means of breaking their parents' hearts, they might have lived to have
been the comfort and support of their old age, and perhaps have become
as great men as you will find Little King Pippin did.




As Little King Pippin grew in years he rose in the esteem of every one
who knew him, and his acquaintance was courted by all the good boys in
the school, who frequently invited him, at the request of their parents,
to spend the holidays with them. Among others, he went one Christmas
with the son of Sir William Worthy, a wealthy London merchant. This
gentleman, in whom merit always found a friend, was so highly pleased
with the engaging affability of King Pippin's disposition, as well as
the great proficiency he had made in the several branches of learning,
that he thenceforward took him under his protection, and as soon as he
arrived at a proper age, placed him in his counting-house, in which
situation be conducted himself so much to Sir William's satisfaction,
that, having occasion to send out a person to superintend some
plantations which he possessed abroad, King Pippin was fixed on for that
purpose. A ship being provided, and every thing in readiness for the
voyage, after taking a most affectionate leave of his parents and
friends, he set sail for these plantations, which were situated in one
of the West India islands. About a fortnight after their departure,
they had the misfortune to lose the Captain's son, a little boy about
eight or nine years of age, who fell from the ship's side, when she was
under full sail, and was drowned. This melancholy accident is another
striking instance of the unhappy consequences of children's disobedience
to their parents. The little boy, here alluded to, used frequently to
get on the outside of the ship, and let himself down by a rope to paddle
in the sea; he had been several times detected by his papa, in playing
those frolics; and as often reproved for it, and warned of the danger,
but to little purpose; for he was one of those headstrong undutiful
children (of whom I fear there are too many) who, as soon as they are
out of their parents' sight, forget the good advices and prudent
cautions which have been given them, and pursue each idle fancy that
enters their heads, without once considering either the folly or danger
of it, till they are convinced, by fatal experience, that their parents
are much more capable of judging what is proper for them than they are
for themselves.


After this accident, they proceeded on their voyage for several weeks,
with very favourable weather, and had got so near their destined
harbour, that they expected to have made it the next day, but in this
they were unhappily disappointed; for about ten o'clock in the evening
they were overtaken by the most violent storm that the oldest sailor on
board had ever remembered. The waves, which broke mountains high over
the ship, washed several of the sailors overboard, and the rest were so
dispirited and fatigued, that they were obliged to let the ship drive at
the mercy of the wind and waves.

The next morning, as soon as it was light, they perceived that the ship
was carried towards the land with the greatest rapidity; and, as they
every moment expected, about nine o'clock she struck upon a rock; the
boat was immediately hoisted out, and every one on board crowded into
her, except King Pippin, who imagining, that being overloaded, she could
not possibly reach the shore, preferred remaining on the wreck. A very
short time convinced him, that his suspicion was too well grounded; for
before the boat was out of sight, she overset, and every one on board

In this dangerous situation, expecting that the ship would go to pieces
every moment, he continued till the afternoon, when the storm began to
abate, and the sea became tolerably calm, and by the ebb of the tide the
ship was much nearer the land than when she first struck. King Pippin
now conceived hopes of gaining the shore, by means of a raft which he
had constructed in the best manner he could; and, furnishing himself
with such things as he thought might be useful to him on shore, he let
down his raft into the sea, and placing himself on it, began to paddle
towards the land; he had proceeded about a mile with great difficulty,
when a sudden gust of wind instantly overset his whole cargo, and he was
obliged to swim near a mile farther before he could reach the shore.


After returning thanks to God Almighty for his great goodness towards
him, in preserving him alone of the whole ship's crew, King Pippin
began to consider in what manner he should spend the night, which now
drew on apace. Not knowing but there might be wild beasts on the island,
he was for some time at a loss how to secure himself, till recollecting
he had read, that Robinson Crusoe, when he was cast away on an
uninhabited island, had spent the night on the top of a thick tree, he
had recourse to the same method, and after the great fatigue he had
undergone, slept very soundly till morning, when he descended from his
new lodging, and walked several miles about the island, to discover if
it was inhabited, but not being able to find the least traces of any
human creature, he returned towards the sea-side, in hopes that some of
the ship's provisions might be driven on shore; in this too, however, he
was disappointed, and hunger obliged him to set about inventing a snare
for taking some of the goats, of which he had seen great numbers in his
morning walk, but they were so exceeding wild, that it proved a very
laborious task, and employed the greatest part of King Pippin's time
during his stay on the island; indeed he was sometimes so unsuccessful,
that a few vegetables alone were his only sustenance for days together.
Some months after he had been cast away on this solitary place, being
one day greatly fatigued, by a fruitless pursuit of some of these goats,
he sat himself down on the side of a hill, and looking with desponding
eyes towards the sea, he flattered himself that he saw something like a
sail at a great distance; after gazing attentively for several hours,
without once suffering his attention to be diverted from the wished for
object, he was at last, to his unspeakable joy, convinced that it was a
ship, and that she was making directly for the land: about five o'clock
in the evening, they came to anchor at a small distance from the shore,
and having hoisted out their boat, rowed directly into a little creek
near the edge of a wood, where King Pippin, having descended from the
hill, had concealed himself: as soon as they had landed, perceiving as
well by their dress as their language, that they were his countrymen, he


Online LibraryThomas BewickThe History of little King Pippin : with an account of the melancholy death of four naughty boys, who were devoured by wild beasts : and the wonderful delivery of Master Harry Harmless, by a little white horse → online text (page 1 of 2)