The Two Little Cooks
T HERE was once a little He-Cook, the prettiest little He-Cook that ever was seen. His eyes were as dark as black currants, and his cheeks were as pink as the cochineal he put in his best frosting, and his skin was as white as the finest pastry flour. As for his hair, it was exactly the color of barley sugar, and I hope you know what a pleasant color that is. He wore a snowy cap and apron, and always had a long, wooden spoon hanging from his girdle. He was the very best cook that ever lived, for he never cooked anything that was not good. Jam, all kinds, and little round plum cakes with pink and white frosting, and kisses, and lemon pie, and floating island, and wine jelly, and strawberry cream and dear little three-cornered raspberry tarts, and oranges cut into baskets and filled with whipped cream—oh, there was no end to the good things this little He-Cook used to make!
He made doughnuts, too; and what do you think? One day when he was making doughnuts he happened to look out of the window, and he saw, walking by, a little She-Cook, as pretty as a pink rose, and with a cap and apron just exactly like his! So the little He-Cook ran to the door, and said:
"Pretty little She-Cook, won't you come in?" And the pretty little She-Cook said:
"Thank you, kindly, sir." So she came in, and he made her sit down on the dresser, and then he brought her some mulligatawny soup in a little china bowl with a cover all painted with butterflies; three oyster patties, the best you ever saw; a fat little quail on toast, with mashed potatoes and gravy; a mince turnover, and a lemon tart; a glass of orange jelly; a saucer of ice-cream; and a lot of macaroons!
And when the little She-Cook had eaten all these things, the little He-Cook said to her:
"Can you cook as well as that?"
"Just as well, but no better," answered the little She-Cook.
"Was there anything that could have been better done?" he asked.
"Yes; the piece of toast under the quail was darker on one side than the other."
"You are right," said the little He-Cook, "none but a first-class cook would have observed it. Will you marry me? We will cook together, and I feel sure we shall be happy."
"That will I, with all my heart," said the little She-Cook, "but who will marry us?"
Just at that minute who should come in but a fat priest to buy a three-cornered raspberry tart.
"If you will marry me to this little She-Cook," said the little He-Cook, "you shall have the tart for nothing."
"That will I, with all my heart," said the fat priest, "but where is the ring to marry you with?"
Then the little He-Cook turned round and round and round three times, thinking what he should do, for he had no ring. After the third turn, his eye fell upon the doughnuts that he had been making, and then he knew what to do. He made a little ball of dough, and then he patted it flat, and then he took the little She-Cook's finger and poked it right through the middle of the doughnut, and then he dropped the doughnut into the frying-pan.
And when it was all done it was the most beautiful gold-brown color that ever was seen. As soon as it was cool, the little He-Cook put it on the little She-Cook's finger, which of course, it fitted perfectly, and the fat priest married the two. And they filled his hat with doughnuts, and his pockets with buns and cocoanut cakes, and that was a very good day for the fat priest. And the little He-Cook and the little She-Cook lived together in perfect happiness ever afterward, both stirring the soup at once, and never quarreling; and they always made holes in their doughnuts in remembrance of their wedding-day, and so every one else has made them ever since.