Little Miss Muffet's father was a big banker in a big city,
and he had
so much money that the house he lived in was almost as beautiful
king's palace. It was built of granite and marble, and richly
furnished with every luxury that money can buy. There was an army
servants about the house, and many of them had no other duties
wait upon Miss Muffet, for the little girl was an only child and
therefore a personage of great importance. She had a maid to dress
hair and a maid to bathe her, a maid to serve her at a table and
maid to tie her shoe-strings, and several maids beside And then
was Nurse Holloweg to look after all the maids and see they did
The child's father spent his days at his office and his evenings
his club; her mother was a leader in society, and therefore fully
engaged from morning till night and from night till morn; so that
Little Miss Muffet seldom saw her parents and scarce knew them
she did see them.
I have never known by what name she was christened. Perhaps she
not know herself, for everyone had called her "Miss Muffet"
could remember. The servants spoke of her respectfully as Miss
Mrs. Muffet would say, at times, "By the way, Nurse, how
Muffet getting along?" And Mr. Muffet, when he met his little
by chance on the walk or in the hallway, would stop and look at
gravely and say, "So this is Miss Muffet. Well, how are you
little one?" And then, without heeding her answer, he would
Perhaps you think that Miss Muffet, surrounded by every luxury
with a dozen servants to wait upon her, was happy and contented;
such was not the case. She wanted to run and romp, but they told
it was unladylike; she wished to play with other children, but
were rich enough to be proper associates for her; she longed to
the dirt in the garden, but Nurse Holloweg was shocked at the
thought. So Miss Muffet became sullen and irritable, and scolded
everyone about her, and lived a very unhappy life. And her food
too rich and gave her dyspepsia, so that she grew thin and pale
did not sleep well at night.
One afternoon her mother, who happened to be at home for an hour,
suddenly thought of her little daughter; so she rang the bell
asked for Nurse Holloweg.
"How is Miss Muffet, Nurse?" enquired the lady.
"Very badly, ma'am," was the reply.
"Badly! What do you mean? Is she ill?"
"She 's far from well, ma'am," answered the Nurse,
"and seems to be
getting worse every day."
"Well," replied the lady; "you must have the doctor
to see her; and do
n't forget to let me know what he says. That is all, Nurse."
She turned to her novel again, and the Nurse walked away and
servant for the doctor. That great man, when he came, shook his
solemnly and said,
"She must have a change. Take her away into the country
as soon as
"And very good advice it was, too," remarked the Nurse
to one of the
maids; "for I feel as if I needed a change myself."
When she reported the matter to Mrs. Muffet the mother answered,
"Very well; I will see Mr. Muffet and have him write out
And so it was that a week later Little Miss Muffet went to the
country, or rather to a small town where there was a summer hotel
had been highly recommended to Nurse Holloweg; and with her went
string of maids and a wagon-load of boxes and trunks.
The morning after their arrival the little girl asked to go out
"Well," replied Nurse Holloweg, "Sarah can take
you out for half an
hour. But remember you are not to run and get heated, for that
ruin your complexion; and you must not speak to any of the common
children you meet, for your mother would object; and you must
your shoes dusty nor your dress soiled, nor disobey Sarah in any
Little Miss Muffet went out in a very angry and sulky mood.
"What 's the use of being in the country," she thought,
"if I must act
just as I did in the city? I hate Nurse Holloweg, and Sarah, and
the rest of them! and if I dared I 'd just--just run away."
Indeed, a few minutes later, when Sarah had fallen asleep upon
under a big shade tree, Miss Muffet decided she would really run
for once in her life, and see how it seemed.
There was a pretty lane near by, running between shady trees
into the country, and, stealing softly away from Sarah's side,
little girl ran as fast as she could go, and never stopped until
was all out of breath.
While she rested and wondered what she could do next, a farmer
along, driving an empty cart.
"I 'll catch on behind," said Miss Muffet, gleefully,
"just as I 've
seen the boys do in the city. Won't it be fun!"
So she ran and caught on the end of the cart, and actually climbed
into it, falling all in a heap upon the straw that lay upon the
bottom. But it did n't hurt her at all, and the next minute the
whipped up his horses, and they went trotting along the lane,
Miss Muffet farther and farther away from hated Nurse Holloweg
She looked around upon the green fields and the waving grain,
in deep breaths of the fresh country air, and was happy for almost
first time in her little life. By and by she lay back upon the
and fell asleep; and the farmer, who did not know she was in his
drove on for many miles, until at last he stopped at a small wooden
farmhouse, and jumped to the ground.
