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NOW FOR A STORY

5

NOW FOR A STORY

BY

NOW FOR A STORY BY Illustrations by FRANK VARTY HAROLD HILL Publisher NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE 1948

Illustrations by

FRANK VARTY

HAROLD HILL
HAROLD
HILL

Publisher

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

1948

Printed in Great Britain by Northumberland Press Limited Gateshead on Tyne

CONTENTS

Page

  • 1. Quarrelsome Queenie

9

Story: Sunny Stories No.227 May 16, 1941

  • 2. A Queer Time For Queenie

18

(no indication)

  • 3. The Marvellous Pink Vase

29

Story: Sunny Stories No.227 May 16, 1941

  • 4. The Talking Shoes

35

Story: Sunny Stories No.226 May 9, 1941

  • 5. The Clockwork Kangaroo

47

Story: Sunny Stories No.213 Feb 7, 1941

  • 6. The Enchanted Umbrella

59

Story: Sunny Stories for Little Folks No.222 Sep 1935

  • 7. The White Golliwog

81

Story: Sunny Stories No.122 May 12, 1939

  • 8. The Clever Kitten

88

Story: Sunny Stories No.226 May 9, 1941

  • 9. The One-Eyed Rabbit

94

Story: Sunny Stories No.218 Mar 14, 1941

  • 10. The Ball that Vanished

101

Story: Sunny Stories No.226 May 9, 1941

  • 11. The Dirty Old Teddy

109

Story: Sunny Stories No.219 Mar 21, 1941

  • 12. The Poor Little Owl

115

Story: Sunny Stories No.213 Feb 7, 1941

  • 13. Millicent Mary's Surprise

123

Story: Sunny Stories No.212 Jan 31, 1941

  • 14. Conceited Clara

129

Story: Sunny Stories No.220 Mar 28, 1941

  • 15. Peter's Good Idea

136

Story: Sunny Stories No.211 Jan 24, 1941

  • 16. Wherever Can We Be?

150

Story: Sunny Stories No.211 Jan 24, 1941

  • 17. When the Moon was Blue

157

Story: Sunny Stories for Little Folks No.243 Aug 1936

  • 18. The Elf in the Nursery

179

Story: Sunny Stories No.141 Sep 22, 1939

Quarrelsome Queenie QUEENIE was always quarrelling with her brothers and sisters and friends. It was a

Quarrelsome Queenie

QUEENIE was always quarrelling with her brothers and sisters and friends. It was a funny thing, but whatever toy they had, Queenie wanted— and if she didn't get it she began to quarrel ! Queenie had four brothers and sisters, and you might think she would have good fun with them —but no, she was always snapping at them, grumbling about something and quarrelling as hard as she could. If Alan had the tricycle, she wanted it—and if he wouldn't let her have it she pushed him off. Then he smacked her and she smacked him, and there was a terrible noise. If Nora had the best doll, Queenie would come

along and want it—and the doll would probably be pulled in half before Queenie had stopped quarrelling! It was dreadful. " You are a most quarrelsome little girl," her mother said. " You must learn to give and take — not want to take, take, take every time! " But it didn't matter what was said to Queenie, she still quarrelled with everyone. Her mother was too busy washing and cooking for her five children to scold Queenie any more than she did —so the little girl had things far too much her own way. One day she and her brothers and sisters and the children next door all went for a picnic in the woods. There were nine children altogether, so it was fun. They took baskets of sandwiches, apples, and chocolate, with bottles of milk, and George, the biggest boy, said that he knew of a fine place for a picnic right in the very heart of the wood. So off they all went—and, of course, Queenie began to quarrel at once! George had told her to carry one of the baskets and it was rather heavy. Instead of being proud to be chosen to carry a heavy basket, she was cross. " I don't see why Eric can't carry this basket," said Queenie.

"I'm carrying the balls and the bat," said Eric. "Well, they're not as heavy as this basket," said Queenie. " You're selfish." " Stop grumbling, Queenie," said George. But did she? Not a bit of it. She was soon quarrelling hard with Eric, and in the end she spilt all the apples out of the basket. That made George cross, so she quarrelled with him next! At last they came to the picnic place. It really was lovely. It was in the middle of a circle of birch trees, and the grass there was short and soft. " This is fine," said Nora. "I think it's horrid," said Queenie at once. " No sun—no soft heather to sit on. Just the sort of silly place that George would choose! " " Be quiet," said George. " Shan't! " said Queenie. " I wanted a picnic on the hills. This is a silly place." "Oooh! Lovely honey sandwiches! " said Leslie, opening a packet. "Honey sandwiches! How horrid! " said Queenie. " I wanted shrimp paste sandwiches. Bother!" "Well, you needn't have any if you don't

want them' said George, and he gave them out to the others. "You're to give me some," said Queenie angrily. " Don't be mean. You're the meanest boy I know, George." " All right. I'll be mean then," said George, and he didn't give Queenie a single honey sandwich. The little girl tried to snatch the one he was eating, but he crammed it into his mouth and grinned at her. And then she smacked his face! Now that is always a horrid thing to do, and George was very angry. He didn't smack Queenie back because he was bigger than she was and had been taught not to hit girls. But he shouted at her very crossly. ' " If you can't stop quarrelling, go away fr-om us. We don't want you! " He made such a noise that his voice echoed all through the wood—and three or four small folk came hurrying to see what the matter was. They were brownies who lived in the heart of the wood and hardly ever left it. Now they came peeping behind the trees to watch and listen. Queenie went on behaving very badly. She quarrelled with Leslie because he didn't give her the biggest apple. She pinched Nora because

13

she said Nora was sitting almost on top o£ her. " Well, why didn't you ask me to move instead of pinching me? " said Nora. " You are always so unkind, Queenie! " And then Queenie quarrelled with Eric and threw his cap away! It fell near a brownie, who got quite a shock. That was enough for George. He was tired of Queenie. "Go away! " he said to the disagreeable little girl. "Go right away! We don't want you at our picnic. We are all so happy and friendly together, and you spoil everything with your quarrelling and grumbling. Go away ! " " Shan't," said Queenie. " Well, we shall go away then," said George, getting up. " Come on, everyone. We've finished eating, and we'll go and play somewhere else and leave Queenie to quarrel with herself! Don't you dare to come after us, Queenie, or we'll chase you away! " "I shouldn't dream of coming with horrid people like you! " said Queenie haughtily, with her nose in the air. " I don't want to play with you! Silly baby games you play, anyway!'' All the others went off together, throwing the

balls to one another and laughing loudly

..

They

were glad to leave Queenie behind. She lay down on her back and sulked. Horrid, nasty children! She didn't like them at all. She'd go home and tell her mother how mean they had been to her! So up she got and made her way between the trees. She didn't see the little brownies following her. She just went on and on—and very soon she was lost! She stood still and looked around her, frowning. Which was the right way home? She spied a brownie peeping at her and called to him. " Which is the way home? " she asked, "Please tell me." " We don't know where you live," said the brownie, coming forward, with one or two others behind him. " But we know just the right place ,for you, if you'd like to go." "Well, take me there," said Queenie. "I dare say I can get a bus home if it's not too far." The little girl didn't see the brownies nudging one another and winking and grinning. Yes-— ;they knew the place for Queenie—but it wasn't »;a place she would like at all! " Come along," said the first brownie, and he

led Queenie down a little path back to the heart of the wood. Then, to her great astonishment, he pulled a large toadstool up from the ground —and there below it was a little flight of steps! "This is exciting! " said Queenie to herself. "The others will be very jealous of me when they hear of this adventure. Serve them right I " Down the steps they went and into a dark passage lighted by little glow-worms in lamps. Then up again and out into a queer village. Queenie was most surprised. She looked around. There were many small crooked houses about, with little untidy gardens, and brownie children with long ears and noses stared at her everywhere. " What place is this? " asked Queenie. " It's Quarrelsome Village," said the brownie, with a grin. " We keep our quarrellers here— it's better for them to be all together, you know, then they don't worry peaceful people! You're such a quarreller that we thought you'd feel really at home here! " "I'm not a quarreller!" cried Queenie angrily. "We listened behind the trees and heard you quarrelling with the other children," said the brownie. " You'll love being here—it will just

suit you nicely. You can quarrel as much as you like!" " I shall not quarrel at all," said Queenie, in a temper. " It's not a bit of use bringing me here — for I just SHAN'T quarrel! " "You can stay at the biggest house in the village," said the brownie, pointing out a crooked house a little larger than the rest. " Mrs. Snappy lives there. She was once the Old Woman who Lived in the Shoe, you know—and she's just the right person to put in charge of quarrelsome people." The brownies ran away, grinning. Queenie began to run after them—but they disappeared into thin air and she couldn't see any of them. She went back to the village, meaning to ask her way home. But at that moment a bell rang, and the Old Woman who had once Lived in a Shoe came to her door. "Time for tea, time for tea! " she cried, and the children went running to her. "I may as well have some tea before I go home," thought Queenie, and she ran too. But how those children pushed her! "Don't! " cried Queenie. But it wasn't any use shouting "Don't! " They pushed her here

and there just as she herself had often pushed her school-friends! " You just wait till I tell the Old Woman! " cried Queenie in a rage, and she went into the house with the others.

2. A Queer Time For Queenie

INSIDE the crooked house was a round table, and the Old Woman stood by a big teapot. " Sit down! " she cried. " Not so much noise! " "Please, the others are pushing me about ! "Well, what do you expect if you are a quarreller and live in Quarrelsome Village? " said the Old Woman. She gave Queenie a cup of strong tea. "It's too strong," said Queenie, and gave it to the next child. But he jogged her elbow and the tea spilt all down Queenie's frock. She was very angry. " You bad boy! " she cried. " You bad girl! " squealed the boy. Queenie pushed him and he fell off his chair. And then the child next to Queenie gave her such a push that she fell off too, and dragged the tablecloth

19

with her. Down came cups, saucers, plates, bread-and-butter, and everything. What a noise of shouting and crying there was! Queenie's face was covered in bread-and- butter. She was jerked to her feet by the Old Woman, and shaken so hard that her teeth rattled in her head. " Quarrel all you like with the others, but don't pull off my tablecloth! " scolded the Old Woman. Queenie began to cry. " It wasn't my fault. This girl pushed me off my chair," wept Queenie. '".Oooh, I didn't! Story-teller! " said the little brownie-girl, and she slapped Queenie hard—just as Queenie had so often slapped her brothers and sisters when she quarrelled with them. Queenie was angry. She stopped crying and glared at the girl. She was just going to slap her back when somebody from behind gave her a pinch. "Ow! Don't!" cried Queenie, and she turned in a rage. She saw a brownie-boy grinning at her. She ran after him and tripped over the teapot, which was still on the floor. Crash! It broke in half! The Old Woman was so angry that she took a little cane from the wall. When the children saw that, they all fled

out of the cottage

as fast

as they

could go.

Goodness ! They knew what

it

was

like

to

be

whipped

soundly

and

put

to

bed

by

the

Old

Woman who had Lived in a Shoe!

 

Queenie

fled

with

them,

quite frightened.

She did so badly want to go home and leave this

horrid place.

She looked

round at the children, and

wondered

if any

of

them

could help her—or would

they

all

quarrel and

shout and push and smack?

She

a small

saw brownie-girl who looked a

little kinder than the others.

"

Could

you

tell

me

the

way

out

of

this place?

"

said Queenie.

The little girl grinned. "Take, that path! " she said, and she pointed to a

pathway

that

ran

not

far

off. Queenie at once went

down

it

but

after

a

minute

or

two

it

led

her

out of the cottage as fast as they could go. Goodness ! They knew what it

right back to Quarrelsome Village. The other

children were standing there, grinning, waiting for her to come back. "Take that path!" shouted a brownie-boy. So Queenie ran down another path—and that too brought her straight back to the village after curling about for a minute or two. How the children laughed when they saw her coming back again! "All the paths lead back here! " shouted a boy. " No one can get away from here! So it's no use trying." Queenie sat down and cried. A boy laughed at her. " Cry-baby! Cry-baby! " That was what Queenie herself always called people who cried—but she didn't like it a bit when she was called by the same name. She dried her eyes and looked fiercely at the boy. "I shall chase you and smack you if you call me cry-baby again," she said. "Cry-baby! Cry-baby!" said the boy at once. Queenie got up to chase him—but he ran too fast for her, and she tripped over a stone and hurt her knee. As she sat nursing her knee, a girl came by carrying a bag of chocolates. The other children crowded round her at once. " Where did you get them? Give me some! Give me some! "

Queenie loved chocolates. She got up and limped over to the girl, who was now handing out everyone their share. It came to two chocolates each. Queenie got one with a nut on and one small plain one. She looked at the chocolates that the other children had and thought that they were bigger than hers. So she began to complain. " I ought to have a bigger chocolate! Mine are both small." "Eat what you've got and don't grumble," said the boy beside her, who had two enormous chocolates. " You spilt all our tea—you jolly well don't deserve any chocolates at all! " Queenie tried to snatch at his two big choco- lates, but he held them away from her. They began to quarrel. " Give me one of yours! " "Shan't!" "I'll snatch it away! " "You can't!" Queenie tried to grab the boy's chocolates, but he snatched at hers instead—and they both went rolling into the dirt! Then another child put out her foot and trod on them! Queenie was so angry that she could have fought everyone there,

"Horrid, nasty creatures! " she cried, almost in

tears again. "Now I haven't any chocolates at all!"

"Serves

you

right!"

cried

all

the

little

quarrellers, and they quickly gobbled their

chocolates before Queenie could snatch them.

Then they ran to some nearby swings and began to swing themselves to and fro.

"I

want

a

swing

too,"

said

Queenie,

who

always wanted what everyone else had got. But nobody would give her a turn. So she caught at a

girl who was swinging and tried to pull her off. The girl kicked out and gave Queenie such a blow

on her arm that a big black bruise showed at once. "

"

Oh!

Oh!

Look

what

you've done!

cried

Queenie, holding her arm. " You wicked little girl!"

Queenie had to wait

till all the children

had

had swings, and then she climbed on one. She loved swinging, but she hated to go high. " No one is to push me," she cried. " I shall kick them if they do." She had chosen the nicest swing, of course, and very soon a big boy wanted it. " It's my turn! " he shouted. Queenie took no notice. " IT'S MY TURN! " he yelled again.

" Well, wait then," said Queenie, in a quarrel- some tone. The boy rushed at her, but she kicked out at him. Then he grinned and went behind her. He began to push her higher. " Stop! Stop! I'll let you have the swing if only you'll stop! " cried Queenie, who was really afraid of swinging too high. But the boy wouldn't stop. He pushed Queenie higher and higher. Up she went and down, and up again the other side, higher and higher. " Stop, oh, stop! " begged the little girl, hold- ing on tightly to the ropes. "I'm sorry I was rude to you. You can have the swing. Please, please stop." Now it was a rule in Quarrelsome Village that nobody polite could stay there—and nobody who said they were sorry was allowed to be there for a minute longer. The village was only for people who quarrelled and were rude and unkind the whole time. So as soon as Queenie said she was sorry, and called out "please," that was the end of her stay there. And what do you think happened? Why, the ropes of the swing broke, just as Queenie was swinging her very highest—and the little girl went flying right over the tree-tops! She fell down, crash, into a birch tree, and tumbled to

the ground, a little bruised, a lot shaken, and very frightened indeed! She sat up and looked around, and she saw that she was in the very place where George had brought them all to picnic! Yes—there was the circle of trees—and the patch of soft, short grass. " Oh, dear! " said poor Queenie, ready to cry again. " What a dreadful time I've had! But, oh, how glad I am to have left that dreadful place! Quarrelsome Village—a very good name for it too!"

