- Letter from the writer in Hyannis, MA
to Frank Sisco dated 3/4/2001
- Dear Frank,
- Here is the Sour Puss Sister story (if it
can be called that). It's much too long, and is hardly anything
that would be of much interest for your program, but this sort
of thing is the best I can do I'm afraid. It's not so bad when
it's read aloud properly for children but in its silent state
I think it deserves a fast trip to the waste basket. As you can
see, typing is an art I never was able to acquire but it's a
lot more legible than my handwriting. Isn't it?
- With all my best wishes to you and your family
- Preface by writer
- Several years ago I received a letter from
a Swiss friend of mine. In it he described a Confitori run by
two elderly pastry cooks whom he said were quite bad tempered
but who baked and served the best pastries in the little town
where he lived - Montana-sur-ciel. I thought about those pastry
cooks and they led me to several different adventures, as for
instance, the following. I wrote them down for some children
- The Pantry Robbers (This is one of the shortest.)
- Once upon a time there were two sisters who kept a wonderful
shop. They had every kind of cake and pie, tart and cookie, pastry
and candy that anyone could ever wish for. But of all their goodies,
they liked lemon drops best. In fact their mouths were permanently
puckered from sucking lemon drops. Beside that, they both had
indelible frowns because they worried too much.
- Early one morning they were just finishing their baking for
the day when one of the Sour Puss Sisters looked up and saw two
dogs walking through the shop door. It was very warm, so all
the doors and windows were open.
- "WOW," said the first dog, who was a Great Dane,
"I smell chocolate cake." He put his nose on the counter
to see if he was right.
- "YAP," said the second dog, who was a Scotch Terrier,
"I smell whipped cream!" But he couldn't see the counter
top because he was too little.
- "YUP," said the Great Dane, "chocolate cake
and whipped cream!" He got up on his hind legs and
put both his front paws on the counter.
- "ALLEY OOP," yipped the Terrier. He took a running
jump which landed him on top of the counter. "Slurp!"
he drooled, "Let's have breakfast."
- One of the Sour Puss Sisters came to the kitchen door. "Get
out," she screamed. "We don't allow animals in this
shop. GET OUT! Leave that cake alone. Scram!" She scowled
and shook her big spoon at them.
- The Great Dane and the Scotch Terrier grinned at her. They
thought she was very much like an unfriendly cat they knew named
Mehitabel who only liked cockroaches.
- "AAAHHHRR," muttered the Great Dane.
- "YIP YIP OORAAHHR," cheered the Terrier. And they
both chased the Sour Puss Sister back into the kitchen. They
thought, naturally, that the Sour Puss Sister would go climb
the nearest tree. That was what Mehitabel always did.
- "HALP, HAALP," shrieked the Sour Puss Sister, jumping
up on the kitchen table. She really did sound a lot like the
- "HAR HAR HAR," laughed the Great Dane, "you
just stay up there while we finish breakfast."
- Suddenly they all heard a terrible hullabaloo coming from
the pantry. Its door burst open and out rushed the other Sour
Puss Sister. She ran to the table and jumped up on it.
- "HAALP," she yelled, "ROBBERS IN THE PANTRY!
There are two squirrels eating up all our nuts, two mice in the
flour sack, two black kittens dipping their paws in the cream
jugs, two chipmunks sampling the sesame seeds, a hedgehog eating
eggs, and two young skunks cleaning out the garbage pail. Scat,"
she screamed, "SHOOO!"
- The dogs thought she sounded even more like Mehitabel. "WOW,"
said the Great Dane, "some cats, WOW."
- "YAP YAP," said the Terrier, "I'll keep them
here while you check out the pantry." He grinned at the
Sour Puss Sisters. "GGRRRR."
- "EEEAAAOOOUUU!!" yowled the sisters, dancing up
and down on the table until all their hairpins fell out.
- "WOOF," said the Great Dane. He strode to the pantry
door and peered in. "ARF," he said, "this place
is a wreck."
- The squirrels had spilled all the nuts; the mice had tipped
over the flour sack. They stood quaking in a corner. The kittens
stood hissing with arched backs on the top pantry shelf. Below
them was a puddle of cream on the bread board. The chipmunks
had dumped sesamee seeds all over the floor, and hidden themselves
in the empty box. The hedgehog, surrounded by eggshells, had
turned his back on everyone and raised all his quills. The skunks
sat in a sea of garbage chewing orange peels. They had rolled
the garbage pail against the door so no one could get in.
- "GRRRRRR," growled the Great Dane, "bunch
of juvenile delinquents, that's what you are. COME OUT OF THERE!
COME ON. COME OUT AT ONCE! I'm calling the police right now."
- The squirrels lost their nuts. The mice shivered in a cloud
of flour. The hedgehog shot off three quills and knocked over
a vanilla bottle. The skunks sneered through their orange peels.
"You want us to squirt you with our special anti-personnel
spray?" they asked. And all the robbers chattered and hissed
and squeaked at the Great Dane.
- "ARF," barked the Great Dane, "out!
- "HAALP!" yowled the Sour Puss Sisters, "can't
you smell the cakes burning?" Sure enough, there was a big
cloud of smoke coming from the oven.
- Just then two friends of the Great Dane and the Scotch Terrier
glanced in through the back door.
- "WOOF WOOF WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?" barked a German
Sheppard dog who worked for the police department.
- "I smell smoke," said a Dalmatian who was a fire
- "GRRRR," grinned the Terrier.
- "HAALP!" shrieked the sisters.
- The Great Dane escorted his friends to the pantry.
- "RRRRARF,"said the German Sheppard, "ROBBERS!
You're all under arrest!"
- "Can't you smell smoke?" asked the Dalmatian. "You'd
better come out NOW."
- The Dalmatian knew all about fires. He organized the robbers
into a bucket brigade from the kitchen sink to the oven. The
squirrels, the chipmunks, the mice, the hedgehog, the skunks
and even the kittens, who hated water, kept passing cups of water
to the Dalmatian until he had finally doused the fire.
- "NOW," said the German Sheppard, "you robbers
clean up that mess in the pantry." He kept an eye on them
till they had everything cleaned and put away properly. "ARF,"
he said, "you kids can go home now, and I won't report you
to the police this time, because you helped put out the fire.
BUT DON'T YOU EVER ROB ANYONE'S PANTRY AGAIN."
- So all the kids left -quietly - while the German Sheppard
counted noses to be sure they'd all gone.
- "YAP YAP," said the Scotch Terrier, "you two
cats can climb down now."
- The Sour Puss Sisters picked up their hairpins, wound up
their top knots and climbed down off the table.
- "We would like all you nice dogs to stay for breakfast,"
said one sister. "We have plenty of chocolate cake and whipped
cream for everybody."
- "And we hope you'll come back whenever you like. You're
most welcome in our shop," said the other sister.
- "WOOF, YAP, ARF, GRUFF" said the dogs, "thank
you very much."
- And the Great Dane said to the Scotch Terrier, "Maybe
cats aren't always unfriendly."
- "Perhaps you're right," said the Scotch Terrier.