A few days ago, we talked about how some of the famous fairy tales probably had their origins before the Bible and even Greek myths. But beyond just their origins, it is their romantic and fantastical appeal that has made them renowned in the first place. To that end, fairy tale aficionados would surely welcome the news of the recent discovery of a century-old ‘lost’ story written by none other than Beatrix Potter. Found by Penguin Random House publisher Jo Hanks around two years ago, the story is titled as ‘The Tale of Kitty-In-Boots‘, and it pertains to a black cat who is apparently leading a double life.
Potter in her lifetime wrote about 30 books, but is mostly known for her 24 children’s book. In fact, her The Tale of Peter Rabbit, has sold more than 45 million copies and has been translated in more than 36 languages. But this time around, a publisher came across one of her long lost works, only after discovering a reference to the tale in a literary history of the author (which is now out-of-print). Instigated by this find, she further assessed the Potter archives at the Victoria and Albert Museum , and finally found the manuscript originally written in 1914.
Interestingly, according to Ms Hanks, it was Beatrix Potter’s intention to actually publish the tale. As the publisher told BBC –
Potter fully intended to publish it. She’d written it twice, rewritten it, polished the manuscript and then had it typeset and started to lay it out in a proof dummy. Then World War I began, she got married and she was very intent on building her farming business. Those interruptions took over and meant she never went back to the tale.
Furthermore, the tale is seemingly still high in quality, as expected from the authorship of Potter. As Ms Hanks added –
I think it’s the best of Beatrix Potter. There’s humor, there’s rebellious characters. During the story we meet a couple of interesting villains.
As for the story, its starts with the following passage –
Once upon a time there was a serious, well-behaved young black cat. It belonged to a kind old lady who assured me that no other cat could compare with Kitty.
And lastly, the full fledged publication of this lost tale (in September, 2016) will mark the 150th birth anniversary of the famed author. This will also coincide with special 50 pence (seven-sided cupro-nickel) coin being produced by the British Royal Mint that depicts Peter Rabbit.