The Pie and the Patty-Pan book cover

The Pie and the Patty-Pan

"The Pie and the Patty-Pan" is a children's story by Beatrix Potter, featuring her anthropomorphic animal characters, Duchess the dog and Ribby the cat. The tale revolves around a mix-up involving a pie for tea. Duchess believes she has accidentally swallowed a small baking dish, leading to a series of misunderstandings and confusions. The book showcases themes of friendship, honesty, and the chaos of misunderstandings, while presenting various quirky animal characters and charming illustrations.

Genre: Children
Year:
1902
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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] 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. "I will come very punctually, my dear Ribby," wrote Duchess; and then at the end she added--"I hope it isn't mouse?" 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. "Oh what a good idea! Why shouldn't I rush along and put my pie into Ribby's oven when Ribby isn't there?" Ribby in the meantime had received Duchess's answer, and as soon as she was sure that the little dog would 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. Ribby put on some coal and swept up the hearth. Then she went out with a can to the well, for water to fill up the kettle. Then she began to set the room in order, for it was the sitting-room as well as the kitchen. When Ribby had laid the table she went out down the field to the farm, to fetch milk and butter. When she came back, she peeped into the bottom oven; the pie looked very comfortable. Ribby put on her shawl and bonnet and went out again with a basket, to the village shop to buy a packet of tea, a pound of lump sugar, and a pot of marmalade. And just at the same time, Duchess came out of HER house, at the other end of the village. Ribby met Duchess half-way down the street, also carrying a basket, covered with a cloth. They only bowed to one another; they did not speak, because they were going to have a party. As soon as Duchess had got round the corner out of sight--she simply ran! Straight away to Ribby's house! Ribby went into the shop and bought what she required, and came out, after a pleasant gossip with Cousin Tabitha Twitchit. Ribby went on to Timothy Baker's and bought the muffins. Then she went home. There seemed to be a sort of scuffling noise in the back passage, as she was coming in at the front door. But there was nobody there. Duchess in the meantime, had slipped out at the back door. "It is a very odd thing that Ribby's pie was NOT in the oven when I put mine in! And I can't find it anywhere; I have looked all over the house. I put MY pie into a nice hot oven at the top. I could not turn any of the other handles; I think that they are all shams," said Duchess, "but I wish I could have removed the pie made of mouse! I cannot think what she has done with it? I heard Ribby coming and I had to run out by the back door!" Duchess went home and brushed her beautiful black coat; and then she picked a bunch of flowers in her garden as a present for Ribby; and passed the time until the clock struck four. Ribby--having assured herself by careful search that there was really no one hiding in the cupboard or in the larder--went upstairs to change her dress. She came downstairs again, and made the tea, and put the teapot on the hob. She peeped again into the BOTTOM oven, the pie had become a lovely brown, and it was steaming hot. She sat down before the fire to wait for the little dog. "I am glad I used the BOTTOM oven," said Ribby, "the top one would certainly have been very much too hot." Very punctually at four o'clock, Duchess started to go to the party. At a quarter past four to the minute, there came a most genteel little tap-tappity. "Is Mrs. Ribston at home?" inquired Duchess in the porch. "Come in! and how do you do, my dear Duchess?" cried Ribby. "I hope I see you well?" "Quite well, I thank you, and how do YOU do, my dear Ribby?" said Duchess. "I've brought you some flowers; what a delicious smell of pie!" "Oh, what lovely flowers! Yes, it is mouse and bacon!" "I think it wants another five minutes," said Ribby. "Just a shade longer; I will pour out the tea, while we wait. Do you take sugar, my dear Duchess?" "Oh yes, please! my dear Ribby; and may I have a lump upon my nose?" "With pleasure, my dear Duchess." Duchess sat up with the sugar on her nose and sniffed-- "How good that pie smells! I do love veal and ham--I mean to say mouse and bacon--" She dropped the sugar in confusion, and had to go hunting under the tea- table, so did not see which oven Ribby opened in order to get out the pie. Ribby set the pie upon the table; there was a very savoury smell. Duchess came out from under the table-cloth munching sugar, and sat up on a chair. "I will first cut the pie for you; I am
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Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was an English writer, illustrator, natural scientist, and conservationist best known for her children's books featuring animals, such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Born into an upper-middle-class household, Potter was educated by governesses and grew up isolated from other children. more…

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