The Pie and the Tart Lesson Summary and Explanation in English Class 10th


In this humorous play written by Hugh Chesterman, two hungry vagabonds roaming the streets of Paris very cleverly through deception fetch themselves a meal. 


Pierre- Vagabond

Jean- Vagabond

Gaultier- A pastry cook.

Marion- His wife.

A Pie for the Mayor

It is some time during the fifteenth century in Paris when two cold and starving vagabonds are outside Gaultier’s cake shop. Pierre and Jean are desperate for a meal. The twenty-three holes in Pierre’s tunic don’t interest Jean as the hollow in his stomach is far bigger. With no other choice left the two friends resort to begging. Pierre goes to the cake shop and knocks on the door. Mr. Gaultier answers Pierre’s knocking and upon seeing a beggar, gets irritated and dispels a poor and hungry Pierre. 

Dejected, he returns and Jean tries his luck by knocking again. This time a stout woman appears at the door, Marion, Gaultier’s wife proves to be no different than her husband and rejects Jean’s begging. A while later, Mr. Gaultier leaves the shop as if to go out but remembers something and goes back towards the shop. He tells his wife that he will be having dinner with the Mayor and asks her to fetch him the eel pie he had cooked. However, he realises that it is not suitable for a man of his position to be seen carrying an eel pie. He asks Marion to deliver it for him but she refuses and tells him to send someone to deliver it.

They decide that Gaultier will send a messenger and in order to prove he is the right person, the messenger will kiss Marion’s hand. Jean, who had managed to eavesdrop on this entire exchange, formulated a rather ingenious plan to satiate his hunger. He includes Pierre in his plan and they execute their scheme. Jean sends Pierre to act as the messenger. Pierre goes to Marion and does as instructed. He lies about Gaultier sending him to deliver the pie and attempts to kiss Marion to prove his authenticity. However, Marion is convinced and does not let him kiss her hand. She hands him the pie and tells him to be cautious. A very awestruck Pierre leaves with the pie and reckons himself to be dreaming after having gained such a delicious meal.

The Mayor Wants More

Very elated Jean and Pierre devour the pie and become greedy for some more. Pierre recalls having seen a tart very tempting sitting on a shelf in Gaultier’s shop. While the two are hatching a plan to get the tart, an angry Gaultier returns as his dinner got cancelled. Marion is surprised to see her husband return early and learns that Gaultier was stood up by the Mayor. Gaultier demands to have the pie for dinner and Marion informs him that she already gave it to the messenger sent by him, this further infuriates Gaultier and he accuses Marion of having eaten it. 

Applying the same plan of action for the second time, Jean comes to Marion asking for the tart and lying that Gaultier sent him as the pie was not enough. Marion well aware of his lie continues with his act and asks him to wait while she fetches it. However, this time her angry husband comes rushing and begins to trash Jean with a cudgel. Gaultier demands the truth from Jean and Jean discloses that it was his friend who sought this plan. Jean still persists that his friend had the best intentions and was unaware of such chaos ensuing. Gaultier threatens Jean to either present his friend or be hanged for stealing. 

Jean tells Pierre that Marion will only give the tart to the person she gave the pie to. Pierre confident because of his previous success stylishly goes to get the tart. He is met with the same wrath from Gaultier and explains that he delivered the pie to the Mayor. Gaultier not buying his lie reveals that the Mayor is out. However, Pierre is not deterred and continues to elaborate his story. Pierre says that the Mayor returned and is awaiting Gaultier’s presence. This lures Gaultier and he quickly hands over the tart to Pierre to carefully deliver it to the Mayor. 

A satisfied Pierre returns to Jean with the tart and the play ends with Jean playfully running away with the tart and Pierre chasing him.