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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter

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With very kind regards to old Mr. John Taylor,

Who "thinks he might pass as a dormouse,"

(Three years in bed and never a grumble!).]

Once upon a time there was

a village shop. The name over

the window was "Ginger and Pickles."

It was a little small shop

just the right size for Dolls--

Lucinda and Jane Doll-cook

always bought their groceries

at Ginger and Pickles.

The counter inside was a

convenient height for rabbits.

Ginger and Pickles sold red

spotty pocket handkerchiefs at

a penny three farthings.

They also sold sugar, and

snuff and galoshes.

In fact, although it was

such a small shop it sold

nearly everything--except a

few things that you want in

a hurry--like bootlaces, hair-

pins and mutton chops.

Ginger and Pickles were the

people who kept the shop.

Ginger was a yellow tomcat,

and Pickles was a terrier.

The rabbits were always a

little bit afraid of Pickles.

The shop was also patronized

by mice--only the mice

were rather afraid of Ginger.

Ginger usually requested

Pickles to serve them, because

he said it made his mouth water.

"I cannot bear," said he, "to

see them going out at the door

carrying their little parcels."

"I have the same feeling

about rats," replied Pickles,

"but it would never do to eat

our customers; they would

leave us and go to Tabitha


"On the contrary, they

would go nowhere," replied

Ginger gloomily.

(Tabitha Twitchit kept the

only other shop in the village.

She did not give credit.)

But there is no money in

what is called the "till."

Ginger and Pickles gave unlimited credit.

Now the meaning of

"credit" is this--when a customer

buys a bar of soap, instead

of the customer pulling

out a purse and paying for it

--she says she will pay another time.

And Pickles makes a low

bow and says, "With pleasure,

madam," and it is written

down in a book.

The customers come again

and again, and buy quantities,

in spite of being afraid of

Ginger and Pickles.

The customers came in

crowds every day and bought

quantities, especially the

toffee customers. But there was

always no money; they never

paid for as much as a penny-

worth of peppermints.

But the sales were enormous,

ten times as large as Tabitha Twitchit's.

As there was always no

money, Ginger and Pickles

were obliged to eat their own goods.

Pickles ate biscuits and Ginger

ate a dried haddock.

They ate them by candle-

light after the shop was closed.

"It is very uncomfortable, I

am afraid I shall be summoned.

I have tried in vain to

get a license upon credit at the

Post Office;" said Pickles.

"The place is full of policemen.

I met one as I was coming home.

"Let us send in the bill

again to Samuel Whiskers,

Ginger, he owes 22/9 for bacon."

"I do not believe that he intends

to pay at all," replied Ginger.

When it came to Jan. 1st

there was still no money, and

Pickles was unable to buy a

dog license.

"It is very unpleasant, I am

afraid of the police," said Pickles.

"It is your own fault for

being a terrier; _I_ do not

require a license, and neither

does Kep, the Collie dog."

"And I feel sure that Anna

Maria pockets things--

"Where are all the cream crackers?"

"You have eaten them yourself."

replied Ginger.

Ginger and Pickles retired into the back parlor.

They did accounts. They added up

sums and sums, and sums.

"Samuel Whiskers has run

up a bill as long as his tail; he

has had an ounce and three-

quarters of snuff since October.

"What is seven pounds of

butter at 1/3, and a stick of

sealing wax and four matches?"

"Send in all the bills again

to everybody `with compliments,'"

replied Ginger.

Pickles nearly had a fit, he

barked and he barked and

made little rushes.

"Bite him, Pickles! bite

him!" spluttered Ginger behind

a sugar barrel, "he's only

a German doll!"

The policeman went on

writing in his notebook; twice

he put his pencil in his mouth,

and once he dipped it in the treacle.

Pickles barked till he was

hoarse. But still the policeman

took no notice. He had bead eyes,

and his helmet was sewed on with stitches.

After a time they heard a

noise in the shop, as if something

had been pushed in at

the door. They came out of the

back parlor. There was an

envelope lying on the counter,

and a policeman writing in a


At length on his last little

rush--Pickles found that the

shop was empty. The policeman

had disappeared.

But the envelope remained.

"Do you think that he has

gone to fetch a real live policeman?

I am afraid it is a summons,"

said Pickles.

"No," replied Ginger, who

had opened the envelope, "it is

the rates and taxes, 3 pounds 19

11 3/4." [pounds are British money,

the 19 is schillings, and then pence]

"This is the last straw," said

Pickles, "let us close the shop."

They put up the shutters,

and left. But they have not

removed from the neighborhood.

In fact some people

wish they had gone further.

Ginger is living in the warren

[game preserve for rabbits].

I do not know what

occupation he pursues; he

looks stout and comfortable.

Pickles is at present a gamekeeper.

After a time Mr. John

Dormouse and his daughter

began to sell peppermints and


But they did not keep "self-

fitting sixes"; and it takes five

mice to carry one seven inch candle.

The closing of the shop

caused great inconvenience.

Tabitha Twitchit immediately

raised the price of everything

a halfpenny; and she continued

to refuse to give credit.

Of course there are the

tradesmen's carts--the butcher,

the fishman and Timothy Baker.

But a person cannot live on

"seed wigs" and sponge cake

and butter buns--not even

when the sponge cake is as

good as Timothy's!

And Miss Dormouse refused

to take back the ends when

they were brought back to her

with complaints.

And when Mr. John

Dormouse was complained to, he

stayed in bed, and would say

nothing but "very snug;"

which is not the way to carry

on a retail business.

Besides--the candles which

they sell behave very strangely

in warm weather.

So everybody was pleased

when Sally Henny Penny sent

out a printed poster to say

that she was going to reopen

the shop--"Henny's Opening

Sale! Grand cooperative Jumble!

Penny's penny prices!

Come buy, come try, come buy!"

The poster really was most 'ticing.

There was a rush upon the

opening day. The shop was

crammed with customers,

and there were crowds of

mice upon the biscuit cannisters.

Sally Henny Penny gets

rather flustered when she tries

to count out change, and she

insists on being paid cash; but

she is quite harmless.

And she has laid in a remarkable assortment

of bargains.

There is something to please everybody.




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