Peter, Peter
To Read the original nursery rhyme "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater",
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Of course he couldn't keep me. We were living in this crummy tent out in Peter's pumpkin patch, and I took any chance I could to go into town and find something interesting to do.

After all, a new wife wants to decorate her home, put up some fresh wallpaper, hang a few pictures. Try doing that in a tent, which, by the way, also leaked. And it was cold in winter even with the stove on and hot in summer even with the flaps open. I complained.

"But I can't afford to buy a house," Peter told me. "Later, when my pumpkin business is a success, I will buy you a fine house."

"Promises, promises," I said, and took off for town where, if nothing else, I could make a little money working in the bakery.

That's how Peter and I met. We both love pumpkin pies. I like to bake them and Peter likes to eat them. Above all Peter likes to eat my pies. Above all, I like to bake pies for Peter. They say some marriages are made in heaven; ours was made in an oven.

Peter set about solving our housing problem by doing what he knows best: all summer and early fall he grew this humungous pumpkin, and then he hollowed it out and shoveled out all the seeds and pumpkin goo, and cut two windows and a door in the front and a hole in the top for the stovepipe. It looked like a square-eyed jack-o'-lantern with no nose and a pouty mouth, but that very day we moved in.

You might think that two grown-ups could not fit in a pumpkin, even a really big one. But Peter is small, would only come up to about here on you, and I am smaller. So we had room in our pumpkin for us and our bed and our dresser and our kitchen table and two easy chairs and the TV and, most important, our cookstove.

After the tent the pumpkin was dandy. The only problem was that the inside was kind of orangy and damp and soft, with walls made of pumpkin meat.

So each morning, as soon as Peter went off to his pumpkin patch, I went to work doing what I know best. I scraped away at the pumpkin walls and mixed eggs and flour and shortening and milk and sugar and spice, and baked as many pumpkin pies as I could. And each afternoon, I loaded my barrow with pies, wheeled them into town, and sold them. Then I went home to our pumpkin, my apron pockets jingling with coins, and fixed Peter's supper. And for dessert? Sometimes we had pumpkin chiffon or pumpkin pudding, but usually it wasó guess what?

All this was swell for a while, but then I began to notice that the inside of the pumpkin was getting lighter and lighter. Why? Because the walls were getting thinner and thinner. Peter noticed it too.

"Something must be eatin' away at our pumpkin, Pauline. The walls seem to be gettin' a mite thin."

I said, "Couldn't you maybe nail up some boards on the outside, keep out whatever it is that's eating on our pumpkin?"

"Boards cost money,"

I jingled my apron pockets. "I got money."

"Well, okay," Peter said, and the next day he bought boards and nails and built a nice tight box around our pumpkin with only a hole in the top for the stovepipe and a hole in the front for a door. "How you like this, Pauline?"

"Like it fine, Peter. But it's awful dark in here and I can't see to bake. Couldn't you maybe cut holes in the box to match where the pumpkin windows are and put some glass in them, and then maybe hang a nice door to match where our pumpkin door is?"

"Glass and doors cost money."

"I got money."

So the next day, Peter cut holes in the box opposite the pumpkin windows and glazed them against winter snows and summer showers, and then he hung a strong wooden door opposite the pumpkin door.

So I went back to scraping and baking and selling and the walls got thinner and thinner until there was nothing left but the orange pumpkin skin, and I was using Peter's stored up pumpkins to make my pies. As the spring gave way to summer and the summer passed into fall, I pushed that pumpkin skin closer and closer to the inside of Peter's board box until it stuck there like wallpaper.

"Our pumpkin house is gettin' kinda square, Pauline," Peter said one fine fall day. "But no matter. I have been so successful in the pumpkin business that I can now buy you a fine house, just as I promised."

"Ah, Peter my love," I said. "Hang onto your money. You keep me very well in our pumpkin, and I am quite happy with it now that I have redecorated."



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