She sat and thought for a little while and she went rather red. " I suppose I was really just as bad as those horrid children," she thought. " I quarrel too—and I grumble and shout and snap and grab. I wasn't any better than those children in Quarrelsome Village. No wonder the brownies thought it would be the right place for me. Oh, I hope I never go there again! " Then Queenie thought of her own brothers and sisters and friends—how kind and jolly and friendly they seemed, after the quarrelsome children in that village! And how horrid they must think her—because she really and truly was quarrelsome, there was no doubt about it.

"If only I could get

back

to them

safely I

would really turn over a new leaf and try to be

nicer," said Queenie to herself. " How I wish I could see them! " And then, who should come along but George himself! He had felt rather uncomfortable at leaving Queenie behind, and had come to see if she was all right, for he was a kindly boy. "Oh, George! I am glad to see you! " said Queenie, jumping up. George looked surprised. " Do you want to come and play? " he asked. "Are you in a better temper now? " "Oh, yes, much," said Queenie. "George, I've been to a horrid place—it was called Quarrelsome Village, and the children were all quarrellers and were simply dreadful. I was a quarreller too. Did you think I was dreadful? " "Yes, I did," said George honestly. "But I've always thought you could be awfully nice if only you tried, Queenie." " Oh, what a lovely thing to say! " cried the little girl, who was delighted to hear kindly things said after the unkindness of Quarrelsome Village. " I'll try, George, I really will. I did so hate going to Quarrelsome Village." " You went to sleep and dreamed it all," said George, with a laugh. "No, really I didn't," said Queenie. "Look at this dreadful bruise on my arm, George!

I got that in Quarrelsome Village. One of the children kicked me." "Good gracious! " said George. "What a shame! Come along now and play—and I do hope you'll really be nicer, Queenie." " George, if I forget, will you whisper some- thing in my ear?" said Queenie. "Just say ' Remember Quarrelsome Village'—and I'll re- member and be nice! " " Right! " said George, and they both ran off. Do you suppose he will often have to whisper in Queenie's ear? I wonder.

I got that in Quarrelsome Village. One of the children kicked me." "Good gracious! " said

The Marvellous Pink Vase

a time

Mr. and

The Marvellous Pink Vase a time Mr. and ONCE upon Mrs. Squabble went to a fair.

ONCE upon

Mrs. Squabble went to a fair. Mr. Squabble spent sixpence on hoopla, and tried to throw wooden rings over the things spread out on a table. Mrs. Squabble spent threepence, and she was very lucky. One of her rings fell right over a marvellous pink vase. It was very tall, and had pink roses painted all the way up. Mrs. Squabble was simply delighted with it. When the man gave it to her she beamed with joy. " Isn't it lovely? " she said to Mr. Squabble as she carried it home. " I wonder where I'd better put it.

Now Mr. Squabble only liked vases when they were put so high up on a shelf or bookcase that he couldn't knock them over. So he made up his

mind that he would say the vase would look fine on the top of the grandfather clock. When they got home Mrs. Squabble put the pink vase down on the table and looked around her parlour. " Now where shall I put it? " she said. "It must be some place where everyone will see it, because it really is beautiful." " Well, my dear, I should put it on the top of the grandfather clock," said Mr. Squabble at once. " On the top of the clock! " said Mrs. Squabble, in surprise. "What a silly place! You never put anything on top of grandfather clocks."

" Well,

why not? " asked Mr. Squabble. " It

would be quite a new place. I should love to see it

there. Then, whenever I looked to see the time, which I do quite twenty times a day, I should see the vase. It's a marvellous place."

" Well,

I don't think so," said Mrs. Squabble

firmly. " I shall put it on this little table here, near

your armchair." Mr. Squabble looked on in horror as he watched Mrs. Squabble put the vase on a rickety little table near his chair. He knew quite well that the first time he reached out for his pipe he would knock the vase over.

"Now, my dear," he said, "that's a foolish place. Only a woman would think of such a silly place." " Oh! How dare you say a thing like that! " cried Mrs. Squabble. " Just because I didn't like the top of the grandfather clock! " " Well, if you don't like that, what about put- ting the vase safely up there on the top of the wireless? " said Mr. Squabble, trying to speak in a nice, peaceful voice. "Really, Squabble, you do think of some stupid places! " said Mrs. Squabble. "Why, every time you turned on the wireless, the vase would shake and might fall over." "I don't think so," said Mr. Squabble. "Though if you turn on the wireless when that dreadful woman with the screeching voice sings, the vase might jump right off in alarm." "I'll put the vase on the mantelpiece," said Mrs. Squabble. But that didn't suit Mr. Squabble at all. " I shall knock it over when I reach up for the matches," he said. , " Clumsy person! " said Mrs. Squabble. "Indeed I'm not!" said Mr. Squabble. 'Why, I could walk on flower-pots all around

the parlour and riot fall off once. And that's more than you could do 1 " Well, of course, that was quite enough to make Mrs. Squabble fetch in twenty flower-pots from the shed and stand them around the parlour. " All right! " she said. " Now we'll just see who is clumsy and who is not! You start walking on the flower-pots that side, and I'll start walking on them this side. And whoever falls off first has lost, and the other one can choose where to put the pink vase. And let me tell you this, Squabble—that / shall win without any doubt at all!" The two of them started to walk on the up- turned flower-pots. They did look silly. Round the parlour they went, and round and round, neither of them falling off, for they were being very, very careful. And then the cat jumped in at the parlour window and made Mr. and Mrs. Squabble jump so much that they fell off their flower-pots at the same moment and fell crash against the little table. The pink vase was there. It wobbled—it fell over—it rolled off the table—it tumbled to the floor with a bang—and it smashed into a hundred pieces!

33

The cat sat in a corner and washed itself. "Now they'll both know where to put the marvellous pink vase! " the cat purred to itself. "There's only one place now—and that's the dustbin! "

The cat sat in a corner and washed itself. "Now they'll both know where to put
The Talking Shoes ONCE there was a little girl called Jennifer. She walked a mile to

The Talking Shoes

ONCE there was a little girl called Jennifer. She walked a mile to school each day and back, and that was quite a long way. Sometimes it rained and then she took her mackintosh. Sometimes it was cold and she took her coat— and sometimes it was very hot and she wore no coat at all, but a shady hat in case she got sun-stroke. One day she set out in the sunshine. It was a nice, sunny, autumn day. Jennifer had a short coat on, and her lace shoes, and her school hat. She ran along, singing a song she was learning at school. Half-way to school a great black cloud came

up

and

it began

to pour with rain. How it

poured! You should have seen it. The rain came down like slanting lines of silver, and big puddles came all along the road. Jennifer stood under a tree to shelter herself.

When the rain stopped she ran out into the road again—and stepped right into a most enormous puddle! It was deeper than her ankles—so she wetted her shoes and socks dreadfully. "Good gracious! " said Jennifer, in dismay. " Now look what I've done! I shall have to sit in school with wet shoes and socks all morning, and I shall get an awful cold." She walked along very sadly, thinking of how she would sneeze and cough the next day—and then she passed by a little yellow cottage where a dear old lady lived all alone. The old lady was shaking the crumbs off her tablecloth for the birds in the garden, and she called to Jennifer. "Did you get caught in that rainstorm, my dear!"

" Yes, I did," said Jennifer

sadly. " And just

look at my shoes and socks! I stepped into a puddle, and they are wet through! " "Dear me, that's very dangerous," said the old woman at once. " Come along in and I'll see if I

can lend you a pair of my stockings, and a dry pair of shoes. I have a very small foot, so maybe I can manage something for you." So Jennifer went into the tidy little cottage, and the old lady found a pair of lace shoes for Jennifer, and a pair of brown stockings. "There! " she said. "These will do nicely. I can lend you a pair of garters, too, to keep up the stockings. Put them on, my dear, and I will dry your wet things and have them ready for you by the time you pass by at dinner-time." Jennifer put on the stockings. Then she .put on the shoes. They had big tongues to them, and long laces, but they were most comfortable. They felt nice and dry too. " Thank you," said Jennifer gratefully. " I'll try not to tread in any more puddles with these on." She skipped off to school. The old lady stood at the gate and called after her. " Oh—Jennifer dear—just a minute. Don't be naughty at school to- day, will you? You may be sorry if you are!" "How funny!" thought Jennifer. "Why should I have to be specially good to-day? I don't know." Jennifer was not very good at school. She whispered and talked when she shouldn't. She

smudged and blotted her writing-book instead of keeping it nice and tidy. She pulled the plaits of the little girl in front, and she pinched the boy next to her because she didn't like him. So you see she really wasn't a very good child at school. She didn't see any real reason why she should be good that day. So she didn't try. She took up her number book so roughly that a page tore in half. Then a funny thing happened. A voice spoke in the silence of the classroom—a rather deep-down, husky voice that no one had ever heard before. " Careless girl, isn't she? " said the voice. " Did you see how she tore her number book? " " Yes, I did," said another voice, just as deep-down and husky. " She ought to lose a mark for that."

smudged and blotted her writing-book instead of keeping it nice and tidy. She pulled the plaits

"Who

is

talking?"

asked Miss Brown in

astonishment,

looking

round

the

class.

The

voices didn't sound a bit

like

any

of

the

girls'

voices.

The

children

stared

round

in

amaze-

ment. Jennifer went red.

How dared somebody talk about her like that? She wondered if it was the little boy next to her. She pinched him slyly. A voice spoke loudly again. "Did you see Jennifer pinch the little boy next to her? Isn't she cruel? " " A most unkind child," said the second voice. " I don't think I like her." "Oh! Who's talking like that about me! " cried Jennifer in a rage. "It sounds like somebody on the ground," said Miss Brown, puzzled and alarmed. Everyone looked on the floor. Nobody was hiding beneath the tables or desks. Have you guessed what it was that was talk- ing? Perhaps you have! It was the tongues in the two borrowed shoes I They chattered away to one another, and were most surprising to hear. " I think she has a very cross face, don't you? " said one tongue. " It's a pity she doesn't look in the glass. Then she would see how horrid she looks when she keeps frowning." " Will you stop talking, whoever it is? " cried Miss Brown, and she rapped on her desk. The shoes held their tongues and stopped talking for a while. They were frightened of Miss Brown. The class settled down to write.

They were copying from the blackboard. Jen- nifer did not try very hard. When she opened her desk to get out some blotting-paper her book slid to the floor. "Good gracious!" said one tongue to the other. " Just look at Jennifer's dreadful writing! Did you ever see anything so awful for a child of ten? Really, she ought to be ashamed of herself." " Poor thing! Perhaps she is a stupid child and can't write any better," said the other tongue, flapping itself a little. "Look at that blot—and three smudges on one page! If I were the teacher I would put Jennifer into the corner." "Oh! Oh!" cried Jennifer, stamping her foot and bursting into tears. " I won't stand it! Who is saying these horrid things about me? " " I can't imagine, Jenny," said Miss Brown. "All I can say is that the things are perfectly true! It is a shocking thing that a girl of ten should write so badly and be so untidy." Jennifer picked up her book sulkily and put it on her desk. The shoes chatted together again. "She's got her horrid, sulky face on now. Isn't she a most unpleasant child? I wonder how many smudges she will make on her next page!"

Jennifer set her teeth and made up .her mind to make no smudges at all. She wrote a really beautiful page and showed it to Miss Brown.

"Good gracious, Jennifer!

I've never seen

Jennifer set her teeth and made up .her mind to make no smudges at all. She

such nice writing from you before!

" cried

Miss Brown. " You see, she can do it if she tries," said one

shoe. " She's just too lazy to do it always."

"I'm not

lazy, I'm not lazy!

" cried Jennifer,

and she stamped her foot. That gave the shoes such a shock that they said nothing at all for a

whole hour. Then it was geography, a lesson that Jennifer didn't like. She leaned over and pulled the plaits of the little girl in front of her, The little girl squealed. " Somebody pulled my hair! " she cried. Miss Brown looked up crossly. " Was it you, Jenny? " she asked. "No, Miss Brown," said Jennifer untruthfully. " OoooooooooOOOOOH! " said one shoe to the other. "Isn't she untruthful? Really! Oooooooooh! " " Untruthful, cowardly, and unkind," said the other shoe. " Why doesn't somebody smack her and send her to bed? " Jennifer glared round at everyone, thinking that somebody must be playing a trick on her, talking like this. But everyone was as astonished as she was. "Who is talking! " cried Miss Brown, quite alarmed again. "I don't like this. I shall put the talkers into the corner if I hear any more." "Fancy! She'd put us in the corner!" giggled a shoe. " Well, she'd have to put Jenny, too, if she put us." " Perhaps we'd better not talk," said the other

shoe. "I believe we are disturbing the clan a little. Sh!" So they said no more until it was time to go home. Then Jennifer went sulkily to the cloakroom and took down her hat and coat. Another child got

in her way, and she gave him a push that sent him right over.

"

Isn't

she

rough?

"

said

the

shoe,

"Did you see her push that nice little over? If she did that to me, I'd kick her! "

shocked. boy right

" And I'd trip her up! " said the other shoe fiercely. " Horrid girl! Do you suppose anyone in the world likes her at all? " " I expect her mother does," said the first shoe.

"Mothers are funny—they always

love their

children even when the children are horrid and rude to them. I should think Jennifer is rude to her mother, wouldn't you? " Jenny sat down on a form and began to cry. "I'm not rude to my mother, I'm not, I'm not," she wept. " I love her. I'm kind to her. Oh, who is it saying these unkind things about me? I may behave horribly sometimes, but I can be good when I try! " "I don't believe that, do you?" said one shoe. "No," said the other. "She couldn't be

good! She's one of these spoilt children we've heard about." The other children laughed. They were sorry for Jennifer, but they couldn't help thinking that it would do her good to hear these things. She went off crying bitterly, puzzled and unhappy. The shoes talked on and on. They chatted about Jenny's bad writing and her wrong sums and her pinching and pushing. Jenny sobbed and cried all the way to the little yellow cottage. The old dame was waiting for her at the gate. "Dear, dear! " she said, when she saw Jenny coming along with red eyes and tear-stained cheeks. " What's the matter? Have those shoes been wagging their tongues too much? " "Shoes? Wagging their tongues?" said Jenny in amazement. " What do you mean? " " Well, those shoes I lent you this morning can be most tiresome," said the old lady. " They belonged to my great-grandmother, you know, and were made by a brownie, so it is said. They have tongues, of course, just as your own lace shoes have—but these shoe tongues can talk— and talk they do! They are real chatterboxes. I hope they didn't say anything unkind! " "Oh, no, Mam, we only spoke the truth ! "

cried the two shoe tongues together, and they flapped themselves about in the shoes. Jenny

looked down in amazement. She took off the shoes very quickly indeed.

"So they were

the talkers!

"

she

said.