A woman came to the door to greet him, and he said to her.
"Well, mother, we 're home again, you see."
"So I see," she answered; "but did you bring my
"Yes," he replied, as he began to unharness the horses;
"they are in
So she came to the cart and looked within, and saw Miss Muffet,
was still asleep.
"Where did you get the little girl?" asked the farmer's
"What little girl?" asked he.
"The one in the cart."
He came to the cart and looked in, and was as surprised as his
"She must have climbed into the cart when I left the town,"
"but waken her, wife, and we will hear what she has to say."
So the farmer's wife shook the girl by the arm, and Miss Muffet
in the cart and rubbed her eyes and wondered where she was.
"How came you in my cart?" asked the farmer.
"I caught on behind, and climbed in," answered the
"What is your name, and where do you live?" enquired
"My name is Miss Muffet, and I live in a big city,--but
where, I do
And that was all she could tell them, so the woman said at last,
"We must keep her till some one comes to claim her, and
she can earn
her living by helping me make the cheeses."
"That will be nice," said Miss Muffet, with a laugh,
Holloweg never lets me do anything, and I should like to help
So they led her into the house, where the farmer's wife wondered
the fine texture of her dress and admired the golden chain that
around her neck.
"Some one will surely come for her," the woman said
to her husband,
"for she is richly dressed and must belong to a family of
Nevertheless, when they had eaten dinner, for which Little Miss
had a wonderful appetite, the woman took her into the dairy and
her how she could assist her in curdling the milk and preparing
"Why, it 's really fun to work," said the girl, at
first, "and I
should like to live here always. I do hope Nurse Holloweg will
After a time, however, she grew weary, and wanted to rest; but
woman had not yet finished her cheese-making, so she bade the
keep at her tasks.
"It 's time enough to rest when the work is done,"
she said, "and if
you stay with me you must earn your board. No one is allowed to
in this house."
So Little Miss Muffet, though she felt like crying and was very
kept at her work until at length all was finished and the last
was in the press.
"Now," said the farmer's wife, "since you have
worked so well I shall
give you a dish of curds and whey for your supper, and you may
into the orchard and eat it under the shade of the trees."
Little Miss Muffet had never eaten curds and whey before, and
know how they tasted; but she was very hungry, so she took the
and went into the orchard.
She first looked around for a place to sit down, and finally
discovered a little grassy mound, which is called a tuffet in
country, and seated herself upon it. Then she tasted the curds
whey and found them very good.
But while she was eating she chanced to look down at her feet,
there was a great black spider coming straight towards her. The
had never seen such an enormous and hideous-looking spider before,
she was so frightened that she gave a scream and tipped backward
the tuffet, spilling the curds and whey all over her dress as
so. This frightened her more than ever, and as soon as she could
upon her feet she scampered away to the farmhouse as fast as she
go, crying bitterly as she ran.
The farmer's wife tried to comfort her, and Miss Muffet, between
sobs, said she had seen "the awfulest, biggest, blackest
spider in all
This made the woman laugh, for she was not afraid of spiders.
Soon after they heard a sound of wheels upon the road and a handsome
carriage came dashing up to the gate.
"Has anyone seen a little girl who has run away?" asked
Holloweg, leaning out of the carriage.
"Oh, yes" answered Little Miss Muffet; "here I
am, Nurse. And she ran
out and jumped into the carriage, for she was very glad to get
again to those who would care for her and not ask her to work
When they were driving back to the town the Nurse said,
"You must promise me, Miss Muffet, never to run away again.
frightened me nearly into hysterics, and had you been lost your
would have been quite disappointed."
The little girl was silent for a time; then she answered,
"I will promise not to run away if you will let me play
children do. But if you do not allow me to run and romp and dig
ground, I shall keep running away, no matter how many horrid spiders
come to frighten me!"
And Nurse Holloweg, who had really been much alarmed at so nearly
losing her precious charge, thought it wise to agree to Miss Muffet's
She kept her word, too, and when Little Miss Muffet went back
home in the city her cheeks were as red as roses and her eyes
with health. And she grew, in time, to be a beautiful young lady,
as healthy and robust as she was beautiful. Seeing which, the
put an extra large fee in his bill for advising that the little
be taken to the country; and Mr. Muffet paid it without a word
Even after Miss Muffet grew up and was married she never forgot
day that she ran away, nor the curds and whey she ate for her
nor the great spider that frightened her away from the tuffet.