The Tale of Mr. Tod - Reception


Many of Potter's tales appealed to girls, but Mr. Tod had a strong following among boys, due perhaps to the lengthy fight at the end of the book accompanied by "dreadful bad language". Six-year-old Harold Botcherby wrote Potter asking if the fight between Tod and Brock was still raging. Potter wrote him describing the end of the battle and the injuries to the combatants:

I am sorry to tell you they are still quarreling. Mr. Tod has been living in the willow till he was flooded out; at present he is in the stick house with a bad cold in his head. As for the end of the fight – Mr. Tod had nearly half his hair pulled out of his brush and five bad bites, especially one ear, which is scrumpled up (like you sometimes see nasty old Tom Cat's ears). the only misfortune to Tommy Brock – he had his jacket torn and lost one of his boots. So for a long time he went about with one of his feet bundled up in dirty rags, like an old beggar man. The he found the boot in the quarry. There was a beetle in the boot and several slugs. Tommy Brock ate them. He is a nasty person. He will go on living in Mr. Tod's comfortable house till springtime – then he will move off into the woods & live out doors – and Mr. Tod will come back very, very cautiously – & there will need to be a big spring cleaning!"

In 1915, the children of an unknown family living in a Devonshire rectory wrote to express their disappointment in the lack of a sequel to Mr. Tod. Potter enjoyed continuing the lives of her characters through these letters and responded:

It is sad to have caused such disappointment! I think I saw Tommy Brock's wife last week. I couldn't think who the person reminded me of, and when I read your letter I remembered directly! I am not sure how many of a family there are – lots! and what we call a "long" family, all ages with some long time between. I believe Tommy Brock is very grumpy with the grown-up ones, and makes them clear off into the woods; and, as you know, he is not often at home himself. Mrs. Badger is rather lighter coloured than he is, rather sandy, with little piggy eyes and a snouty nose, and a not particularly clean house, I should say – she finishes wearing out Tommy's celebrated boots. Mr. Tod has been across lately, I smelt him myself; but he had removed before the hounds came.

Read more about this topic:  The Tale Of Mr. Tod

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