(A real letter from a fictional character.)
I’ve been stewing about this since the story first appeared in print, and after 104 years, I feel like I have to stand up and defend myself.
I have been maligned, libeled, me reputation blackened, disparaged, reviled, blamed for children’s nightmares over nine generations, and served as a Stalin figure in too-many-to-count theses analyzing symbolism in children’s literature.
I had no quarrel with Peter Rabbit. But the minute he trespassed and ate my vegetables, when beyond my fence there were meadows and forest, free by Providence for the nibbling. I’d never have barged into their rabbit warren for me afternoon tea!
My door’s always open to Miss Potter if she wants to hear MY side of the story, though it’ll be cold comfort and won’t bring back Mrs. McGregor, whose beauty and good heart were also matched by her naïveté in falling prey to popular opinion of my villainy, and heading off to live with her sister in a farm outside of Glasgow. She wouldn’t tell me exactly where, she says, for fear of my coming to visit and frightening Mole, Rat, Mr. Toad, Mr. Badger, and a whole many other nearby creatures that frittered about the property and took delight in her company.
Thanks for listening,
Mark Morelli is a New York Times Bestseller reader.