"The

tongues of my shoes! Well—I never knew shoe tongues could talk! " " Oh, my dear, they all could at one time," said the old lady. " That is why they were called tongues, you know, because they spoke. But they did say the silliest, most tiresome things, so now very few of them are allowed to talk. I can't stop the tongues in this old pair of shoes, though. That's why I called to you to be good this morning—because I knew the shoe tongues would talk about it if you were naughty."

"I shan't

be

quite

so

naughty in future," said

Jenny, beginning to

cried the two shoe tongues together, and they flapped themselves about in the shoes. Jenny looked

smile. "I don't like to be thought lazy and stupid and horrid. Lend me your shoes in a month's time, and see if they can say heaps of nice things about me for a change, will you? " "Certainly," said the old lady, slipping Jenny's own shoes on her feet. " How cross they will be if there is nothing naughty they can chat about! " I'd like to hear what they say in a month's time, wouldn't you? What would your shoe tongues say if they could speak, I wonder? Do tell me!

smile. "I don't like to be thought lazy and stupid and horrid. Lend me your shoes

The

Clockwork

Kangaroo

THE

toys

in

Jackie's

nursery were

very

happy

together

till

the

clockwork

kangaroo'

came.

brown

Jackie

had

big

a

a bear on wheels,

The Clockwork Kangaroo THE toys in Jackie's nursery were very happy together till the clockwork kangaroo'

horse and a cart, a sailor-doll, and a few other toys

who lived together in the toy-cupboard.

At night the sailor-doll took the horse out of the

cart, so that he could run free.

In return the horse

The Clockwork Kangaroo THE toys in Jackie's nursery were very happy together till the clockwork kangaroo'

gave the doll a ride round the nursery. He loved to gallop about, and his hooves made a tiny pattering noise on the floor. Once when Jackie woke up, he heard the noise, but he thought it was the rain pat- tering outside! If he had

looked into the nursery he would have seen that it was the horse. The bear got the sailor-doll to oil his wheels so that he could run quietly about at night without making any noise. The train didn't make much noise because it didn't run on its rails at night, but just anywhere it liked on the carpet. And then the jumping kangaroo came. It was a very clever toy really, because its clockwork made it jump high in the air just as a real kangaroo does. How it could jump I "Hallo! " said the kangaroo, the first night. " How are you all? I'm a jumping kangaroo." " Oh, really, how interesting! " said the bear politely. " How far can you jump? " " I'll show you," said the kangaroo. He sprang high into the air—and landed, bang, on the bear's nose! "Please don't do that again," said the bear crossly, shaking the kangaroo off his nose. The kangaroo sprang high into the air once more—and this time he landed on the engine of the train with such a crash that he bent the little funnel. "Look what you've done! " said the train angrily. " I was very proud of my funnel. Now

you've spoilt it. I don't look like a real train any more! " The kangaroo leapt about till his clockwork was run down. Then, because no one would wind him up, he sat in a corner and sulked. He just couldn't reach his own key with his paws, which was a very good thing. He made friends with Sambo, a tiny black doll whom nobody liked much, and Sambo was always ready to wind him up. After that the toys didn't have a very good time at night, for the kangaroo was always jumping out at them from somewhere. "He really is a nuisance," said the bear, rattling his four wheels crossly. " So is Sambo," said the sailor-doll. " Always winding up the kangaroo so that he can jump on us."

"I wish the kangaroo had never come to our nursery," said the train. "We were as happy as could be before." " Can't we get rid of him? " asked the horse. " Last night he jumped on my back and frightened me so much that I galloped three times round the nursery with him without stopping— and then he grinned and said, ' Thanks for the ride!' Horrid creature!"

" I wish he'd jump into the wastepaper-bas-ket! " said the bear. "That's deep—and he couldn't get out of there." " Then he would be emptied into the dustbin the next morning and that would be the end of

him," said the sailor-doll. "I say—that's an idea! " " What do you mean? " asked the bear. " I'll think of some plan with the wastepaper- basket," said the doll. " Don't speak to me for a minute." So he thought hard—and then he grinned round at the others. He looked round to make sure that the kangaroo was not near, and then he whispered to the others.

" Listen!

"

he

said.

" To-morrow

night

we'll

pretend to have a jumping-match to see who can

jump the farthest. And when it comes to the kangaroo's turn to jump, we'll quickly swing out the basket—and he'll jump right into it."

" Oh, good! " said the bear.

" Let's do it."

So the next night the toys all began talking about a jumping-match, and, of course, the kan- garoo came along in great excitement, for he felt sure that he would be able to win the match easily.

"This is the jumping-off place," said the sailor- doll, drawing a little line on the carpet with a piece of white chalk. " And we'll draw a white line to show where everyone jumps to—and the one who jumps the farthest shall win the prize." " What is the prize? " asked the kangaroo at once. " The prize is a chocolate," said the bear. The kangaroo was pleased. He wanted to have his turn first. " No," said the bear. " Smallest ones first. Come on, Black Sambo." Sambo stood on the chalk-line, grinning. He jumped—quite a good jump for such a tiny doll. The bear drew a chalk-line at the spot where he landed. " Now you, Ball! " he called. The red ball rolled up. It bounced off the chalk-line and did a very good jump indeed. The bear drew another line.

"That's fine, Ball," he said. "I believe you will win." " No, he won't! " cried the kangaroo at once. "Let me try now! " " It's not your turn," said the bear. " Train, come on." The engine ran up and stood with its front

wheels on the chalk-line. It gave a puff and jumped—but it fell right over on to its side with a clatter. "Goodness! What a noise! " said the bear. " That wasn't a very good jump, Engine. Have you hurt yourself? " "No," said the engine, and ran off into a corner on its six wheels to watch what was going to happen. The sailor-doll jumped next—and his was a splendid jump, even better than the ball's. The kangaroo was so impatient to show that his jump would be even finer that he pushed everyone else out of the way and stood on the chalk-line himself, quite determined to win the prize. "Now's the time to catch him! " whispered the bear to the sailor-doll. " Where's the waste-paper- basket? " " I've got it ready under the table," whispered back the doll. " I'll go and push it out just as the kangaroo jumps! Don't say ' one, two, three, jump ' till I'm ready." The sailor-doll ran under the table to the tall wastepaper-basket. He took hold of it, ready to push it out. The bear saw that he was ready and counted for the kangaroo. "Are you ready? Now, one, two, three, JUMP! "

53

The kangaroo jumped. My, he did jump well! The doll saw him sailing through the air as if he had wings—and then with a hard push the waste- paper-basket was set right under the kangaroo — and he fell into it, plomp! He was most surprised. He sat down on some apple-peel and torn-up paper and blinked his eyes

The kangaroo jumped. My, he did jump well! The doll saw him sailing through the air

in astonishment. "What's this?" he thought. "What's this?" "Got him!" said the sailor-doll in delight. All the toys danced round the basket in joy, except Sambo, and he was cross. But he couldn't do anything at all. "I say! I've fallen into the wastepaper-basket," called the kangaroo, trying to scramble out. "This is most extraordinary."

"Yes, isn't it," giggled the sailor-doll. ''Didn't you see it there? " "No, I didn't," said the kangaroo, puzzled. "It just seemed to come underneath me. I say, help me out, somebody." But nobody did. Black Sambo was too small to help, and the others wouldn't even try. The kangaroo tried to jump out. He leapt higher and higher—but the basket was tall and he just couldn't jump over the top. He began to get frightened. "My clockwork is nearly run down," he cried. " I can't jump out. Help me, do help me. I hate being mixed up with apple-peel, and paper, and dead flowers." "Serves you right," said the bear gruffly. "You are a nuisance—and the right place for nuisances is the wastepaper-basket or the dustbin." The kangaroo began to cry. His clockwork had now run down and he could jump no more. He smelt of apple-peel. He was very unhappy because he knew that the housemaid emptied the basket into the dustbin every morning. He began to scramble round and round the basket, like a gold-fish swimming round a bowl. The toys giggled. The kangaroo had often

frightened them—and now he was frightened himself. He would know what a horrid feeling it was. Sambo felt sorry for his friend, but he couldn't do anything to help him. " Oh, Kangy, I think the other toys have done this on purpose," he said sadly. " They have punished you for being naughty to them." Well, the night went on, and the morning came —and Jane the housemaid came to do the nursery. She carried away the basket to empty it into the dustbin. And then the toys began to feel rather dreadful. "I don't much like to think of Kangaroo in the smelly old dustbin," said the sailor-doll. " What happens to things in the dustbin? " "I don't know," said the bear. "Do you think he is very unhappy? " Certainly the kangaroo was most unhappy. Jane had emptied him into the dustbin, and he had fallen on to a pile of wet tea-leaves, which stuck all over him. There was some broken glass there too, which had cut a hole in his fur. "If only I had just one more jump left! " sighed the kangaroo sadly. '' The next time anyone takes the lid off the dustbin I could jump out, for I am near the top."

Just as he spoke, the cook came to put some cinders there. She took off the lid and emptied the pan of cinders all over the kangaroo. He gathered himself together and did one last jump. Out he leapt—and the cook gave a yell. " My gracious! What's this leaping about? " She bent down and picked up the kangaroo. "Well, if it isn't the clockwork kangaroo. He must have got in here by mistake. I'll take him back to the nursery." She took him back. Jackie wasn't there, so she put the dirty, cindery toy on the floor and left him there. He groaned, and the toys peeped out at him. At first they didn't know who it was, for the kangaroo was so dirty and so spotted with tea- leaves. "Toys! " groaned the kangaroo. "Help me. I'm sorry I ever annoyed you. Do, do help me." The toys were so pleased to think that the kangaroo was back that they all rushed to help him. They washed him. They brushed him. The sailor- doll mended the hole in his fur. In fact, they couldn't do enough for him, and he almost cried for joy.

"It

was

dreadful

in

the

dustbin,"

he

said.

"Really dreadful. Don't send me there any more.

I'll never behave so badly again."

"Well, perhaps we've behaved badly too," said

the sailor-doll, ashamed.

"You

be

kind

to

us,

Kangaroo, and we'll be kind to you. There's nothing like kindness, you know." Now the kangaroo never leaps on anyone, but instead he gives the sailor-doll and Sambo piggy- backs when he jumps—which is really most exciting for them. Didn't he have a horrid adventure!

"Well, perhaps we've behaved badly too," said the sailor-doll, ashamed. "You be kind to us, Kangaroo,
The Enchanted Umbrella ONE day, when Kathleen and Morris had gone to look for blackberries in

The Enchanted Umbrella

ONE day, when Kathleen and Morris had gone to look for blackberries in Cuckoo Wood, they had a strange adventure. It all began because of the rain. The sun had been shining out of a blue sky when they started out, but when they were deep in the heart of the wood, picking great big black- berries, the sky clouded over. "Isn't it getting dark! " said Kathleen, looking

up at the black sky between the trees. "I'm afraid it's going to pour with rain! " Just as she spoke the rain came—and how it poured! The children huddled under a thick tree and watched in dismay. "We haven't our mackintoshes with us," said Morris, "nor even an umbrella! We ought to have taken a satchel with us and put our raincoats in, in case. Now we shall get soaked! " They stood under the tree, gazing at the pour- ing rain. The tree dripped and dripped; everywhere was as wet as could be. Then suddenly Kathleen stared at something in astonishment, and pointed. "Look!" she cried. " What's that against the tree over there? Is it an umbrella? No, surely it can't be! " Morris looked, but he couldn't see the um- brella. Kathleen suddenly darted out from beneath the tree to fetch it. " I don't know who it belongs to! " she cried, " but we'll use it to shelter us until the rain has stopped. It looks a lovely big one." Morris stood under the tree and watched Kath- leen run to a beech tree not far off—and there, sure enough, leaning against the trunk was a bright green umbrella with red spots on it! Kathleen ran to it, picked it up and opened it.

It was very large indeed, big enough for three or four people to get underneath. And then a very strange thing happened. Just as Kathleen began to run back to Morris with the green umbrella, she stopped and looked puzzled. "What's the matter?" called Morris. "The umbrella is pulling at my hand," said Kathleen—and, as Morris watched, he could quite plainly see that the umbrella was pulling hard at Kathleen. Then he knew that it was magic, and he shouted to Kathleen. " Let it go! It's enchanted! Let it go, Kathleen!" "I can't, I can't! " shouted poor Kathleen in a fright. '' The crook handle has taken hold of my hand and it's pulling me along! " Kathleen was certainly being pulled along, away from Morris. He started to run over to her, but as soon as the umbrella heard him it pulled at Kathleen's hand all the more strongly, and off she went with it, running at top speed between the trees! The umbrella was very clever at dodging the branches, and although Morris ran as hard as he could through the rain, he couldn't catch it. Soon he had lost sight of it, and he stopped in

dismay. Now what was he to do? He must find Kathleen somehow! He couldn't let a strange umbrella go off with her like that. He looked round him. He was in another part of the wood, where he had never been before. "Now I'm lost!" he said. "Oh, goodness, what a dreadful morning! " Soon he spied a small cottage set under a great oak tree. "I'll go there and ask my way," he thought. He was just about to walk towards the cottage when he heard the sound of someone running through the wood, and to his great surprise he saw a small gnome, with long pointed ears and a long nose. Morris had never seen any of the little folk before, though he knew they lived in Cuckoo Wood, and he stared in astonishment. The gnome was crying loudly, and tears dripped off his nose like raindrops. He ran up the path and banged on the door of the little cottage. Someone opened it, and the gnome began to talk loudly. "I stood your umbrella by the old oak tree whilst I went to call on my mother! " he wept. " I was only gone a minute and when I came back it had disappeared! Yes, it was quite gone. Oh, dear, I'm so sorry! It was so kind of you to lend

it to me, and now I've lost it! Where do you suppose it has gone? " " Hie, hie! " shouted Morris, running to the cottage in excitement. " I can tell you about that umbrella! " He ran up the pathway to the little door, hop- ing that the gnome would help him to get Kathleen back safely. The little gnome stared at him in surprise. At the door stood a brownie with a long beard. "Come in, both of you," he said. "It's still raining. There's no need to get wet! " Morris went inside. It was a queer little place, dark and full of furniture. He soon told the gnome what had happened when Kathleen had found the umbrella, and the little man's face became longer and longer as he listened. "My goodness! " he said dolefully. "Who would have thought the umbrella would behave like that?" " Well, it's an enchanted one, you know," said the brownie. "It used to belong to Dame Twiddle-

pins, who lives on the top of Sugar Hill —I expect it's gone back to her! " "But what about Kathleen?" asked Morris, in dismay.

"Oh,

she's gone too,"

said the brownie.

