The Pie and the Patty-Pan (1905)

Patty Pan Squash are named after the cake tins because of their shape, photo by Tim Sackton  Photo of Sawrey at the head of page by Peter Trimming
Patty Pan Squash are named after the cake tins because of their shape, photo by Tim Sackton

Photo of Sawrey at the head of page by Peter Trimming

The Pie and the patty-Pan is a story of a cat and a dog (who are friends) by Beatrix Potter.

Ribby (the cat) invites Duchess (the dog) to tea, she has a mouse pie, but duchess would rather eat her own veal and ham pie. She puts her pie in Ribby’s oven, but there are two ovens, so she not only wolfs down the mouse pie, but fears she has swallowed the “patty-pan” (a metal pan put upside down to help hold up the pastry). Never mind Dr Maggotty, the magpie, to the rescue!

Potter began the story in 1903, but was busy with other projects. When she was unable to finish a book of nursery rhymes in time Warnes decided to publish this story instead in 1004. Her illustrations are based on Sawrey, a village in the Lake District near potter’s home at Hill Top farm. Ribby reflects a real cat living in Sawrey and Duchess on one of Mrs Rogerson’s Pomeranian dogs, while Tabitha Twitchit was based on Potter’s own cat, and Dr Maggoty on magpies at London Zoo.

The story depends on the complex interwoven interpersonal relationships of a small town and the etiquette of the time. It was apparently the author’s second favourite of her tales after The Tailor of Gloucester.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read aloud: audio and video