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The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan   By: (1866-1943)

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Author of "The Tale of Peter Rabbit," &c.

Pussy cat sits by the fire how should she be fair? In walks the little dog says "Pussy are you there? How do you do Mistress Pussy? Mistress Pussy, how do you do?" "I thank you kindly, little dog. I fare as well as you!"

Old Rhyme.




Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd Street, New York, New York 10010, U.S.A. Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 2801 John Street, Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 1B4 Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182 190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand

First published 1905 This impression 1985

Printed and bound in Great Britain by William Clowes Limited, Beccles and London


Once upon a time there was a Pussy cat called Ribby, who invited a little dog called Duchess, to tea.

"Come in good time, my dear Duchess," said Ribby's letter, "and we will have something so very nice. I am baking it in a pie dish a pie dish with a pink rim. You never tasted anything so good! And you shall eat it all! I will eat muffins, my dear Duchess!" wrote Ribby.

Duchess read the letter and wrote an answer: "I will come with much pleasure at a quarter past four. But it is very strange. I was just going to invite you to come here, to supper, my dear Ribby, to eat something most delicious .

"I will come very punctually, my dear Ribby," wrote Duchess; and then at the end she added "I hope it isn't mouse?"

[Illustration: THE INVITATION]

And then she thought that did not look quite polite; so she scratched out "isn't mouse" and changed it to "I hope it will be fine," and she gave her letter to the postman.

But she thought a great deal about Ribby's pie, and she read Ribby's letter over and over again.

"I am dreadfully afraid it will be mouse!" said Duchess to herself "I really couldn't, couldn't eat mouse pie. And I shall have to eat it, because it is a party. And my pie was going to be veal and ham. A pink and white pie dish! and so is mine; just like Ribby's dishes; they were both bought at Tabitha Twitchit's."

Duchess went into her larder and took the pie off a shelf and looked at it.


"It is all ready to put into the oven. Such lovely pie crust; and I put in a little tin patty pan to hold up the crust; and I made a hole in the middle with a fork to let out the steam Oh I do wish I could eat my own pie, instead of a pie made of mouse!"

Duchess considered and considered and read Ribby's letter again

"A pink and white pie dish and you shall eat it all . 'You' means me then Ribby is not going to even taste the pie herself? A pink and white pie dish! Ribby is sure to go out to buy the muffins.... Oh what a good idea! Why shouldn't I rush along and put my pie into Ribby's oven when Ribby isn't there?"


Duchess was quite delighted with her own cleverness!

Ribby in the meantime had received Duchess's answer, and as soon as she was sure that the little dog could come she popped her pie into the oven. There were two ovens, one above the other; some other knobs and handles were only ornamental and not intended to open. Ribby put the pie into the lower oven; the door was very stiff.

"The top oven bakes too quickly," said Ribby to herself. "It is a pie of the most delicate and tender mouse minced up with bacon. And I have taken out all the bones; because Duchess did nearly choke herself with a fish bone last time I gave a party. She eats a little fast rather big mouthfuls. But a most genteel and elegant little dog; infinitely superior company to Cousin Tabitha Twitchit."

[Illustration: THE PIE MADE OF MOUSE]

Ribby put on some coal and swept up the hearth... Continue reading book >>

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