" That used to be an old trick of that umbrella's, when it was young—taking people off to Dame Twiddle-pins. She was half a witch in those days and lived in a great shining palace. She was always wanting people to help her with her spells, so she used to let her umbrella fetch them for her." "Poor Kathleen! " said Morris. "Whatever shall I do? Which way is it to the Sugar Hill? " "Good gracious, you're not thinking of going to Dame Twiddle-pins, are you?" said the brownie. "Of course I am," said Morris. "I must rescue Kathleen somehow." " I'll come with you," said the gnome. " You would never be able to find the way by yourself." "Oh, thank you," said Morris, gratefully. "We'd better start now. It's stopped raining." The brownie went to the door and saw them off. The gnome took Morris through the trees until he came to a very tall one. " We climb up this," he said. Morris looked at it. He liked climbing trees, but this one was very difficult. It was soaked with rain and was green and slippery. The gnome swung himself up on a branch and

65

began to climb—but in a second he was down again, his nice red suit all covered in green. "We'll have to go up inside," he said. "I'll just knock and see if it's convenient." To Morris's surprise he knocked on the tree with a little wooden knocker that looked like a knob of bark. A small door opened in the trunk and an old lady looked out. " What do you want? " she asked. " If you're selling scissors, I don't want any to-day." " We're not selling anything," said the gnome, politely. " We just want to know if you'd mind us using your stairs inside the tree to-day. It's so slippery outside." "All right," said the old woman. "But see that you wipe your feet! " They stepped inside the big tree and wiped their feet carefully on the mat. Morris was astonished to see that he was in a hall. An open door looked into a cosy kitchen with a bright fire. Two other doors were shut. A spiral stairway was in the middle of the tree, and the gnome led the way up this. "This tree belongs to old Mrs. Acorn," he said. "She lets all the rooms in it to lodgers. We shall pass their doors as we go up." Morris was more and more astonished. They

went up the staircase, and as they passed each landing he looked at the doors. Some had brass plates on them, with printed names. "Frisky Squirrel" was on one plate. "Mister Fiddlesticks " on another. Morris wondered what he could be like. As they passed one door it opened and a small pixie looked out. " Oh," she said in disappoint- ment. "I thought you were the washing coming." Before Morris could say anything she had shut the door. They went up and up, passing many rooms on the way. At last the tree narrowed until there was only room for the stairway. Then that ended in a small platform, and Morris and the gnome came out at the very top of the tree. Morris stepped on to the platform and looked round. He was right at die very top of the wood! The tree they had climbed was higher than any other, and Morris could see far down below him the green, waving tops of the other trees. " Where do we go now? " he asked. "We must wait for the Cloud Bus," said the gnome, picking acorns off the top of the tree, and throwing them down through the branches. Morris felt excited. The cloud bus! Whatever

could that be like? He watched for it, and very soon saw a queer-looking carriage bumping along over the clouds. It seemed to be made of clouds itself, and was painted all the colours of the rainbow.

It came rolling to the top of the tree, and
It came rolling
to
the
top
of the
tree,
and

stopped at the platform. Its wheels were set with misty wings, and it was these that sent it along. " Get in," said the gnome. Morris stepped in half- frightened, for really, the bus didn't look strong enough to hold him. But it was! He sat down on a seat and looked round. There were

only two other passengers, a man in a pointed hat who looked like a wizard, and a very stiff- looking rabbit dressed in a black coat and a high collar, with a shiny top-hat on his head. His ears stuck out at each side and made Morris want to laugh, but the rabbit looked so solemn that he didn't like to. The conductor came to give them tickets. The gnome gave him two pennies, which, to Morris's surprise, were green instead of brown, and asked for Sugar Hill. "Sorry," said the conductor, who was a small brownie with his beard tucked neatly into his belt. "We don't go there, you know. The nearest we go is Sleepy Town." "Well, we'll go there, then," said the gnome. "I don't want to," he said to Morris, "because it's a dreadful place to get out of. It's so difficult to find anyone who will tell you the way." The bus went on through the air, the little wings on the wheels flying and making them go round. The next stop was Tip-up Corner. Morris thought it a very good name for whatever place it was, for the bus tipped up and he and the other two passengers all went sliding to the front. The rabbit's top-hat came off and he was very much upset. He went after it and fell right out

of the bus. Morris saw him tumbling down through the air. "He's all right," said the conductor. "He nearly always gets out like that. Sleepy Town's the next stop. I'll put you down in the marketplace." The bus went on to Sleepy Town. It flew downwards for a change and Morris saw that it was on the ground again, its wheels still moving by means of the little wings. Soon it came to a quiet, sleepy-looking village and stopped in the market- place. " Here you are," said the conductor. " Sleepy Town!" They got out and looked round. There were a few stalls in the market, but under the big um- brellas that protected their goods from the sun, the people of Sleepy Town sat, fast asleep. They were round, fat little people, with button noses and shiny cheeks. Morris felt sleepy himself when he looked at them. He yawned loudly. The gnome looked at him in alarm. "I say, don't do that!" he said. "If you once go to sleep here, you might not wake up for months." " Good gracious! " said Morris, alarmed. " I'll be careful, then."

" The thing is—which way do we go to Sugar Hill? " said the gnome. "If only we could find < someone to ask! They are all sound asleep! " "Wake them then! " said Morris. He went up to a small fat boy who sat fast asleep against a wall, his mouth wide open. Morris shook him. Then he shook him again. All that happened was that the boy shut his mouth, and began to snore. "It's no good," said the gnome, watching. " You never can wake anyone up in Sleepy Town. If we could find the fire-bell we might be able to. That's about the only thing they listen to! " " Come on, then, let's find it," said Morris. So they looked up and down the crooked little streets —and at last Morris found the fire-station! Inside was a bright and shining fire-engine—and by it, hanging on the wall, was a great fire-bell. "Good! " cried Morris. He ran to it, took it down and rang it. Goodness, what a clanging it made! The gnome almost jumped out of his skin— and then, in the same minute he cried: " Look out! The fire-engine is moving! " Morris looked round and saw the fire-engine rushing towards him all by itself. He had no time to get out of the way, so he quickly jumped up on the front of it with his bell. The gnome

jumped on too, and off they both went down the street on the swift fire-engine! But the streets were no longer sleepy. Every- one had awakened as if by magic! They jumped up, they came rushing out of the houses, they shouted loudly. When they saw the fire-engine they were more excited than ever. " Where's the fire? " they called, to the gnome and Morris. This was awkward. There was no fire, of course. Morris thought it was better not to answer that question. Instead he asked another. " Which is the way to Sugar Hill? " "Oh, is that where the fire is?" shouted the fat little folk. "Down to the right, across the river, and you'll see Sugar Hill in the distance. Hurry there and we'll follow and help you to put the fire out! " The gnome began to laugh when he saw the round Sleepy Town folk jumping on bicycles, and getting into carts and cars to find out where the fire was. " We've woken them up all right," he said. "I say, how do you guide this fire-engine? We must make it go the right way." It didn't seem to need any guiding at all. It rushed to the right, round a corner, and thundered towards a river that shone in the distance.

It rolled over a wide bridge, and then Morris and the gnome saw, glittering in the distance, a curious hill, as white as snow. On the top stood a small house which looked as if it might topple over at any moment! "There's Sugar Hill!" said the gnome, pleased. On went the fire-engine, and as it came near Sugar Hill Morris saw that it was unwinding long hoses. " Look! " he said to the gnome. " The engine really thinks there's a fire! " "And look behind you!" said the gnome. "The whole of Sleepy Town is coming after us!" So it was! Hundreds of the little fat folk were coming along in crowds, eager to see where the fire was. Morris began to wonder what they would say when they knew there was no fire! The engine stopped at the foot of the white sugary hill. Morris and the gnome jumped off. They began to climb the hill, slipping backwards every now and then in the snow-like sugar. When they reached the top they looked at the strange house that rested there. It really looked as though a good strong push would send it down to the bottom of the hill on the other side!

Outside the door stood the enchanted umbrella, green, with red spots! Morris gave a shout when he saw it, and so did the gnome. So Kathleen was here after all! Good! Morris was going to knock at the door when the gnome stopped him. "Don't do that," he whispered. "If old Dame Twiddle-pins comes she'll be angry to see that we've brought half Sleepy Town with us, and she'll whip us. Peep in at the window." So Morris crept to the window and peeped in- side the house. The first thing he saw was Kathleen sitting in a corner, crying. She was trying to sew a great checked duster with a coarse, blunt needle, and it was dreadfully hard work. The tears fell on the duster, and Morris felt very sorry for Kathleen. Then he saw Dame Twiddle-pins, nodding, half- asleep, in a rocking-chair. If only he could make Kathleen see him I He tapped gently on the window, and then bobbed down in case the old woman should look up and see him. Then he heard a deep voice speaking, the voice of Dame Twiddle-pins. "Go to the window, girl, and look out. It sounds as if a bird is tapping at the pane. It may be my pigeon. Let it in." Kathleen went to the window and opened it.

As soon as she leaned out she saw Morris crouching underneath. He beckoned to her to jump out of the window, and at once she did so, delighted to see her brother. He dragged her down to him and then they crept round to the other side of the house, where the gnome was. "Oh, Morris!" said Kathleen, in joy. "I knew you'd rescue me! That horrid old woman has set me to do all sorts of nasty, hard jobs for her, ever since that umbrella brought me here, and she wouldn't let me go home." Just then there was an angry shout from inside the house. "Girl! Where are you? Come back at once or I'll come and fetch you." Morris, the gnome and Kathleen crouched together on the other side of the house. The old dame ran to the door and stood there, looking for Kathleen—and at that very moment the fire-engine filled its long hose with water, held it up like an elephant's trunk and squirted a great jet all over Dame Twiddle-pins! She gave a loud scream of surprise and fright and fell backwards into the kitchen, soaked through. She went to the open window, shouting with rage, and the engine squirted water through that too. Then

up the hill came climbing all the little fat folk of Sleepy Town, carrying buckets of water, and what a time they had! They flung their water everywhere, and soon the inside of the house was dripping wet. Dame Twiddle-pins was quite beside herself with rage and amazement, for she couldn't imagine what everyone was doing—and at last, so fierce and angry was she that the Sleepy Town folk stopped and listened to her.

"How dare you, how dare you! " shouted the old

dame, shaking her stick at them. " We came to put out the fire," said one of the fat folk.

"I

didn't

have

a

fire!"

shouted

Dame

Twiddle-pins. "But a boy rang the fire-bell and started the fire- engine off here," said another. "Oh, that's someone come to get the girl I had here then," said Dame Twiddle-pins, in a rage. "Well, find them. They must be somewhere about.

The hill's too steep to get down at the back and we should have seen anyone climbing down the front!"

Morris,

Kathleen

and

the

gnome

wondered

whatever they were going to do. They were still hiding at the back of the house. The gnome

suddenly

77

stood up and grinned. "I've thought of something! " he said. '' Wait here for me! " He slipped round the side of the house to the front door. Everyone was most astonished to see him, and no one tried to capture him at all. They just stood with their mouths and eyes wide open in surprise! The gnome caught up the green umbrella, dashed round the house with it and opened it. He hooked it on to his belt, held out a hand to each of the two children, and shouted suddenly in a very loud voice, "Home, Umbrella! " The umbrella immediately tugged hard at the gnome's belt and began to take them down the hill at the back. It was very steep, but with the help of the umbrella and the gnome, the children managed all right. Everyone came running round the back of the house. Dame Twiddle-pins too, and how they shouted to see the three escaping. " You woke us up, you bad boy! " cried one of the Sleepy Town folk, shaking his fist. "You took our fire-engine," roared another. "You've spoilt my house! " screamed Dame Twiddle-pins. " Good-bye, good-bye, see you another time! " called the gnome, cheekily, as they all reached the

bottom of the hill. The umbrella took them swiftly along. It seemed to know its way marvellously well. In less than ten minutes it was back in Cuckoo Wood, dodging between the still wet trees in a very clever manner. It stopped outside the brownie's house and the gnome unhooked it from his belt. The brownie opened his door and looked out. The umbrella walked into his kitchen and put itself into a small umbrella-stand there. It really was a marvellous umbrella! "So you're safely back! " said the brownie. " Well, come in and have a cup of cocoa. I've got some made for you. Then you, gnome, can take the children home." So they all went in and drank hot, sweet cocoa, and told the brownie their queer adventures. When he heard about the people throwing water over Dame Twiddle-pins he laughed till he cried. "That will serve her right!” he said, wiping his eyes. " She's a hard, mean old creature, and that will teach her a lesson! Oh, dear, oh, dear, how I wish I'd been there! " " I think it's time we went home," said Morris, at last. So they said good-bye to the brownie, promised to go and see him again, and went with the gnome, who saw them safely to the edge of

the wood. Then off they ran home, longing to tell their mother all that had happened. But she thought that they had made it all up — so to-morrow they are going to take her to the brownie's house in the wood, and show her that strange and surprising thing—the brownie's en- chanted umbrella !

the wood. Then off they ran home, longing to tell their mother all that had happened.
The White Golliwog THE golliwog had lived in the nursery cupboard for a long time. He

The

White

Golliwog

THE golliwog had lived in the nursery cupboard for a long time. He was almost the oldest of all the toys. Every Christmas-time, when new toys came, the golliwog welcomed them, and made them feel at home. The toys belonged to Harry and Betty, the twins. When they had a birthday more toys than ever came to the nursery. The golliwog felt very busy indeed then, telling the new dolls where to sleep, and the new animals how to behave. Now one birthday the twins had three new dolls, two toy dogs, four wooden soldiers as large as the golly himself, and a new pink teddy-bear, very clean and smart indeed. The golliwog quite looked forward to talking

to them all, and telling them things. But to his astonishment the new toys turned up their noses at him. " Thank you, Golly, but we can look after our- selves! " said the three new dolls in a haughty voice. "Go back to your own corner and leave us to find ours! " barked the toy dogs, and they showed their teeth. Golly was really frightened. "What a dirty, black-faced creature! " said the wooden soldiers in a jeering way. "Please don't come near me I " said the pink teddy-bear. "I'm not used to people who don't wash their faces! If I had a face as black as yours I'd scrub it with yellow soap!" " But my face is meant to be black! " cried the poor golly. " All golliwogs are black." "Why should they be?" asked one of the dolls. " Why shouldn't they have clean white faces like ours? It's just laziness on their part —they won't wash! " The golliwog felt very much upset. He knew quite well that he couldn't wash his face white, any more than the dolls could wash their faces black. He sat in a corner of the toy cupboard and worried about it. The old toys tried to comfort 84

him, but he felt as if everyone must feel the same as the new toys. Then one night he suddenly had a good idea. He remembered the twins' paint-box! It was on the shelf with all their books. " There's a tube of white paint in that paint- box! " thought the golly. "If I get that—and squeeze it out—and rub it all over my face and hands—I'll be as white and pale as the "dolls!" So he ran to a chair, climbed up on it, and reached up to the book-shelf. The paint-box was there, and Golly lifted it down. He slipped off the chair and sat down in a dark corner behind the coal-scuttle. And there, all alone, he opened the box, and took out the little tube of white paint. He un- screwed the cap and squeezed the tube. Nothing happened. He squeezed harder still—and a long white worm of paint wriggled out. The golliwog giggled. He dabbed his hand into it, and then smeared it all over his black face. He rubbed hard. Then he squeezed another white worm from the paint tube and rubbed that all over his face too. He began to look very queer indeed! The golly used half the tube of paint. Then

he screwed the cap on carefully and put the tube back into the box. He wished he could see himself. All his face was gleaming white, and so were his two hands! Golly thought he would go out and show himself to the nursery toys, but, before he had time to get up, the pink teddy-bear came round the side of the coal-scuttle. He saw the gleaming white face of the golly and gave a howl. He tore away, squealing. "Oooohow! .Oooohow! There's a dreadful creature behind the scuttle, with a shining face!" The golliwog giggled again. He heard more footsteps, and knew that somebody was coming up on the other side of the scuttle. So he suddenly poked out his white face and yelled, "Booo!" A shriek came from the other side and some- body fell over. It was one of the new dolls. The golliwog laughed. Then he marched out from behind the scuttle, shouting, "Here I come! Here I come! .The only white-faced golly in the world! Here I come ! " All the new toys ran away, screaming. But the old toys, who knew the golliwog's voice well, looked at him in surprise and dismay.

