The First Chapter
Once upon a time there was a doctor; and his name was Dolittle – John Dolittle, M.D. “M.D.” means that he was a good doctor and knew everything. He lived in a little town. The name of the town was Puddleby. All the people, young and old, knew him well. And when he walked down the street, everyone said, “There goes the Doctor! – He’s a clever man.” And the dogs and the children all ran up and followed behind him.
The house where he lived was quite small; but his garden was very large. His sister, Sarah Dolittle, was a housekeeper for him; but the Doctor looked after the garden himself. He loved animals and kept many kinds of pets. Besides the gold-fish in the pond, he had rabbits in the cupboard, white mice in his piano, a squirrel in the linen closet and a hedgehog in the cellar. He had a cow with a calf too, and an old horse who was twenty-five years old, and chickens, and pigeons, and two lambs, and many other animals. But his favorite pets were Dab-Dab the duck, Jip the dog, Gub-Gub the baby pig, Polynesia the parrot, and the owl Too-Too.