Tomas Daukša, Lights of Happiness


Light sculptures in Riga

The Tale of Peter Beaver

ONCE upon a time there were four little Beavers, and their names were “Plopsy, Plucksy, Paddle-tail, and Peter”. They lived with their Mother in a river-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.
“NOW my dears,” said old Mrs. Beaver one morning, “you may go into the lake or down the stream, but don’t go into Mr. McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a stew by Mrs. McGregor.”
“NOW run along, and don’t get into mischief. I am going out.”
THEN old Mrs. Beaver took a basket and her umbrella, and swam through the river to the baker’s. She bought a loaf of brown bread and five currant buns.
Plopsy, Plucksy and Paddle-tail, who were good little beavers, went down the stream to gather young willow branches:
BUT Peter, who was very naughty, swam straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate!
FIRST he ate away some bark from the apple-tree and the plum-tree; and then he gnawed some currant branches;
AND then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some cherry-trees.
BUT round the end of a cucumber frame, whom should he meet but Mr. McGregor!
MR. McGregor was on his hands and knees planting out young cabbages, but he jumped up and ran after Peter, waving a rake and calling out, “Stop thief!”
PETER was most dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden, for he had forgotten the way back to the gate. He lost one of his galoshes among the cabbages, and the other galosh amongst the potatoes.
AFTER losing them, he ran on four legs and went faster, so that I think he might have got away altogether if he had not unfortunately run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his rain jacket. It was a blue jacket with brass buttons, quite new.
PETER gave himself up for lost, and shed big tears; but his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself.
MR. McGregor came up with a sieve, which he intended to pop upon the top of Peter; but Peter wriggled out just in time, leaving his rain jacket behind him.
AND rushed into the tool-shed, and crawled into a can. It would have been a beautiful thing to hide in, if it had not been completely dry.
MR. McGregor was quite sure that Peter was somewhere in the tool-shed, perhaps hidden underneath a flower-pot. He began to turn them over carefully, looking under each. Presently Peter sneezed “Kertyschoo!” Mr. McGregor was after him in no time.
AND tried to put his foot upon Peter, who rolled out of a window, upsetting three plants. The window was too small for Mr. McGregor, and he was tired of running after Peter. He went back to his work.
PETER sat down to rest; he was out of breath and trembling with fright, and he had not the least idea which way to go. Also he was very dry with being out of water for so long. After a time he began to wander about, ruffling not very fast, and looking all round.
HE found a door in a wall; but it was locked, and there was no room for a fat little beaver to squeeze underneath. An old mouse was running in and out over the stone doorstep, carrying peas and beans to her family in the wood. Peter asked her the way to the gate, but she had such a large pea in her mouth that she could not answer. She only shook her head at him. Peter began to cry.
THEN he tried to find his way straight across the garden, but he became more and more puzzled. Presently, he came to a pond where Mr. McGregor filled his water-cans. A white cat was staring at some gold-fish, she sat very, very still, but now and then the tip of her tail twitched as if it were alive. Peter thought it best to go away without speaking to her; he had heard about cats from his cousin, little Benjamin Beaver.
HE went back towards the tool-shed, but suddenly, quite close to him, he heard the noise of a hoe–scr- r-ritch, scratch, scratch, scritch. Peter scuttered underneath the bushes. But presently, as nothing happened, he came out, and climbed upon a wheelbarrow and peeped over. The first thing he saw was Mr. McGregor hoeing onions. His back was turned towards Peter, and beyond him was the gate!
PETER got down very quietly off the wheelbarrow; and started running as fast as he could go, along a straight walk behind some black-currant bushes. Mr. McGregor caught sight of him at the corner, but Peter did not care. He slipped underneath the gate, and was safe at last in the river outside the garden.
MR. McGregor hung up the little rain jacket and the galoshes for a scare-crow to frighten the blackbirds. Peter never stopped swimming or looked behind him till he got home to the big fir-tree.
HE was so tired that he flopped down upon the nice soft sand on the floor of the beaver-den and shut his eyes. His mother was busy cooking; she wondered what he had done with his clothes. It was the second little rain jacket and pair of galoshes that Peter had lost in a fortnight!
I am sorry to say that Peter was not very well during the evening. His mother put him to bed, and made some camomile tea; and she gave a dose of it to Peter! “One table-spoonful to be taken at bed-time.”
BUT Plopsy, Plucksy and Paddle-tail had bread and milk and young willow branches for supper.

Text by Beatrix Potter (The Tale of Peter Rabbit, 1902), changes made by Tomas Daukša


Tomas Daukša (Lithuania). In 1990 Tomas Daukša started attending kindergarten ‘Fairy Tale’ where he developed an interest in spontaneous processes and collaborative practice. Of many noteworthy projects implemented during that time, arguably the most extraordinary was a mass unsanctioned escape orchestrated in collaboration with another nursery school. Parallel to these spontaneous events Daukša attended music school for eight years where he learned to play the piano. After graduating from school he never touched the instrument again and claims to have successfully lost all of the skills he obtained during that period. In 2019, Daukša was awarded his doctorate from the Vilnius Academy of Arts.