85

"Golly! What have you done to yourself? You look dreadful I " they cried. "Oh," said the golly in disappointment. "I thought everyone would think I looked fine." " Whatever did you do it for?" cried the monkey. "Well, the new toys wouldn't be friends with me at all, and said I didn't wash my face," said the golly gloomily. "Now look at them—all hiding behind the curtains, frightened out of their lives. And you don't like me either, old toys!" "Please, please get back your nice black face! " said the pink teddy-bear, still trembling. " We're sorry we teased you. Get your old face back." "I can't! " wailed the golly. "I'm all over white paint now! " "Come here," said the monkey, and he took Golly to the wash-basin. He got the sponge and wetted it. He wiped it all over Golly's face and rubbed it hard. The paint came away on the sponge and the black began to show again. A few more wipes and Golly's face was as black as ever it had been before! "There you are! " said Monkey. "Now you look like your dear old self again! "

He did—but his face was soaking wet and felt very cold and uncomfortable. So Monkey took him to the fire, and he had to hold his face towards the flames until it dried. And you may be sure that not one of the toys, either new or old, ever said a word about Golly's face being dirty again!

He did—but his face was soaking wet and felt very cold and uncomfortable. So Monkey took

The Clever Kitten

COSY was a little tabby kitten, five months old. She was called Cosy because she always looked such a cosy bundle when she curled herself up on a cushion. She lived upstairs in the nursery, and the chil- dren made a great fuss of her. But Mother said she must soon be a kitchen cat and go and catch mice in the larder. The children were upset. They did so love having Cosy in the nursery. Sometimes she slept in the doll's cot, and often she went out for a walk wheeled in the doll's pram. " Mother! If you make her live in the kitchen she will grow fat and lazy and won't play any more!" said Lucy. "Oh, please, do let her belong to us and be the nursery cat." But Mother didn't seem to think it would be a good idea at all. So Cosy was told that for one week more she could be a nursery kitten—and 90

then she must go downstairs and become a kitchen cat. Now, one afternoon Cosy had a shock. She was sitting upstairs in the nursery arm-chair, 1 dozing, wondering if she should get up and try and catch a fly that was buzzing round the table when she suddenly saw somebody looking right in through the window. Cosy jumped and spat. She arched her little striped back and hissed at the face that looked in at the window. She knew who it was. It was the garden-boy, Alfred, who had sometimes caught her and pulled her tail. And now here was Alfred staring in at the nursery window! Whatever was he there for? The nursery was upstairs. Cosy wondered if Alfred had suddenly grown legs long enough to reach to the nursery. It was most extraordinary. She didn't know that Alfred was standing on a ladder. He had been sent up to tie a big branch of the climbing rose-tree that had got loose. Alfred stared into the nursery. The cupboard door was open, and in the cupboard Alfred saw things that made his mouth water. There was a bag of sugar lumps. A tin of biscuits stood-there too. A bottle of sweets was next to it. A slab of chocolate was nearby. Goodness! Alfred

thought it was marvellous to see so many good things together. He looked down into the garden. Nobody was there. He peered carefully into the nursery. Nobody was there either.

"I'll chance it! " said Alfred to himself.
"I'll chance
it!
"
said
Alfred
to himself.

"I

could get all those things into my pocket! " Now as Alfred climbed in at the window, he pushed the ladder, quite by accident, and it fell to the ground below! And there was Alfred in the nursery, with no ladder to get down again by! He would have to go down die stairs.

Cosy the kitten glared at him. She didn't like the unkind garden-boy at all. She spat and hissed pat him. He threw a brick at her from the brick box and it hit Cosy on the tail. The kitten leapt out of the chair and flew at Alfred. She scratched

Cosy the kitten glared at him. She didn't like the unkind garden-boy at all. She spat

him down the hand. Oh, if only, only she could make someone come and catch this bad boy before he took all the things out of the cupboard! And then Cosy had a marvellous idea! The nursery piano was open. She had often seen Lucy playing on it, making all kinds of noises, deep and loud, and high and tinkly. Perhaps

Cosy

could

make

a noise

on it too,

and then

someone might hear and come to the nursery ! So Cosy leapt up on to the open piano and ran up and down the black and white keys. " Ping, ping, pong, dingle-dingle, doom! " went the keys,

making a funny little tune of their own. Cosy was rather frightened. It was funny to make noises with her feet. But she went on and on running up and down the piano, though Alfred threw another brick at her to make her get off! .

Now Mother was sitting in the room below, reading. She knew that Nurse and the children were out. And when she heard the strange noise going on upstairs she couldn't imagine what it was! She jumped up and listened. "Ping, ping, pong, dingle, dingle, DOOM! " went the noise. The loud, deep DOOM sound was the lowest key on the piano. "It's someone banging about on the nursery piano! " said Mother, in great astonishment. "Whoever can it be ? " She ran upstairs to see—and when she got to the nursery, what did she find but Alfred stuffing his pockets full of sugar lumps and sweets and biscuits! And there was Cosy still on the piano, 94

playing the keys by running up and down, up and down! "ALFRED! " said Mother. And how Alfred jumped! In two minutes he was downstairs, and the gardener was telling him just exactly what he thought of him, and just what happened to bad boys who climbed in at other people's windows and stole. What a shock for Alfred! But how thrilled the children were when they came home and heard all that had happened! "Clever little Cosy! " cried Lucy, picking up the purring kitten. "Mother, don't make her into a kitchen cat, please, please, don't! Why, she can even play the nursery piano! And she has saved all our biscuits and sweets and sugar. Mother, do let her belong to the nursery always and always! " "Very well," said Mother, with a laugh. " You can have Cosy for your own. But do teach her to play the piano properly, my dears, because although the noise she made was very good for catching a thief, I wouldn't at all like to hear it going on all day long! " So Lucy is going to teach Cosy to play the piano properly. Do you think she will be able to?

The One-Eyed Rabbit THERE was once a toy rabbit who had two beauti- ful glass eyes.

The One-Eyed Rabbit

THERE was once a toy rabbit who had two beauti- ful glass eyes. He could see very well indeed with them, and so it was a dreadful shock to him when he lost one. They were stuck very tightly into his head, not sewn on like the teddy-bear's. Sometimes the teddy- bear's eyes came loose and then they were wobbly, and everyone laughed at him till somebody sewed them on properly again. The rabbit was soft and cuddly, and had a white bobtail at the back, and a beautiful pink ribbon round his neck. He was a jolly, kindly fellow, always being asked out to parties by the

pixies who lived in the daffodil-bed below the nursery-window. He used to ask the curly-haired doll to iron out his pink ribbon for him whenever he went out. He did like to be neat and pretty. Well, one day the dreadful thing happened. Janet took the rabbit, the curly-haired doll, and the teddy-bear out into the garden with her—but when she came in again, she forgot all about the rabbit. She put the curly-haired doll into her cot, and popped the teddy-bear into his corner of the toy- cupboard. The bear put his head out of the cupboard as soon as the little girl had gone out of the room, and called to the doll. "I say, Curly-haired Doll, is the rabbit left out in the garden? " " Yes—isn't it dreadful! " said the doll, sitting up in her cot. " What are we to do? Could you go and get him, do you think? He'll never find his way back to the nursery by himself." "I'll have to wait till the night-time, then," said the bear. " Somebody might see me if I go running out into the garden now." So when night came, the bear slipped out of the window, climbed down the apple-tree outside, and ran to the garden-seat where Janet had played with him and the doll and the rabbit that

morning. It was pouring with rain, and the bear was really very worried about the rabbit. The rabbit was sitting on the seat, miserable, wet, and cold. He didn't like to jump down by himself because the seat was rather high. He was so pleased to see the bear. " Oh, you are nice to come and fetch me," said the rabbit joyfully. "Can you help me down from this high seat, Teddy? " " Of course," said the bear, and he held out a plump brown paw. The rabbit jumped, and landed on the grass. He rolled over, but he didn't hurt himself at all. Then, taking the bear's paw, he hurried up the wet garden to the apple-tree, climbed to the window, and was soon safely inside the nursery being petted and fussed by all the toys. And then as he sat drying himself by the fire, the curly-haired doll noticed a dreadful thing. The rabbit only had one eye! His left eye wasn't there! "Oh, Rabbit!" She squealed in alarm. "Where's your left eye? It's come off! Did you know? " The rabbit put up his paw and was dreadfully upset when he found that he only had one eye. "I thought I couldn't see very well," he said.

97

" The rain must have wetted it, and it came un- stuck and fell off. Oh, dear, oh, dear—how very, very dreadful! " The bear at once climbed out of the window and went to look for the lost eye in the garden. But he couldn't find it at all—which wasn't very surprising, because a worm had already found it and taken it down his hole. So the poor bear came back without the eye. The rabbit sat by the fire and wept big tears out of his one eye. "I look dreadful," he said. "I shall never go out to parties any more. I shall never go out to tea. No one will want a horrid one-eyed rabbit. I shan't even go for a walk again. And I don't expect Janet will love me any more, now I've only got one eye." "Don't be so silly, Rabbit," said everyone, but the rabbit just wouldn't be comforted. He wept and wept and wept. Then the bear had a marvellous idea. He jumped up and ran to the toy-cupboard. He came back with Janet's new box of glass marbles. They were very beautiful and she was proud of them. "Look, Rabbit," he said. " We may be able to find a nice blue glass marble that matches your right eye—and if we saw it in half, we can stick

it into your head, and then you will have two ; eyes again and can be happy! " "But what will Janet say when she finds one of her marbles in half? " cried the rabbit.

" Well,

as she was careless

enough to leave

you out in the rain, she deserves to lose half a marble," said the bear. And all the toys nodded and said he was right. They soon found a marble that was exactly the right blue. They had to call in one of the pixies to saw it in half, because none of the toys knew how to, and it needed a little magic to saw neatly through the glass of the marble. The bear put one half back into the box of marbles. Then he found a tube of glue and squeezed some on to the flat side of the half- marble. Then he cleverly pressed it into the right place on the rabbit's head. " Hold your new glass eye there till it's stuck," he told the rabbit. So the rabbit held it, and then, when it was properly stuck, he took his paw away, and there he was with two lovely blue eyes again. " Oh, you look even nicer than before! " cried all the toys in delight. "Can you see all right, Rabbit? " "Yes—it's a fine eye," said the rabbit joyfully,

gazing all round the nursery with it. " Better than my other one. Thank you, Teddy, for being so clever." He looked fine, though the marble eye was just a bit bigger than his other eye. But nobody minded that, and as for the rabbit, he never even

gazing all round the nursery with it. " Better than my other one. Thank you, Teddy,

knew it. He was so pleased and happy that he did a little rabbit-dance all round the nursery and back again, and the toys sat and clapped him. What will Janet say when she finds that one of her lovely marbles is cut in half? Do you think she will guess what has happened when she sees her rabbit's odd eye?

The Ball that Vanished

The Ball that Vanished JENNY and Fred had a beautiful big rubber ball. It was bright
 

JENNY

and

Fred

had

a

beautiful

big

rubber ball.

It was

bright

blue

one

side

and bright red

the

other

side,

and

when

it rolled along

quickly it wasn't blue or red, but purple instead. " It

goes purple when it rolls because the blue and the red mix up together and make purple! " said Jenny, who knew quite a lot about painting. They played every day with the big blue and red ball. They rolled it, they kicked it, they threw it, they bounced it. It didn't mind a bit what they did with it. It just loved everything. And then one day it vanished. It really was rather extraordinary, because neither Jenny nor Fred saw where it went. They were having a fine game of " Throw-the-

ball-over-the-house." I don't know whether you have ever played that game, but if your house isn't too high it is rather fun. One of you stands at the front of the house, and the other one stands at the back, and you can only do it if Mother says you may. Anyway, Mother said that Fred and Jenny might play it till dinner-time. So Fred stood at the back and Jenny stood at the front. Fred threw the ball high into the air and it went right over the house. 'Jenny saw it coming over the chimneys and she gave a shout of joy. She held out her hands for it, and it dived right down into them. "I've caught it, Fred!" she cried. "Look out— it's coming back to you! " She threw it up into the air—but she didn't throw it hard enough, and it struck the tiles, rolled down the roof, and fell back into her hands again. She threw it once more, and this time it sailed right over the top. Fred gave a shout. "I see it! It's coming! Good throw, Jenny. I've caught it! " Then Fred aimed the ball high again and up it went over the house once more. But Jenny didn't call out that it was coming. There was no sound from her at all. " Jenny! Have you caught it? " shouted Fred.

"No. It hasn't come yet," said Jenny, puzzled. "Did you throw it? Did it go right over the roof? " "Of course," said Fred. "Didn't you hear me shout? It must have fallen your side, Jenny. Look for it." So Jenny looked all over the front garden, but not a sign of that big blue and red ball did she see. It was most annoying. Fred came running round to the front. "Haven't you found it yet?" he asked. " Jenny, you don't know how to look! " "I do I" said Jenny crossly. "I've looked everywhere. It's you that doesn't know how to throw! The ball must have fallen back into your half of the garden. I shall go and look there! " So Fred hunted in the front garden and Jenny hunted in the back one. But neither of them could find that ball. It really had completely vanished. It was very queer. They went in and told Mother. " Could a ball disappear into the air? " asked Fred. "Of course not," said Mother. "It's a pity if you have lost that nice ball. It really was a beauty." Well, that wasn't the only unpleasant thing to happen that day. When the children went into

their nursery to look for another toy to play

with, they found the room full of smoke. " Mother, Mother, the house is on fire! " said silly Jenny, with a scream. But Fred knew better.

"It's the chimney smoking!"

he

cried.

"

Mother, come and put the fire out in the grate. The smoke is coming out into the room." Mother hurried in, vexed and worried. How she did hate to see all the smoke pouring out into the nursery and making it black and dirty! "I can't imagine why it is doing this," she said, vexed. " The sweep only came a few weeks ago, and usually this chimney goes at least six months without cleaning. Oh, dear—it's no good. I must ring up the sweep and tell him to come. Some damp soot must have stopped up the chimney." So the sweep came with his brushes, and the children watched him in delight. Sweeping a chimney seemed a most glorious thing to do, and both Jenny and' Fred made up their minds that when they were grown-up they would spend at any rate a little time of their lives being chimney- sweeps. The sweep put a brush up the chimney, and then fitted another pole to the brush-handle. He

pushed that up the chimney too. Then he fitted on another pole and pushed that up as well. " You see, Jenny, all these long poles push the brush higher and higher up the chimney, sweeping as it goes, till it comes to the top! " said Fred, in delight. "Does the brush come right out of the top of the chimney? " asked Jenny. "Of course," said the sweep, his black face smiling at them, showing very white teeth. "You run outside into the garden, Missy, and shout to me when you see my old black brush poking itself out of the top of your chimney! Then I'll know it is right out and I won't fit on any more poles! " So out went Fred and Jenny and watched the nursery chimney. And soon Jenny gave a scream of joy. "Look, Fred, look! The brush is just coming out!" Sure enough, something was coming out of the chimney. It was the sweep's brush—but on top of it was something round and black and queer. Whatever could it be? " What's that on top of the brush? " said Fred. " Is it a black stone, do you think? I'll go and tell the sweep."

