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 tom-cat, 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 own customers; they would leave us and go to Tabitha Twitchit’s.”
“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.)
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. But there is no money in what is called the “till”.