Thursday, 24 April 2014

A House of Toffee and a Tiptoe through the Tulips

I'm sure you all know the story of Hansel and Gretel, but this vintage version told in rhyme is a little different. The witch living at Toffee House is a kind and gentle soul.  When Jack and his twin sister stumble across her home in the forest, the kindly witch takes them in feeds them and offers them a bed for the night.

Jack and his twin sister set out one day, into the woods they went to play, running about amongst the trees they lost their way now, if you please. So off they both ran hand in hand, but suddenly came to a stand, and neither of them spoke a word, was this the house of which they'd heard?



"Come on." said Jack "Let's go quite near." "Oh, goodness," Kate cried, "Do look here." They crept quite close up to the door, and then what do you think they saw? A witch in such a tall black hat, upon her shoulders a black cat, with eyes that turned from red to green. Oh! Such a sight you've never seen. 


and turning round to run away, they heard a kind voice call out "Stay, if you run away in the wood like that, you never will find the right way back!" "Inside my house you both shall see, if you just come along with me, how everything is warm and bright and cats to guard me day and night."


She opened then a cupboard door and oh! what sweets she had in store, the children clapped their hands in glee. 

The witch said, "eat anything you see and if you're thirsty after that, well just you follow my black cat, a Toffee Well not far away is full of sherbet every day."

"I really think we ought to go, but the way home,"said Jack "I do not know." The witch who heard said, "that's alright, why don't you stay with me to-night?" Oh! what a darling little bed, with softest pillow for your head, and in the morning with a sigh, they kissed this kind old witch good-bye.


She stroked her cat and said, "be good, take them both safely through the wood." And pussy right before their eyes grew into a much bigger size! Down paths they turned from left to right, till Jack cried "there's our house in sight." But the cat with it's funny red green eyes had vanished now to their surprise.

Nanny came running, "what a scare you've given us, I do declare. Oh never will I let you stray into those horrid woods to play." They told her all their story through "and every word," said Jack, "is true, and if you will not make a fuss one day we'll take you too with us."



But soon they gave their nurse the slip into the woods they both did skip. But though they searched, 'twas all in vain the witch's house to find again. 

So perhaps when you have read this book you'll all go out and have a look, and if the cat you meet one day then ask him please to show the way.
Toffee House - No author, artist or publishing details given. The only identifying mark is the number 831 printed on the back cover.

The Toffee House is now sold, thank you for your interest.

The front cover reminds me of toffee tins from long ago Christmases. Maybe the artist had the same thought when he/she came to do the illustrations. 

Nursery Rhyme toffee tin produced for Blue Bird confectionery by Harry Vincent.  

The ‘rain’ behind the cottage in the previous picture is a small square of fabric purchased from Barrington Patchwork. Collecting pieces of fabric is just another of my hobbies.  I can never resist even though I have no idea what they will be used for. These are two of my latest purchases;


We visited Barrington Court (and the patchwork shop) last week.  It's one of our favourite National Trust Properties, the gardens are beautiful at this time of the year.

Come Tip Toe Thru the Tulips with me!








I wish you all sunshine and happiness in the coming week...

40 comments:

  1. Oh, what an enchanting post! I love those old illustrations, I love tulips, I love Nick Lucas singing "Tip-Toe Through the Tulips." I've seen some reproductions of those old shape books at my favorite local bookstore, but not this one!

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    1. Hi there, thanks so much for your visit, I’m very happy to meet you. This appears to be an original rather than a reproduction. It certainly has the look & feel of old paper and some very artistic ‘colouring in’. I’ve been singing tiptoe through the tulips all day – I wonder if you have too.
      I will be over to visit you in a bit. Barbara.

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  2. Much nicer than the wicked old hag!
    We love Barrington too!
    M x

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    1. Hi Marina,
      I couldn’t agree more. Most of these stories revolve around something scary but not this one. It's very sweet and gentle.
      We usually visit Barrington in the autumn so it made a nice change to see it in the spring. Have you been into the second-hand book shop? It is well worth a visit.