So into the house he ran and told the surprised sweep that there was something on top of his; brush. "A bird's nest, maybe," said the sweep. " Birds sometimes build their nests in a chimney, you know, and that stops it up and makes it smoke. I'll come and look." So the sweep left his long poles standing up- right in the grate, and went out to look. He stared and stared at the thing on top of his round brush, and then he went back indoors again. "I'll shake and wriggle my poles so that the brush throws off that thing, whatever it is," he said. " I really don't know what it can be." So he shook his poles and the brush shook too —and off came that round black thing, bounced all the way down the roof and fell into the garden! And it was—yes—you've all guessed right I It was the children's big ball, very black, very sooty, and very sorry for itself indeed! "Oh! It's our ball! " shouted Fred, picking it up and making his hands all sooty. "Oh, Jenny—it fell down the chimney when I threw it up! And it stopped up the chimney and made it smoke! It must just have fitted the chimneypot!"

107

Jenny was excited and pleased. "Let's wash it," she said. " Won't Mother be surprised! " So they washed the ball, and it came all clean and blue and red again. But it never bounced; quite so high as it once used to, because the chim- ney had been hot, and the ball had been nearly cooked. And now the children don't like to play " Throw-the-ball-over-the-house " in case it pops down a chimney again! Mother says it really costs her too much to look after a ball that is so fond of chimneys. Now, pray, don't throw your ball down a chimney too!

s

Jenny was excited and pleased. "Let's wash it," she said. " Won't Mother be surprised! "
The Dirty Old Teddy ONCE there was and old old teddy- bear in the toy-cupboard. He

The Dirty Old Teddy

ONCE there was and old old teddy- bear in the toy-cupboard. He was so old and dirty that nobody knew what colour he had once been, and he didn't even remember himself. He only had one arm, and one of his legs was loose. His eyes were odd, because one was a black boot-button and the other was brown. He had a hole in his back and sawdust sometimes came out of it. So you can guess he was rather a poor old thing. But he was wise and kind and loved to make a joke, so the other toys loved him and didn't mind him being so dirty and old.

" All the same, I'm afraid he'll be thrown away into the dustbin one day," said the golliwog, shaking his black head. "I'm afraid he will. He really is 50 old and dirty." The little girl in whose nursery the bear lived never played with the old teddy. She had a fine new one, coloured blue, with a pink ribbon round his neck, two beautiful eyes, and a growl in his middle. She loved him very much. She always pushed the old teddy away if he was near her. One day her nurse picked up the old teddy and looked at him. A little sawdust dribbled out of the hole in his back. "Good gracious!" said Nurse. "This old teddy really must be thrown away. He isn't even nice enough to be given to the poor children." " Well, throw him away, then," said Joan. " I don't want him. He looks horrid with only one arm and a leg that wobbles, Nurse. I never play with him now." All the toys listened in horror. What I Throw away the poor old teddy! Oh, dear, what a terrible pity! "Well, I'll put him in the wastepaper-basket when the maid brings it in," said Nurse. She put the teddy on the table beside her and went on

with her knitting. Soon the bell rang for dinner, and Nurse forgot about Teddy. As soon as she had gone out of the room the toys called to the bear, "Hurry, Teddy! Get down from the table and hide at the back of the toy- cupboard! " The bear fell off the table and limped over to the toy-cupboard. He really was very frightened. He hoped that the nurse wouldn't remember she had left him on the table. She didn't remember—because when she came back she had another child with her, besides Joan. A little boy clung to her hand, and Nurse was talking to him. "You will love staying with us, Peter dear. You shall play with Joan's toys, and have a ride on the rocking-horse." Peter was Joan's cousin and he had come to stay with Joan for three weeks. He was a dear little boy, but very shy. The toys watched him all the afternoon. He was frightened of the rocking-horse because it was so big. He liked the dolls' house because everything in it was little. He loved the top that spun round and played a tune, and he liked the train that ran on its lines. When bedtime came, and he sat eating

bread-and-milk in front of the nursery fire, he began to cry. "I've left my old monkey behind," he wept. "I always go to bed with him. I shall be lonely without him." "Well, you shall have one of Joan's toys to take to bed with you," said Nurse, and she took him to the toy-cupboard. "Choose which you would like, Peter." Peter picked up the golly—and then the rabbit —and then the sailor-doll—and then the blue cat. And then, quite suddenly, he saw the dirty old teddy-bear looking up at him out of his odd brown and black eyes. He gave a squeal and picked him up.

"Oh, Nurse! Can I have this darling soft teddy? He looks at me so kindly—and I do like his funny eyes. Oh, please, please, may I take him to bed with me? " "Good gracious! It's the bear I meant to throw away in the dustbin! " said Nurse. " You don't want a dirty old toy like that, surely! " "Yes I do—yes I do! " cried Peter, and he hugged the bear hard. " I shall cry if you don't let me have him." " Of course you shall have him, but if you love him so much I shall have to mend him up a bit

113

to-morrow," said Nurse. So Peter took the old teddy to bed with him—and you simply can't imagine how happy the bear was! He cuddled up to Peter and loved him. It was such a long, long time since he had been taken to bed by anyone. He was so happy that even his little growl came back when Peter pressed his tummy. And next day—good gracious! Nurse took him and made him a new arm. She sewed on his wobbly leg. She mended the hole in his back— and she made him a beautiful blue srnock with little sleeves! You can't think how different he looked! The

to-morrow," said Nurse. So Peter took the old teddy to bed with him—and you simply can't

other

toys

looked

at

him

in amazement

and joy. "You won’t go

into the dustbin now,

Teddy,"they

said.

"You look simply lovely! " And he does, doesn't he?

IN the field nearby lived a little brown owl. John and Betty often saw it sitting

IN the field nearby lived a little brown owl. John and Betty often saw it sitting on the telegraph wires in the dusk, when they went to bed. "Tvit, tvit, tvit! " said the little owl to them, and the children called "Tvit, tvit! " back to it. It wasn't very big, and when it spread its wings it flew very silently indeed. Then one evening, as John and Betty walked home, they saw the little owl disappear into a hole in an old, old willow tree. "I guess it has got its nest there! " said John in excitement. "I wonder if there will be any baby owls. We must watch and see." But before they knew, a sad thing happened to the little owl. It went to drink from the pond one night, overbalanced, fell into the water and couldn't get out! So in the morning John and

Betty found that it was drowned, and they were very sad. "Oh, John—what about the baby owls, if there are any in the tree? " said Betty in tears. "There won't be anyone to feed them. They will starve to death, poor things." John spoke to the gardener about the nest he was sure was in the old willow tree. " Couldn't you look and see if there are any baby owls there?" he said. "We don't want them to starve, you know." "I'm not going after any owls," said the gardener at once. "Dangerous creatures they are, with their sharp claws! My goodness, even a baby owl can get its claws into you so hard that you can't get them out. Torn to pieces your hand would be! " " Oh," said John. He went away, but he kept on and on thinking about the owls. He felt sure they were hungry and unhappy. "Betty, there must be some way of getting them out," he said. "Do think. You're clever at thinking." So Betty thought. "Well," she said, " if their claws are so sharp and strong that they can dig right into your hand and not let it go, what about letting down something into the nest—a hand-

Betty found that it was drowned, and they were very sad. "Oh, John—what about the baby owls, if there are any in the tree? " said Betty in tears. "There won't be anyone to feed them. They will starve to death, poor things." John spoke to the gardener about the nest he was sure was in the old willow tree. " Couldn't you look and see if there are any baby owls there?" he said. "We don't want them to starve, you know." "I'm not going after any owls," said the gardener at once. "Dangerous creatures they are, with their sharp claws! My goodness, even a baby owl can get its claws into you so hard that you can't get them out. Torn to pieces your hand would be! " " Oh," said John. He went away, but he kept on and on thinking about the owls. He felt sure they were hungry and unhappy. "Betty, there must be some way of getting them out," he said. "Do think. You're clever at thinking." So Betty thought. "Well," she said, " if their claws are so sharp and strong that they can dig right into your hand and not let it go, what about letting down something into the nest—a hand-

kerchief, perhaps—and letting them dig their claws into that. Then all we need to do is to draw up the handkerchief and the owls will come too! "

kerchief, perhaps—and letting them dig their claws into that. Then all we need to do is

"Marvellous idea!" cried John. And so it was. Betty borrowed a big old silk hanky from Daddy's drawer, and the two children went to the old willow tree. They climbed up it and came

to the hole, which went deep into a thick branch of the tree. A faint hissing noise came up from the hole. "Goodness—is there a snake in there?" said Betty. "No! Owls do hiss, you know," said John. "Now, Betty—where's the hanky? Hand it over." John took the hanky and let one end slowly down into the hole. There were two baby owls in the tree. They turned themselves over so that their clawed feet were on top—and how they attacked that silk hanky! They dug their feet into it and their claws caught in the silk. "Got them nicely!" shouted John, and he pulled up the hanky. There were the two fluffy baby owls holding on to it for all they were worth! John popped them into a box he had brought with him, shut the lid, and then switched his torch on to see the nest, "There isn't really any nest," he called to Betty, ''just a few shavings from the hole, that's all. But wait a minute—what's this? " The light of his torch had shone on to some- thing red. John put his hand into the hole and felt what it was. It seemed to be a little bag of

some sort. He pulled at it—and it came out. It was heavy. "Betty! The owl had made her nest on top of this little bag! " cried John. " Look—it's got the name of a bank on it. I do believe it's the bag of gold that a thief stole from the bank messenger last winter! He must have hidden it here and then forgotten where the hiding-place was!" "Goodness! " said Betty, as John opened the little red bag and a whole heap of shining golden coins winked up at them. "What a lot of money! Come and tell Mother." Well, that was a most exciting afternoon. The children had two baby owls for pets, and a bag of gold to give back to the bank! And what do you think? The bank manager gave the children one of the pieces of gold! "That's your reward," he said. "Buy what you like with it." So what do you think they bought with the money? They went to the shops and bought a marvellous cage in which to bring up their two pet owls! It was painted blue outside, and had red perches inside, and was very grand and big indeed. You can keep your little owls there and bring

them up in safety till they are big enough to fly away and look after themselves," said Mother. "You must feed them well, give them fresh water,

them up in safety till they are big enough to fly away and look after themselves,"

and clean out their cage every single day." So they did, and soon the two owls grew tame and friendly, and sat peacefully on the children's fingers whenever they were held out to them.

Betty and John were very proud of their pets, because no one else at school had owls; and even the teacher came to see them, and said what strange and curious birds they were. "They look rather like little feathered cats! "

she said. And so they did, as they sat side by side on their perches, their big golden eyes looking solemnly at the visitor. And now they have flown away to look after themselves; but John and Betty have left the cage- door open in case they might like to come back there to sleep. I expect they will sometimes.

Every night

the two

little birds

call to their

friends and say "Tvit, tvit, twit! " from the nearby field. I wonder if you have heard them. They call so sharply and so loudly that I shouldn't be a bit surprised if you hear them too!

ONCE there was a little girl called Millicent Mary. She had a dear little garden of

ONCE there was a little girl called Millicent Mary. She had a dear little garden of her own, and in the early spring the very first things that came up were the white snowdrops. Millicent Mary loved them. She loved the straight green stalks that came up, holding the white bud tightly wrapped up at the top. She liked the two green leaves that sprang up each side. She loved to see the bud slowly unwrap itself, and hang down like a little bell. But she was always very disappointed because the white bells didn't ring. "They ought to," said Millicent Mary, and she shook each snowdrop to see if she could make it ring. " Bells like this should ring—they really should! Ring, little snowdrop, ring! " But not one would ring. Still, Millicent Mary wouldn't give it up. Every morning when she

put on her hat and coat and went into the garden, she bent down and shook the snowdrops to see if perhaps to-day they would say ting-a-ling-a- ling. But they never did. One day she went to her garden when the snow was on the ground. The snowdrops were buried beneath the snow, and Millicent Mary had to scrape the white snow away very gently to find out where her snowdrops were. At last all the little white bells were showing. She shook them but no sound came. " Well, you might have rung just a tiny tune to tell me you were grateful to me for scraping the snow away! " said Millicent Mary. She was just going to stand up and go to the shed to fetch her broom when she saw something rather queer. The snow on the bed nearby seemed to be moving itself—poking itself up as if something was underneath it, wriggling hard. Millicent Mary was surprised. She was even more surprised when she heard a very tiny voice crying, "Help me! Oh, help me! " " Goodness gracious! " said the little girl. " There's something buried under the snow just there —and it's got a little tiny voice that speaks!" She began to scrape away the snow, and her

soft, gentle fingers found something small and|

queer under the white blanket. She pulled out — well, guess what she pulled out!

Yes—you guessed right.

It was a tiny pixie, a

fairy with frozen silver wings and a little shivering body dressed in a cobweb frock. "
fairy
with
frozen
silver
wings
and
a
little
shivering body dressed in a cobweb frock.
"
Oh,
thank
you!
"
said
the
pixie
in
a
tiny

voice, like a bird cheeping. "I was so tired last night that I crept under a dead leaf and fell asleep. And when I awoke this morning I found a great, thick, cold, white blanket all over me—

and I couldn't get it off! Just wait till I catch the person who threw this big blanket all over the garden! " Millicent Mary laughed. "It's snow! " she said. "It isn't a real blanket. You poor little thing, you feel so cold, you are freezing my fingers. I'm going to take you indoors and get you warm." She tucked the pixie into her pocket and went indoors. She didn't think she. would |how the fairy

to

anyone,

because

she

might

vanish—and

Millicent Mary didn't want her to do that. It was

fun having a pixie, not as big as a doll, to warm before the fire! The pixie

sat

on

the

fender

and

stretched

out

her

frozen

toes to the dancing

flames.

 
 

Millicent Mary took a

piece

of

blue silk

out

of

her

mother's

rag-bag and

gave it to the pixie. "Wrap

this round you for a

cloak,"

she said.

"

It

will

keep out the

frost

when

you leave me."

and I couldn't get it off! Just wait till I catch the person who threw this

The pixie was delighted.

She wrapped the bit

of blue silk all round her and pulled it close. "I

shall get my needle and thread and make this

lovely piece of silk into a proper coat with sleeves

and buttons and collar," she said.

"You are a dear

little girl! I love you. Yes, really I do. Is there

anything you would

like

me

to

give

you?

"

Millicent Mary thought hard. Then she shook her

head. " No," she said at last. " There isn't

anything at all, really.

I've got all the toys I want.

I did badly want a golliwog, but I had one for

Christmas. I don't want any sweets because I've got a tin of barley-sugar. I don't want chocolate biscuits because Mummy bought some yesterday. No—I can't think of anything." The pixie looked most disappointed. "I do wish you'd try to think of something," she said. "Try hard!" Millicent Mary thought again. Then she smiled. "Well," she said, "there is something I'd simply love—but it heeds magic to do it, I think.

I'd love it if my snowdrops could ring on my birthday, which is on February 13th! " "Oh, that's easily managed! " said the pixie.

"I'll work a spell for it. name? "

Let me see—what's your

"Millicent Mary," said the little girl. "Millicent

Mary,'" said the pixie, writing it down

in

a tiny

note-book.

