The Tale of Ginger and Pickles

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The Tale of Ginger and Pickles[edit]

[Dedicated 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."

"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.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1943, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.