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The Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter by Beatrix Potter

Part 4 out of 4

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"I shall after supper," said Pig-
wig decidedly.

Pigling Bland made more porridge
and watched her shyly.

She finished a second plate, got
up, and looked about her, as
though she were going to start.

"You can't go in the dark," said
Pigling Bland.

Pig-wig looked anxious.

"Do you know your way by day-

"I know we can see this little
white house from the hills across
the river. Which way are _you_ going,
Mr. Pig?"

"To market--I have two pig
papers. I might take you to the bridge;
if you have no objection," said
Pigling much confused and sitting
on the edge of his coppy stool. Pig-
wig's gratitude was such and she
asked so many questions that it
became embarrassing to Pigling

He was obliged to shut his eyes
and pretend to sleep. She became
quiet, and there was a smell of

"I thought you had eaten them?"
said Pigling, waking suddenly.

"Only the corners," replied Pig-
wig, studying the sentiments with
much interest by the firelight.

"I wish you wouldn't; he might
smell them through the ceiling,"
said the alarmed Pigling.

Pig-wig put back the sticky
peppermints into her pocket; "Sing
something," she demanded.

"I am sorry. . . I have tooth-
ache," said Pigling much dismayed.

"Then I will sing," replied Pig-
wig, "You will not mind if I say
iddy tidditty? I have forgotten some
of the words."

Pigling Bland made no objection;
he sat with his eyes half shut, and
watched her.

She wagged her head and rocked
about, clapping time and singing in
a sweet little grunty voice--

"A funny old mother pig lived in a stye,
and three little piggies had she;
"(Ti idditty idditty) umph, umph,
umph! and the little pigs said wee,

She sang successfully through
three or four verses, only at every
verse her head nodded a little
lower, and her little twinkly eyes
closed up--

"Those three little piggies grew peaky
and lean, and lean they might very
well be;
"For somehow they couldn't say umph,
umph, umph! and they wouldn't
say wee, wee, wee!
"For somehow they couldn't say--

Pig-wig's head bobbed lower and
lower, until she rolled over, a little
round ball, fast asleep on the

Pigling Bland, on tiptoe, covered
her up with an antimacassar.

He was afraid to go to sleep himself;
for the rest of the night he sat
listening to the chirping of the
crickets and to the snores of Mr.
Piperson overhead.

Early in the morning, between
dark and daylight, Pigling tied up
his little bundle and woke up Pig-
wig. She was excited and half-
frightened. "But it's dark! How can
we find our way?"

"The cock has crowed; we must
start before the hens come out; they
might shout to Mr. Piperson."

Pig-wig sat down again, and
commenced to cry.

"Come away Pig-wig; we can see
when we get used to it. Come! I can
hear them clucking!"

Pigling had never said shuh! to a
hen in his life, being peaceable;
also he remembered the hamper.

He opened the house door quietly
and shut it after them. There was
no garden; the neighborhood of
Mr. Piperson's was all scratched up
by fowls. They slipped away hand
in hand across an untidy field to
the road.
"Tom, Tom the piper's son, stole a pig
and away he ran!
"But all the tune that he could play, was
`Over the hills and far away!'"

"Come Pig-wig, we must get to
the bridge before folks are stirring."

"Why do you want to go to
market, Pigling?" inquired Pig-wig.

The sun rose while they were
crossing the moor, a dazzle of light
over the tops of the hills. The sunshine
crept down the slopes into
the peaceful green valleys, where
little white cottages nestled in
gardens and orchards.

"That's Westmorland," said Pig-
wig. She dropped Pigling's hand
and commenced to dance, singing--
presently. "I don't want; I want to
grow potatoes." "Have a peppermint?"
said Pig-wig. Pigling Bland
refused quite crossly. "Does your
poor toothy hurt?" inquired Pig-
wig. Pigling Bland grunted.

Pig-wig ate the peppermint herself,
and followed the opposite side
of the road. "Pig-wig! keep under
the wall, there's a man ploughing."
Pig-wig crossed over, they hurried
down hill towards the county

Suddenly Pigling stopped; he
heard wheels.

Slowly jogging up the road below
them came a tradesman's cart. The
reins flapped on the horse's back,
the grocer was reading a newspaper.

"Take that peppermint out of
your mouth, Pig-wig, we may have
to run. Don't say one word. Leave it
to me. And in sight of the bridge!"
said poor Pigling, nearly crying.
He began to walk frightfully lame,
holding Pig-wig's arm.

The grocer, intent upon his
newspaper, might have passed
them, if his horse had not shied
and snorted. He pulled the cart
crossways, and held down his
whip. "Hallo? Where are you going
to?"--Pigling Bland stared at him

"Are you deaf? Are you going to
market?" Pigling nodded slowly.

"I thought as much. It was
yesterday. Show me your license?"

Pigling stared at the off hind
shoe of the grocer's horse which
had picked up a stone.

The grocer flicked his whip--
"Papers? Pig license?" Pigling fumbled
in all his pockets, and handed
up the papers. The grocer read
them, but still seemed dissatisfied.
"This here pig is a young lady; is
her name Alexander?" Pig-wig
opened her mouth and shut it
again; Pigling coughed asthmatically.

The grocer ran his finger down
the advertisement column of his
newspaper--"Lost, stolen or
strayed, 10S. reward;" he looked
suspiciously at Pig-wig. Then he
stood up in the trap, and whistled
for the ploughman.

"You wait here while I drive on
and speak to him," said the grocer,
gathering up the reins. He knew
that pigs are slippery; but surely,
such a VERY lame pig could never

"Not yet, Pig-wig, he will look
back." The grocer did so; he saw the
two pigs stock-still in the middle
of the road. Then he looked over at
his horse's heels; it was lame also;
the stone took some time to knock
out, after he got to the ploughman.

"Now, Pig-wig, NOW!" said
Pigling Bland.

Never did any pigs run as these
pigs ran! They raced and squealed
and pelted down the long white hill
towards the bridge. Little fat Pig-
wig's petticoats fluttered, and her
feet went pitter, patter, pitter, as
she bounded and jumped.

They ran, and they ran, and they
ran down the hill, and across a
short cut on level green turf at the
bottom, between pebble beds and

They came to the river, they
came to the bridge--they crossed it
hand in hand--then over the hills
and far away she danced with Pigling


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

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

"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

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

Pickles ate biscuits and Ginger
ate a dried haddock.

They ate them by candle-
light after the shop was

"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

"Let us send in the bill
again to Samuel Whiskers,
Ginger, he owes 22/9 for

"I do not believe that he
intends to pay at all," replied

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

"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

"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

"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

"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

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 game-

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

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

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

The poster really was most

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

There is something to
please everybody.

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