"'Birthday, 13th February.

Wants

snowdrops to ring on that day.'

All right—I'll see

to it! And now goodbye, my dear. I'm

deliciously warm with this blue silk.

See you

again some day.

Don't forget

to listen

to your

snowdrops on February 13th! " She skipped up

into the

air, spread

her

silvery

wings, and flew

straight out of the top of the window. Millicent

Mary couldn't help feeling tremendously excited.

Her birthday would soon be here—and just imagine the snowdrops ringing! Won't she love to shake each

tiny white bell, ting-a-ling-a-ling,

and hear

it

ring

ting-a-ling-a-

ling! Is your name Millicent Mary, by any chance, and is your birthday on i3th February? If it is,

 

will

ring for

you

the snowdrops too, without

a doubt—

so don't

forget

to shake

each little white

bell

on

that

day,

and

hear

the

tinkling sound

they

make. What

a lovely surprise for all the Millicent Marys!

"Millicent Mary," said the little girl. "Millicent Mary,'" said the pixie, writing it down in a
Conceited Clara CLARA was a doll—- and goodness, what a marvellous doll she was! She wore

Conceited

Clara

CLARA was a doll—-

and

goodness,

what

a

marvellous doll she was!

She

wore

a

blue

silk

frock, a wonderful coat to match, blue shoes and

socks, and a hat that was

so

full

of

flowers

it

looked

like

a

little

garden. It was the hat that admired so

everyone much. There were daisies, buttercups, cornflowers,

poppies,

and grass round

the hat,

and

it suited

Clara perfectly. She knew this, so she always wore

her hat, even when she played games with the toys.

"You

teasingly.

are vain,

Clara!"

said the golliwog

That made Clara go red. She was vain, and she knew it. She knew she was pretty. She knew that her clothes were lovely. She knew that her flowery hat was the prettiest one the toys had ever seen, and that it made her look really sweet. " I'm not vain I " said Clara. " Not a bit! " "You are! You're conceited and stuck-up," said the teddy-bear, who always said what he thought. " Why, you even wear your hat when you play with us. And if we play a bit roughly you turn up your nose and say, ' Oh, please! You'll tear my pretty frock! ' Pooh! Conceited Clara!" Clara was angry. She glared at the bear and then she walked straight up to him. She took hold of his pink bow and tugged at it. It came undone, and Clara pulled it off. And then she tore the ribbon in half. Wasn't she naughty? " Oh! You horrid doll! Look what you've done! You've torn my ribbon and now I can't tie it round my neck, and I shall show where my head is sewn on to my body," wept the bear. " Serves you right," said Clara, and she walked

off.

Well, after that the toys wouldn't have any- thing to do with Clara. They wouldn't play with her. They wouldn't talk to her. They wouldn't 5 even speak when she called to them. So Clara was cross and unhappy. One night, when the children were asleep and the toys came alive to play, Clara took her beauti- ful flowery hat* and hung it up in the doll's house. She thought perhaps the toys might play with her if she didn't wear her hat. She fluffed out her curly hair and gazed at the golliwog. "Ho! " said the golly. "Now you want to show off your curly hair, I suppose! Well, go and show it to the fender and the coal-scuttle and the poker! We don't want to see it, Conceited Clara! " So that wasn't any use. Clara went to a corner and sulked. She was very angry. How dare the toys take no notice of her, the prettiest doll in the whole nursery! Then the toys planned a party. It was the birthday of the clockwork mouse, and everyone loved him because he was such a dear. So they thought they would have a party for him and games, and give him a lovely time. But they didn't ask Clara. The teddy cooked

132

some exciting cakes and biscuits on the stove in the dolls' house, and the golliwog cut up a rosy 1 apple into slices. The toys set out the chairs round the little wooden table and put the dishes and plates ready. Everything looked so nice. "It's a pity that we can't put a vase of flowers in the middle of the table," said the golly. "I always think flowers look so sweet at a party. Come along, everyone —we'll just go and tidy ourselves up and then the party can begin." They all went to find the brush and comb in the .toy-cupboard. Clara peeped from her corner and thought that the birthday-table looked lovely with its cakes and biscuits and apple-slices. " I do wish I had something to give the clock- work mouse," thought Clara. "I do love him. He's such a dear. But I expect he would throw it back at me if I had anything to give. The toys are all so horrid to me now." And then Clara suddenly had a marvellous idea. What about her flowery hat? Couldn't she take the flowers off that beautiful hat and put them into a vase for the middle of the birthday-table? They would look really lovely. She rushed to get her hat. She tore the flowers from it. She found a dear little vase, and began

to

put

them

in—buttercups,

daisies,

cornflowers, poppies, and grass. You can't think how sweet they looked. Clara popped the vase of flowers in the middle of the table and went back to her corner. She looked at her hat rather sadly. It looked very queer without its flowers. She would look funny if she wore it any more. The toys ran to the birthday-table to begin the party—and how they stared when they saw the lovely flowers in the middle of the table! " Where did they come from? " cried the golly in astonishment. " Oh, what a lovely surprise for me! " cried the clockwork mouse. And then he guessed who had put the flowers there for him. "It's Clara! They are the flowers out of her hat!" he squeaked. "Oh, Clara, thank you! Do, do come to my party! " "Yes, do come! " cried all the toys. And the golly ran and took her hand. "If you can give up the flowers you were so proud of, you can't be so horrid after all! " he cried. "Come along, Clara, and join the party." So Clara went, and everyone was so nice to her that she was quite happy again. Sometimes she

wears her hat without

the flowers,

and

do you

know what the toys say? They say, "Why, Clara,

you look just as nice without the flowers— you really do! " And so she does!

wears her hat without the flowers, and do you know what the toys say? They say,
Peter's Good Idea FOUR children met to play each day by the village pond. They were

Peter's Good Idea

FOUR children met to play each day by the village pond. They were town children, sent to stay in the country for a long holiday- and what fun they had in the fields and woods 1 Peter, Jane, Tom, and Bessie knew all the farm animals now. They called the horses by their names; they knew Daisy, Buttercup, Blossom, and Sorrel, the prettiest cows in t^ 6 ne ^- Th e y had been chased by Snorter the bull, so they knew him very well indeed! They had fed the chickens and ducks, they

had watched the piglets grow into fat pigs. They counted the sheep in the fields to make sure none | had got out through the hedge, and they loved the tiny kids belonging to the nanny-goat on the common. They helped to pick the plums and the apples —but now winter was coming on, and there was no more fruit to pick. The blackberries were gone. The nut trees were bare of nuts and of leaves too. There was ice on the village pond. "I wonder if it will bear us yet," said Jane, and she tried the ice with her foot. It broke at once. A voice shouted to them, "Now then, children, don't you be silly enough to try that ice yet! It won't be strong enough to bear you till the turn of the year! " "I wish we had something to do," said Tom. "There's nothing to pick now. No young animals to feed. They won't let us milk the cows or clean out the sheds." " Well, we'll be able to go sliding after Christ- mas perhaps," said Jane. So they waited patiently for the frost to harden the ice—but instead of the weather getting colder after Christmas, it became warmer. " What shall we do to-day? " said Peter,

kicking at a stone. " It's too muddy to go walking. I got my boots so covered with clay yesterday that it took me an hour to clean them this morning "Let's go exploring in the lofts," said Bessie. " There's nobody to say we mustn't to-day. The farmer has gone to market, and his wife is ill in bed." "Well, we mustn't get into mischief," said Peter, who was the eldest. "We'll only just explore, see? " So off they all went to explore the lofts whose dusty windows showed here and there at the top of the out-building. It was exciting climbing up the rickety ladders. Some of the lofts were full of rubbish and sacks. It was fun to play hide-and-seek there. One loft was stacked with sacks of different kinds of grain. The old tabby-cat lay on an empty sack up there, purring. " She's the guardian of the sacks! " cried Jane. " She hunts the mice that come up here. Oh, look —here's a whole nest of tabby kittens in the corner! " That was a lovely find! The kittens all had their eyes open, and were playful. The tabby-cat let the children play with her kittens for a

little while, and then she curled herself round them. "She thinks they are tired and have

little while, and then she curled herself round them. "She thinks they are tired and have had enough of us! " cried Bessie. " Well—we'll leave you alone then, Tabby! Come on —let's go and see what's in the biggest loft of all!" Down the ladder they went, and ran to the

oldest barn. They could find no ladder up to the loft there. They sniffed and sniffed,

oldest barn. They could find no ladder up to the loft there. They sniffed and sniffed, because there was a lovely smell in that loft.

"I guess the farmer has hidden the ladder," said Tom. " Maybe he doesn't want anyone to go up into this loft." "Well, we'd better not, then," said Peter.

But

the others

felt

as

if

they

simply

must

explore that loft too. " We'll see if we can find a ladder," said Tom.

"I'm going off to look at the pigs," said, Peter. "I don't think we ought to go up in thii loft." He went off. The others looked after him, and half thought they would follow. But Tom couldn't bear to leave the loft unexplored. He must see what that lovely smell was I The three children hunted about for a ladder. At last they found one, lying beside a wall. It was long and heavy, but they just managed to carry it between them. They got it into the barn and put it up to the loft. Then up they went, one after another. "I say! It's the apple-loft! " cried Tom in delight. "Golly! What a lot of apples !" "We helped to pick them, didn't we?" said Bessie, sniffing the lovely apple-smell. "Look at those red ones—they came off the big tree by the wall." "And those green ones came off the little trees, and the brown ones off the trees by the pig-sty," said Tom. "I say—I do feel hungry! " So did they all, quite suddenly, as they looked at those delicious apples. The smell got inside them and made them long to dig their teeth into the sweet, juicy apples !

142

"Let's take some," said Tom. " There are so many that the farmer will never know." " But we oughtn't to," said Bessie. "I can't help it! " said Tom. "I just feel I must!" He picked up an apple—but it was bad on the other side, so he threw it down. He picked up another. That was half bad too. "These bad apples are making all the others rotten too," said Bessie. " They will soon all be bad —so we'd better eat them whilst they are good!" " We could creep up here every day and help ourselves to apples! " said Jane, who loved apples more than any other fruit. "Let's take one to Peter," said Tom. So he picked out a fat, red, juicy one, and put it into his pocket for Peter. Then the children climbed down the ladder and went to find him. He was by the pigs. He liked the pigs—they were always so cheerful and friendly. " Peter, that loft is full of apples! " said Tom. " We've brought one for you. Isn't it a beauty? " "Tom! You can't do that! They are not your apples! " cried Peter. " But, Peter, they are all going bad," said Tom crossly. " We may as well eat them whilst they

are good. It's such a waste in war-time to let things go bad." " I wonder if the farmer knows his apples are going bad,'' said Peter. "It's funny he lets them do that. Tom, take these apples back. Bad or good, they are not ours to take." Tom was sulky. He didn't want to do as Peter told him. It was too bad, just when they had all thought they could munch juicy apples. But Peter glared at him so hard that Tom knew he had better obey. So he took the apples from the girls and ran back to the barn, grumbling hard, to himself. "I'll jolly well go and get some apples when Peter isn't about," said Tom to himself. He threw the apples into the loft and came down again—just in time to see the farmer coming home from market! How glad Tom was that he and the others were not eating the apples then! He went red, and wondered if the farmer would guess what he had been doing. The farmer came over to the pigs, and looked at them. Peter spoke to him. "Do pigs like rotten apples, sir? " he asked. " Yes—they'll gobble them all up! " said the farmer. "Why, Peter?"

" Well, sir, did you know that half your apples' are going bad up in the loft there? " said Peter. "They'll be turning the good ones rotten, won't they —and that's a pity." "You're right, Peter," said the farmer, vexed. "My wife usually sees to all those little jobs for me —the apples quite slipped my mind! Since she's been in bed there's been a lot of little jobs left undone—and that's one! All those apples should be sorted out, and gone over every week. The rotten ones should be thrown to the pigs. Dear, dear— what a pity my wife's ill! " " We could do that job for you! " said Peter at once. " We could sort all the apples every week, sir. Shall we do it? " " That would be very good of you, Peter," said the farmer. "Yes—that would certainly be a help. Get the others to give you a hand, too. Could you do it to-day? " " Of course! " said Peter. He beckoned to the other three. They came up, wondering if the farmer was going to give them a scolding for going into the loft. They were excited when Peter told them the job they were to do. It would be fun to do that, even if Peter wouldn't let them eat any of the apples! They rushed back to the barn.

146

"Now, I and Jane will go up the ladder and sort out the apples," said Peter. " Tom, you and Bessie must be down here and pick up all the bad ones we throw down. You can put them into the big wheel- barrow and take them to the pigs." So Peter and Jane were soon very busy indeed sorting out the bad and good apples. Every rotten apple was thrown down to the barn below. Tom and Bessie picked them up busily, and piled them into the barrow. It was fun! But it was hard work too. There were hundreds of apples, all neatly set out on the floor, and every one had to be looked at. The good ones were set back, and the bad ones were thrown down. The pigs were thrilled. Apples—and more apples—and yet more! My, what a feast for hungry pigs! The farmer came up after a bit. "Let's see the apples you are giving to the pigs," he said. " My, they are bad, aren't they! That's enough for the pigs to-day. Keep the rest to give them each day— and come every Saturday to sort out the apples again for me. That's a real good job you can do, and I shall be very grateful."

'' We'll come along, sir," said Peter, scrambling down the ladder. "And you may be sure we shan't eat any of your apples ourselves. I'll see to that! " "Good boy! " said the farmer. "But, my lad, you must have a little reward for your good idea! You and your friends can help yourselves to a couple of apples each, every day. There are enough apples there to feed an army, if they are well sorted out into good and bad—so you help yourselves, and choose the juiciest you can find! Children that are honest and can be trusted deserve to have a reward! " "Oh, thank you, sir!" cried Peter in delight. "Two apples a day for each of us—that's lovely." The kind old farmer went off to his horses. Peter looked at the others. They had gone rather red.

'Yes—I don't wonder you feel a bit ashamed! " said Peter. " You were going to take the apples without permission! And now see what's happened —we've done a good job of work, the farmer is pleased, the pigs are pleased, and we've got permission to take more apples than we would ever have dared to eat! What do you think of that?"

'We think you had a very good idea, Peter I " said Tom. "And next time we'll have good ideas, too!

Now let's

eat

DELICIOUS ! "

our

apples—oooh,

aren't they

'We think you had a very good idea, Peter I " said Tom. "And next time

Wherever Can We Be?

ONCE upon a time an old lady went out on a dark night. She took her torch with her, so that she could see, and she got along quite well—until she tripped over the kerb and dropped her torch ! Crash! The torch fell to the ground and broke. Its light went out. It was no use any more. And there was the old lady left all by herself in the dark. She didn't like it at all. " Never mind," she said. " I must try to find my way home without a torch. I think I can find it if I go slowly." So she turned herself about and went down the road. But it wasn't very long before she knew that she was lost. She didn't know the name of the road. She didn't meet anyone. Everywhere was dark, and not even a motor-car drove down the street. "I'm quite, quite lost," said the old lady to herself. " I can't see a thing. There's no moon. There's no one to ask. This is dreadful."

