Bertie’s Escapade by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard
1949, J.B. Lippincott Company
For Boxing Day we have Bertie’s Escapade. While The Wind in the Willows is obviously far more well-known, this more obscure work by Grahame is also interesting in its own right. It’s a much shorter book, originally published in First Whisper of the Wind in the Willows.
The story concerns a pig named Bertie who decides he is going to go carol-singing on a Winter’s night. He convinces a pair of rabbits to come along. Their names are Peter and Benjie, but I don’t think they are meant to be Beatrix Potter’s rabbits, just named after them.
Bertie isn’t actually a very nice pig. He’s extremely bossy and even threatens to bite Benjie when the rabbit is reluctant to come along. But Benjie is right to be cautious, as Bertie’s plan doesn’t really work out at all and the carol-singers end up being chased off by dogs.
Bertie makes the best of it, however, and he, the rabbits, and a mole (probably not Moley, as he is married, has a job as an elevator operator, and a somewhat gruff personality) have a supper party by stealing a bunch of food from a Mr Grahame. I don’t know if Kenneth Grahame really did have a pig named Bertie and rabbits named Peter and Benjie, but it is an interesting way to end the story.
Bertie’s Stolen Midnight Supper Menu
This is definitely a fun little book, notable more for comedy than sentiment, but reading something funny while eating far too much indulgent food is a very good way to spend Boxing Day.