Once upon a time the dogs gave a dinner party. All the dogs were invited and all the dogs accepted the invitation. There were big dogs and little dogs and middle-sized dogs. There were black dogs and white dogs and brown dogs and gray dogs and yellow dogs and spotted dogs. There were dogs with long tails and dogs with short tails and dogs with no tails at all. There were dogs with little sharp-pointed ears and dogs with big flat drooping ears. There were dogs with long slender noses and dogs with short fat turn-up noses. All these dogs came to the party.
Now the dinner was a most elaborate affair. Everything had been arranged with the utmost care. All the good things to eat were spread out upon the rocks by the sea. A gay sparkling little brook brought water to drink. The sun was shining brightly and a soft gentle little breeze was blowing. Everything seemed absolutely perfect.
But there was a cross fussy old dog who came to the party. She was a yellow dog, they say. Nothing ever suited her. Whenever she went to a party she always found fault with something. Sometimes there was too little to eat and sometimes there was too much. Sometimes the hot things were not hot enough and sometimes the cold things were not cold enough. Sometimes the hot things were so hot they burned her mouth and the cold things so cold that they gave her indigestion. There was always something wrong.
At this party, however, there was not too much to eat and there was not too little to eat. The hot things were all just hot enough and the cold things were all just cold enough. Everything seemed to be exactly as it should be.
"How good everything tastes!" remarked the big black dog between polite mouthfuls.
"Everything is seasoned exactly right," added the black and white spotted dog between mouthfuls which were entirely too large to be polite.
That was an unfortunate remark. The cross fussy yellow dog heard it. She noticed immediately that the big juicy bone she was eating had not been seasoned with pepper.
"Will somebody please pass the pepper?" she asked.
All the black dogs and white dogs and brown dogs and yellow dogs and gray dogs and spotted dogs fell over each other trying to find the pepper to pass. There was not a single bit of pepper at that dinner party.
"I can't eat a mouthful until I have some pepper," whined the yellow dog.
"I'll go into the city and get some pepper," said one of the dogs. Nobody ever knew which dog it was.
The dog who went into the city to get the pepper never came back. Nobody ever knew what became of him.
Whenever two dogs meet they always sniff at each other. If one of them should happen to be the dog who went into the city to get the pepper, he would surely smell of pepper.
Notes: The book contains 34 folktales from the Azores (Portugal).
Author: Elsie Spicer Eells
Publisher: Hardcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., New York