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Sour Puss Sisters - Pantry Robbers
By Margaret Hall
Copyright 2001 Margaret Hall

A fable about how two dogs helped tow cats.
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 I know.
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 unfriendly cat.
"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! now!"
"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 department volunteer.
"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.