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  3. I am ALWAYS enchanted by your choices dearest Barbara. You really do take me back to childhood, even though I never saw these versions here in the states. Kind and gentle are the images, and the stories so classic. HAPPY DAY MY FRIEND! Anita

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    1. And I’m always enchanted by your lovely comments. Thank you for your visit. I hope you had a wonderful Easter. Barbara xx

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  4. Such a lovely post as always :)

    I absolutely adore the Toffee House book, so much nicer than the original version.
    But how sad that the author and illustrator are not given a mention.

    So many beautiful images in your post today. I love the tulips.

    Have a lovely day Barbara x

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    1. Hello Yvonne, yes, I find it frustrating when I don’t know the name of the author/artist. I’ve searched every single page in the hope of finding some clue – but there is nothing at all in this one.
      Thanks for your visit. xx

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  5. I know the witch had to be demonized in the later version so there could be a dramatic 'warning' story, but this vintage version is soooo sweet. A toffee well with sherbet every day, and a cat with red-green eyes! The illustrations on your fabric pieces are wonderful. It's nice to collect things even though you don't know what to do with them. I used to do that with buttons and sweet-smelling erasers. As for the blooms and birds, they bring smiles to the world.

    (Oh, and as for replying your readers' comments, it's what I ought to do. Your readers are so warm!) xoxo C.

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    1. Hi Claudine, the older I get the more I crave happy endings so this book really appeals to me. The cat with red-green eyes is such a lovely touch! Some of the rhymes don’t rhyme terribly well, but I probably enjoyed it more because of that! I’ve never heard of anyone collecting sweet-smelling erasers before, but I can sort of see the appeal.
      I’m very lucky with the people that read and comment. They are all incredibly lovely, (and that includes you!) xx

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  6. I loved those garden pictures, flowers are looking so lovely :)

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    1. Hi Aunt Mary, it’s lovely to hear from you. Glad you enjoyed the flowers.

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  7. I had a fantastic Easter dearest Barbara! We got up very early before the sunrise, drove to a lovely lake, watched the sunrise over the water, took a 3 mile walk, had our TEA in the car, read scriptures and poetry, and just loved every moment. But when I got home, I had a bad encounter with a very angry artist whose photo I used way back in 2011. It was a very disappointing experience to receive some very heated up words. Oh well, lesson learned.

    Have a lovely evening. Anita

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    1. Dear Anita, that sounds like the perfect day. What a shame it had to end in such a way. Probably best to try to put it out of your mind and just remember the nice bit. xx

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  8. I love the story told this way. It's not so frightening. The tulips at this time of year are delightful. I always think of Tiny Tim when I hear Tip Toe Through The Tulips! Enjoy your spring.

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    1. Hello Darlene, I agree, it’s much nicer!
      When I Goggled tiptoe through the tulips the Tiny Tim video was the first thing that showed up – I must go back and watch it.
      Thanks for you good wishes. I hope the sun is shining for you. Barbara.

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  9. Hi Barbara,

    This was an interesting twist to another fairy tale. I love the premise and I adore the accompanying photos. This post will "stick" with me, rather like toffee.

    Speaking of Tiptoe through Tulips, I had the misfortune of seeing Tiny Tim in concert in Vancouver, many, many years ago.

    Have a peaceful weekend, my friend.

    Gary

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    1. Hi Gary,
      I really must watch Tiny Tim on YouTube – I feel like I’m missing out!
      I’ve been singing tiptoe through the tulips all day so I rather fear that’s what’s going to ‘stick’ with me.
      Thanks for calling in, Barbara

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  10. How wonderful. Giving that the story of Hansel and Gretel was probably one of the most scariest of stories read to me as a child I'm sure I would have appreciated this one all the more.

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    1. Hi Tracy, I seem to think I enjoyed scary stories when I was a child, it’s now I have a problem with them! Thanks for your comment. Have a good weekend. Barbara.

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  11. I love the illustrations in this version of Hansel and Gretel. :) The twist in this version is excellent, as I have always been scared of the witch. I love that she sends her cat out to help them. What a find, Barbara!

