The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan, Beatrix Potter
The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan
Beatrix Potter
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The Tale of the Pie and the Patty-Pan (originally, The Pie and the Patty-Pan) is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, and published by Frederick Warne & Co. in October 1905. It tells of a cat called Ribby and a tea party she holds for a dog called Duchess. Complications arise when Duchess tries to replace Ribby's mouse pie with her own veal and ham pie, and then believes she has swallowed a small tin pastry form called a patty-pan. Its themes are etiquette and social relations in a small town.

The Tale of
the Pie and the Patty-Pan

Beatrix Potter

Butter and Milk From the FarmButter and Milk From the Farm

Pussy-cat sits by the fire — how should she be fair?
walks the little dog — says Pussy are you there?
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

The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan

The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan

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?”

The InvitationThe 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 aparty. 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!”

The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan

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?”

The Tale of the Pie and the Patty Pan

Duchess was quite delighted with her own cleverness!

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