We are back in Near Sawrey this month as we wrap up our year-long tour of Beatrix Potter's Lake District with Jemima Puddle-duck. Jemima really wanted to take you shopping at Ginger & Pickles, the shop run by her friends Ginger the cat and Pickles the terrier. But, alas, she has a tale of woe to tell us instead. . . . .
|From: The History of the Writings of Beatrix Potter|
QUACK! I was all set to take you shopping for Christmas gifts but instead I have a very sad tale to tell you QUACK! Here is a map that shows the shop of Ginger & Pickles. . . .
The Tale of Ginger & Pickles
As Told By Jemima Puddle-duck
As Told By Jemima Puddle-duck
Ginger & Pickles is a village shop where all the animals shop, including Lucinda and Jane-doll. . . .
It was just the right size for us and where we could buy just about everything we needed from sugar to pocket handkerchiefs. The rabbits were a little afraid of Pickles, though. . . .
And the mice were a bit afraid of Ginger and even though the mice made Ginger’s mouth water, both Ginger and Pickles behaved themselves because as Pickles noted, if they’d didn’t, their customers would leave them and go to Tabitha Twitchet’s shop (but Ginger pointed out their customers would go nowhere). . . .
Despite being a bit afraid of the shop keepers all the little animals still shopped there because they could buy their groceries on credit. Pickles would write down what they bought in his little book. . .
They always sold a great deal of merchandise and their shop was always full. . . .
But there was no money in the till! Ginger and Pickles were having to eat their own goods. . . .
Then when it came time to buy a dog licence Pickles became quite worried when he saw the policeman doll. . . .
Ginger suggested they send the bill again to Samuel Whiskers. She was pretty sure that Anna Maria pocketed things when they came into the store. . . .
So they did their accounts and sent out bills to all their customers. . . .
After a bit they heard a noise coming from the front of the shop. When they looked they saw the policeman writing in a notebook. Pickles barked and barked at him, but he just kept on writing. . . .
Finally he left, leaving an envelope behind. Pickles was afraid it was a summons about his dog license, but no, it was a rates and taxes bill. . . .
QUACK! This is the sad part! They had to close up shop permanently and go away. . . .
All the animals were sad to see it close since Tabitha Twitchit raised her rates and did not give credit. . . .
They had the tradesmen’s carts they would rely on for some of their goods. . . .
And Mr. John Dormouse and his daughter began selling peppermints and candles. . . .
But the candles proved to be inferior. . . .
And when his customers complained he took to his bed. . . .
But my tale of woe does end happily for you and me because Sally Henny Penny put out a notice that she was opening up a penny shop. . . .
But she does not offer credit. . . .
Here is the complete tale as written by Beatrix Potter. . . .
Beatrix dedicated this book, "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!)." It was first published in 1909 in a larger format. The story was inspired by the real shop in Smithy Lane owned by Mr. Taylor. The shop is now a holiday house (rental) called "Meadowcroft." Ginger was modeled after the schoolmistress's cat, Tommy Bunkle. The story was originally written for Louie Warne, the daughter of Harold Warne, her publisher. After the book was published she wrote Millie Warne, Norman's sister, that the book was causing a stir in Sawrey: "It has got a good many views which can be recognized in the village which is what they like, they are all quite jealous of each others [sic] houses & cats getting into the book."
What I especially liked about the story was Beatrix's inclusion of several characters from her earlier books. In fact, I chose this story so we could revisit the characters I featured this year, notably, dolls Lucinda and Jane and the German policeman, Mr. Jeremy Fisher, Samuel Whiskers and Anna Maria, Tabitha Twitchit, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, Kep the collie, and Sally Henny Penny.
Between 1907 and 1912 Beatrix wrote miniature letters from her characters to the Moore children and other children of people she knew. Some were posted in a miniature mail-bag and some in a bright red toy tin post-box. Here is one from Miss Lucinda Doll. . . .
You can read more about the background of this story HERE.
This is Beatrix's illustration I chose to draw and paint this month. . . .
This month I tried something different--I drew my picture on a piece of paper then transferred it to the watercolor paper by shading the backside. I then traced my picture on top of the watercolor paper and the shading transferred to the drawing. . . .
The additions to my painting are my attempts to cover my mistakes! 😜 . . . .
This month's Little Guide to Life gives us this advice:
"Giving unlimited credit is not a sound way to run a business. The shopkeepers Ginger and Pickles closed their shop because the customers did not pay. Enormous sales do not signify unless money fills the till. A sensible businessperson always insists on receiving payment up front for any goods sold or services rendered."
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