    I can also see why you love the gardens you showcased. What gorgeous pictures!

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. My pleasure Stephanie, thank YOU for taking the time to call in. Have a good weekend, Barbara.

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  12. I much prefer this version of the story. What a find! The illustration is great too :) I hope you had a wonderful Easter.

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    1. Hi Nikki-ann, I had a great Easter thank you. A little down time, a lot of reading and a book fair or two – perfect. I hope you had an enjoyable time.

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  13. What a lovely post. The book looks absolutely enchanting. I used to love rhymes in stories as a kid. This does some lovely memories back.

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    1. Hello Shashi, I’ve always loved rhyming stories too. These sweet books really do bring back memories. Thanks for visiting (sorry I visited your old blog by mistake) – I was happily chatting away to you without realising it was a posting from 2006!!

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  14. I don't ever remember such lovely books. The only one is the one I have asked you about, the boy waking up in Patchwork Quilt land, or Bedland.

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    1. Hello Anne Marie, I wish I could find that story. It has become a challenge for me now. It sounds lovely I wish I could find it and feature it on my blog. Or maybe you will find it first and feature it on yours – that would be equal as good.

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  15. No worries about the mix up Barbara. I am glad you mentioned it because I would not have known that you had posted in the old blog because for some reason I was getting no notifications. Hope you did not think I was ignoring you:).
    Thank you so much for your donation.

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    1. I didn't think that at all Shashi! It was fund reading some of your earlier posts. Best of luck for the 17th May, I hope it goes well.

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  16. Thanks Barbara for the adorable blog posting of gorgeous flowers, spring time birds, illustrations galore and even wonderful music at the end. I loved that video. Happy Spring to you, my friend. It's very windy here right now but warm.

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    1. Hello Eve, I’m glad you enjoyed the music. My mum used to play the piano when I was a little girl and tiptoe through the tulips was part of her repertoire. Other favourites were - I saw mummy kissing Santa Clause, Tom Dooley, You need hands (Max Bygraves), and something else about a deck of cards – I can’t remember much about that one but must try looking it up on Google. Thanks so much for your visit. I hope it stays warm for you.

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  17. Barbara this is the most fantastic book I have seen in awhile! Love the illustrations, just incredible! Now to those gardens, I am so jealous.... we are still weeks away from such beauty... constant rain now and cold. The ice is just coming off the lakes up north! Thank you for giving me some hope that we will see flowers again!

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    1. Thanks Diane! It is a beautiful little book and has obviously been very well loved by someone in the past. I feel for you with all that cold and rain. If it’s any consolation, it’s also raining (again) in the UK, we have yellow flood warnings in place today, the problem is the water just has nowhere to go. We have a garden full of spring flowers, but most of them are up to their necks in water. However, I’m not complaining! I can deal with the rain just not the cold. I hope you get sunshine and spring flowers very soon. xx

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  18. I was missing this post! And this book is so sweet. I especially love that illustration with the kids with the cat.

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    1. Hi Silvina, that’s my favourite illustration too! I always love the pictures on your blog, so I think we must like the same things. Have a lovely weekend. xx

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  19. I loved books that were cut into the shape of something from the story. I don't think I had this particular one but it brings back so many lovely memories of books I adored.
    Your tulip pics are fabulous - especially as today is proving to be a showery one & I'm stuck inside!!!

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    1. Hello Sharon, yes, cold and wet in Somerset too. We had some lovely days at the end of April (hence the tiptoe through the tulips) but it rather feels like winter has returned now. I potted up my Dahlias and put them outside, but I think it might have been a mistake!
      This is a really pretty book, but it has been very well loved by someone so is not in the best of condition.

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  20. How very sweet, and so different from the version I'm most familiar with. Loved the pictures and the video. Brought back fond memories.

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    1. Hi Donna, how lovely to ‘see’ you, thanks for your kind comments.
      Have you got tiptoe through the tulips running around in your head now? I just can’t stop singing it – much to the annoyance of my hubby!

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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