|"Hey, diddle, diddle, the cat and the fiddle!"|
|Friends||Tailor of Gloucester|
|Residence||House on College Court, Gloucester|
Simpkin is introduced in The Tailor of Gloucester.
Simpkin is a cat that lives with the Tailor in the kitchen of a house on House on College Court in the city of Gloucester. He likes to capture and eat Mice and. He can hold a grudge but ultimately loves his owner.
Simpkin is at home in the kitchen in the house on House on College Court when the Tailor returns from the Shop in Westgate Street and sends Simpkin out with a groat (coin) which is the last of their fourpence (a coin worth 4 pennies) and a china pipkin (cooking pot)to buy a penny's worth of bread, a penny's worth of milk, and a penny's worth of sausages. The Tailor tells Simpkin to use the last penny to buys penny's worth of cherry-colored silk. He tells Simpkin to make sure he doesn't lose the last penny because he doesn't have any more twist for the coat. Simpkin takes the groat and the pipkin and goes out to buy the items. When Simpkin returns, he opens the door and bounces in, frustrated because he hates snow and he has snow in his ears and collar. He sets down the loaf, the sausages, and the pipkin filled with milk on the dresser while he looks suspiciously at the teacups; he had been looking forward to a supper of little fat mouse. The Tailor asks Simpkin where his twist is but Simpkin is upset with the Tailor for letting the mice go, so he hides a little parcel privately in the teapot. The Tailor goes to bed feeling sad and discouraged. Simpkin searches for a mouse all night long, looking into cupboards and into the teapot where he had hidden the twist but he never finds a mouse. The poor, old Tailor becomes very ill and is unable to go to the little Shop in Westgate Street to work on the coat. Late at night on Christmas Eve, as the moon looks down over the gateway into House on College Court and all the city of Gloucester is fast asleep under the snow, Simpkin hears the Cathedral's clock strike twelve followed by some sort of echo. He opens the door and wanders through the snow and hears a thousand merry voices singing old Christmas rhymes. There is light and sounds of dancing in an attic room and Simpkin sees cats coming out from over the way. He sees birds singing, which is very appealing to him because he is still very hungry. Then Simpkin hears some shrill voices from behind a wooden lattice and walks away shaking his ears when, suddenly, he notices a glow of light coming from the Tailor's Shop. When the cat takes a look in the window, he sees that it's full of candles and full of mice. The little mice cut fabric and sew with thread as they sing loudly and happily. Simpkin meows and scratches at the door but the little Mice laugh and sing another song. All at once, the little Mice begin to shout at Simpkin about how the Tailor has no more twist and they bar up the windows to shut out the cat. Simpkin goes back home and finds the Tailor without a fever, sleeping peacefully. Simpkin walks over to the dresser and takes out the little parcel of silk from the teapot. He looks at it, feeling ashamed of his behavior. When the Tailor wakes up the next morning, he finds Simpkin standing next to his bed and a skein of cherry-colored twisted silk. Simpkin and the Tailor hurry off to the Shop, but the Tailor worries that although now he has twist, he doesn't have enough time to make the coat because it's already Christmas morning; there is only enough time for him to make a button hole. The Tailor unlocks the door to his Shop and Simpkin runs in, expecting to see the little Mice, but no one is there. Instead, they find a beautiful coat, more beautiful than any coat that the Mayor has ever worn. The coat is finished except for a single button hole. In place of the button hole, they find a note with tiny writing that says there is no more twist. After that day, the Tailor's and Simpkin's luck changes and they become quite rich. The Tailor makes beautiful ruffles, embroidered cuffs, and lappets but his button holes are the greatest triumph of all--the stitches of those button holes are so neat and small that people wonder how they could be stitched by an old man in glasses, with crooked old fingers, and a tailor's thimble. The stitches of those button holes are so small that they look as if they are made by little Mice.