And then, far down the road, she saw the tiny gleam of somebody else's torch! How glad she was! She waited and heard the tap-tap of some- body's small feet. It must be a little boy or girl. Soon the light of the torch came nearer. It was very dim. The old lady couldn't see who was holding it, but she spoke in a timid voice. "Please may I come with you? I'm lost, and I can't see a thing! " The footsteps stopped and a voice spoke. "Well, perhaps I had better take you home. Who are you? " "I'm old Mrs. Lacy, and I'm only staying in this town, so I don't know it very well," said the old lady. " If you could lend me your torch for a little while, I might be able to see where I am, and then I could go home." It was a small boy who had the torch. His name was Freddy Brown. He didn't at all like being out in the dark, and he knew that his torch 'slight wouldn't last very long! It was very dim now. Mother had said he must hurry home from his auntie's, or the light would go out altogether, for the torch needed a new battery. But he knew he must help old people, so he put his torch into the old lady's hands. "There you are," he said. "See if you can

find your way with that. I'll come with you and keep you company till you're home—and then I'll find my own way with my torch." "You're a kind soul," said old Mrs. Lacy gratefully. " I'm so glad you came along. Now,

find your way with that. I'll come with you and keep you company till you're home—and

let's go down here and I'll see where I am when I get to the end of the road." Before long she had found out where she was. She and Freddy went round the corner, down another road, and round another corner. Freddy didn't really know where he was going, for he blindly followed the old lady. She turned

another corner, and then went down a little passageway. Billy began to feel quite lost! He hoped he would be able to find his own way home, after all this twisting and turning! " Ah! Here we are at last I " said the old lady, pleased, and she opened a gate. "Thank you, Freddy Brown. You have helped me such a lot. Here is your torch again. I hope you will get home safely with it." At that moment the torch flickered and went out! Freddy was left in the black darkness. " Oh, dear—what has happened to your torch? " asked Mrs. Lacy. " The battery is all used up," said Freddy. " I can't see with it now. I suppose you haven't another torch to lend me, have you? " " I'm afraid I haven't," said the old lady. "I broke mine this evening. But listen, little boy-go to the house next door and ask the boy there to lend you his torch. He's a very nice boy. I often see him playing in the garden. I don't know his name, because I'm only staying here, and I don't know anyone yet." "All right—I'll go and ask the boy to lend me his torch," said Freddy, hoping that the boy wouldn't laugh at him. " I'm glad you're safe. Good night."

"Good night," said Mrs. Lacy. "And thank you very, very much. I hope I shall see you again one day." Freddy went in at the next door gate. He made his way up the path in the

darkness. He felt

about for

a bell and rang it. He wondered if the boy would come to the door. What should he say to him?

Somebody

came

up

the

hall and opened the door. The hall was dark and Freddy couldn't see who it was. He spoke as politely as he could.

" Please

does

a

boy

live

here who has a torch?" "Yes," said a voice that he felt as if he knew very well

indeed. "Freddy Brown lives here — but he's not in. He is out with his torch."

Freddy listened greatest surprise. How

in

the

" Good night," said Mrs. Lacy. "And thank you very, very much. I hope I shall

could Freddy Brown live here? Why, he was Freddy Brown! And then suddenly he knew that it was his own home he had come to, and it was his own mother who was speaking to him in the darkness! "Mother! Oh, Mother! It's me!" yelled Freddy. "I've come here asking for myself! Oh, how funny!" "Freddy! I thought it sounded like your voice," cried his mother. "Whatever do you mean by asking if a boy lives here who has a torch?" "Let me come in and I'll tell you, Mother," said Freddy happily, and soon he and his mother were in the cosy sitting-room, and Freddy was telling her all about the old lady he had helped home with his torch. "And when my torch went out, she said there was a nice boy who lived next door who had a torch! " laughed Freddy. " So I came to ask myself to lend me my own torch! Oh, Mother —-did you ever know anything so funny? " "I never did! " said his mother. "That old lady must be Mrs. Lacy, who is staying with Mrs. Thomas next door. Well, well—to think that you were kind enough to take her home, and bring yourself safely home at the same time! "

You should have seen how surprised Mrs. Lacy was when Freddy popped his head over the fence next day and said:

" Good morning, Mrs. Lacy! I'm so glad you got home safely last night! " And she did laugh when she heard how she had sent Freddy to his own house to borrow his own torch from himself. He is going to tea with her to-day, and I rather think he is going to have a good time—for the old lady went shopping this morning and took home chocolate biscuits, ginger snaps, currant buns, and a big jam sandwich in her basket. Lucky Freddy!

You should have seen how surprised Mrs. Lacy was when Freddy popped his head over the
When the Moon was Blue ONE evening, when Jack and Mary were going td bed, they

When the Moon was Blue

ONE evening, when Jack and Mary were going td bed, they forgot to clean their teeth. Mummy saw their tooth-brushes lying beside their tooth-mugs and called to them. " You naughty children! You haven't cleaned your teeth I " "We forgot! " said Jack, and the two ran to get their brushes. " Have you ever forgotten to clean your teeth, Mummy? " " Oh, I daresay I have," said Mummy

"How often? " asked Mary. "Oh, once in a blue moon!" said their Mummy, drawing back the curtains so that the air could come into the room. "What's a blue moon? " said Jack. "I really don't know," said Mummy. "Just an ordinary moon turned blue, I expect. I've never seen one." "You often say things happen 'once in a blue moon,'" said Mary. "But a blue moon never comes." "Well—it might some day!" laughed Mummy. "You'd better be careful then—for goodness knows what might happen if the moon turned blue {" The children got into bed. Mummy kissed them and said good night. Then she turned out the light and went downstairs. "It's very light out of doors to-night," said Mary. "The moon must be up." "Daddy said it would be a full moon tonight," said Jack. "Oh, Mary—wouldn't it be exciting if it was blue! " "Yes, but it won't be," said Mary sleepily. "Things like that never seem to happen. Think how often we've tried to see fairies, and never have— and how often we've wished wishes and

they haven't come true—and tried to work spells and they won't work. I don't believe in those things any more! " "I still do," said Jack, "because once one of. my wishes really did come true." "Well, it must have been an accident, then," said Mary, yawning. " Good night, Jack. I'm going to sleep." Both children fell fast asleep in a minute or two. They slept soundly, and didn't hear the wardrobe creaking loudly. They didn't hear the cat mewing outside either. But when twelve o'clock struck, they did hear something. At least Jack did. He heard an owl hooting outside the window, and he opened his eyes. "Wit-wit! " said the owl, "woo-wit-wit! " Jack sat up and wondered what time it was. He looked at the window. A good deal of light came in from outside, for the moon was full. It had gone behind a cloud for a moment, quite a small one, for Jack could see the moon skimming along behind it. He watched it, waiting for it to come out again. And when it did he gasped and stared and rubbed his eyes—for what do you suppose? Why, the big round moon was as blue as forget-me-nots!

There it shone in the sky, looking very peculiar indeed. " There's a blue moon! " cried Jack. " Mary, Mary, wake up! There's a blue moon! " Mary woke up with a jump and sat up. She stared at the moon in the greatest surprise. " So there is! " she said. " Oh, Jack—do you suppose anything extraordinary will happen? Oh, do let's go to the window and see if we can spy any fairies or pixies about. Mummy said we might see them once in a blue moon! " They ran to the window—and looked down their moonlit garden. But not a fairy or pixie could they see. "Let's wish a few wishes! " said Jack, gazing up at the bright blue moon. " They might come true now the moon is blue." "Yes, let's," said Mary. "I wish we could see a fairy or a gnome or something! " " And I wish we could too! " said Jack. And immediately they did! A gnome, very small and bent, ran out from under die lilac bush in the middle of the garden, and went to the little round pool. In the middle of this was a little statue of a bunny, sitting on a big flat stone. The gnome jumped over the water and landed beside the bunny. At once the stone rabbit took

his hand and stood up. The gnome

began to

pull at the flat stone on which the bunny had been

sitting—and before the children's very eyes, he suddenly disappeared! The stone bunny sat down again and made no movement.

"Did

you

see

that,

Mary?"

cried Jack. "

Come on, quickly! We'll see where he disappeared to. Put on your dressing-gown and I'll put on mine." They threw on their dressing-gowns and ran quietly down the stairs. Out they went into the garden and ran to the pond. With a leap Jack was over the water and standing beside the stone bunny in the middle of the pond. To his enormous surprise, the small rabbit at once put a cold paw into his hand and got up. Jack turned to the flat stone—and saw an iron ring on it, just where the bunny had sat. He pulled at it—and the stone came up. Under it lay a steep stone stairway I "Come on, Mary!" cried Jack. "Here's an adventure for us! We've always wanted one!" Mary jumped over the water beside Jack, and peered down the steps. The stone rabbit put its other paw into her hand, and looked beseechingly at her.

- "This little rabbit's alive, although it's just a statue! " said Mary, in surprise. "Can you speak, bunny? " "Yes," said the rabbit. "I can speak once in a blue moon—and the moon is blue to-night! " "Are you really a statue or are you alive?" asked Jack. "I was once the first rabbit in the carriage of the Princess Philomela of Hey ho Land," said the bunny. "But one night the wicked gnome Twisty lay in wait for her carriage—and put a log in our path. So over I went and all the other three rabbits, and the Princess fell out of the carriage. The gnome picked her up and carried her off—and turned me and the other rabbits into stone. He sold us for the middles of ponds and there we stayed! " "Goodness me!" said Jack, in the greatest surprise. " Whoever would have thought of such a thing? Where is the Princess now? " "I don't know," said the rabbit, mournfully. " Still a prisoner somewhere, I expect. The gnome has a secret way to Fairyland down that stairway. He may have gone to the Princess now." "Well, let's go after him then! " said Jack. "We may see where he keeps the Princess, and

perhaps be able to rescue her! Will you come with us, bunny? " "Yes, but I'm made of stone, and I would make so much noise! " said the rabbit. "I'll wish you alive again! " said Jack. "It seems as if wishes come true once in a blue moon!" "Yes, wish!" said Mary. So Jack wished hard. "I wish this stone bunny may come alive! " he said—and immediately his wish came true! The little rabbit grew soft and warm and furry—and whiskers grew out of his cheeks. The stone bunny had had no whiskers at all. "I'm alive. I'm alive!" he cried, frisking round and nearly falling into the pond. " Mind! You'll fall in the water! " said Mary, clutching hold of the excited bunny. "Come along. We'll go down the steps now." So down the steps they all went, Jack first, then the bunny, then Mary. It was dark when they got to the bottom, but a lamp hung a little way farther on, and showed them a narrow passage. They went along, most excited. After a while they came to a turn-stile, and they pushed against it. It wouldn't turn round,

164

and Jack thought they had better climb over it. But before he could do so a small brownie popped his head out of a window in the wall of the passage and said: "Penny each, please." "We haven't any pennies," said Jack. "We are in our dressing-gowns, and we don't keep pennies there. Please let us through. Has the Twisty Gnome gone this way? " "Yes, he has," said the brownie, nodding his head. "He often goes this way. No one else goes, except myself—and I only go once in a blue moon!" "Well, it's a blue moon to-night! " said Jack. "We've seen it!" " What! " cried the brownie, his face full of excitement. "The moon is blue! My stars, I must go and look! " He squeezed himself through the window in the wall of the passage, pushed past Jack, Mary and the rabbit and disappeared up the tunnel. "Come on, let's climb over, now he's gone! ", said Mary. So they all climbed over the turnstile, and went on down the tunnel again. But it didn't go very far this time. It opened out into a cave through which a dark, swift river ran. A

little pixie sat by the side of some boats, half- asleep. "Wake up!" cried Jack, running to him. " Has the Twisty Gnome gone this way? " "Yes, down the river," said the pixie, in sur- prise. " But he said I was to let no one else but him have my boats to-day." "Oh, well, it can't matter once in a blue moon!" said Jack, getting into one. "What, is the moon blue! " cried the pixie, in delight. " Oh, have my boats then, have them all if you want to! I'm going up to see the moon, the moon, the moon! " He sat down on a big toadstool growing near by, and, to the children's great amazement, shot upwards at a great speed. "Well, I suppose he's gone to see the moon, like the brownie," said Jack. "Come on, Mary and Bunny! We mustn't let the Twisty Gnome get too far ahead! " They set off in the boat. Jack steered, but there was no need for oars, for the river was very strong and took them along itself. In a few minutes it came out into the open air, and there, hanging in the sky, was the moon, still as blue as forget-me-nots! As the boat went along, Jack caught sight of a

it.

large notice on one of the banks.

He looked at

To his great surprise, it had one word on it:

JUMP !

"Jump," said Jack, puzzled;

" why jump?

" "

Oh, look! " cried Mary, pointing ahead. ''There is a waterfall or something coming. Jack, if we don't jump, we shall go over the falls. Oh, I'm frightened!" "Come with me," the bunny said. He took the strings from Jack and pulled the boat towards the bank. It ran into it with a bump, and at the same time all three jumped out! They landed on the soft grass and rolled over. Just ahead of them the river shot over the falls with a roar. Their boat spun round once and then headed for the waterfall. Over it went, and that was the last they saw of it! "Goodness! I hope this sort of thing only happens once in a blue moon! " said Jack. "Oh, it does," said the bunny. "Come on. Do you see that castle over there? I am sure that is where the gnome has gone. It belongs to him. Perhaps he has the Princess Philomela locked up in one of the rooms." They all set off for the castle. They soon

arrived there, and looked up at it. It was very big, and had hundreds of shining windows, and a great wooden door. " I don't think I want to go in that door," said

arrived there, and looked up at it. It was very big, and had hundreds of shining

Mary. " It looks as if it might shut behind us and make us prisoners in the castle too. Isn't there another way of getting in? " " We'll spy round and see," said Jack. So they walked all round the castle—and right at the

back they discovered a very small door, painted a bright yellow. Jack pushed it—and it came open! He and the others peeped inside. It led into a great yard. They all went inside, and looked round. The kitchen door stood open and a smell of cakes being baked came out. "Come on," said Jack. "We may be able to sneak inside." He crept up to the kitchen door—and at that moment a large gnome-woman came to it to shake a duster. She stared at the three in surprise. They didn't know what to say. "Oh," she said at last, "I suppose you have come with a message to the Twisty Gnome. You are not the washing, are you? Or the baker? " " Oh, no," said Jack. " May we go inside and see the gnome?" Mary was horrified to hear Jack ask this, for she certainly didn't want to see the horrid Twisty Gnome, in case they were all taken prisoners. The gnome servant nodded her head. "He's just upstairs with the Princess," she said. " But he won't be long. Come and wait in the hall." She took them inside and led them to a great

170

hall. They sat down on a bench and she dis- appeared back into the kitchen. "Did you hear that?" said Jack, in excitement. " She said the Twisty Gnome was upstairs with the Princess! So she is here I We'll rescue her! Come on—we must hide before the gnome comes back, I don't want to see him, of course— that was only an excuse to get inside! "• Jack, Mary and the rabbit looked round to see where they could hide. There was a long curtain

hanging at the foot of the stairs, and the three crept behind it. They hadn't been there more than a minute or two when they heard footsteps coming down the stairs. It was the Twisty Gnome. As he came into the hall, the gnome-woman

ran out. "Master," she said, "there are three

. .

."

She stopped short and looked round in surprise —-for she could not see Mary, Jack or the bunny. " How strange! " she said. " A boy and a girl and a rabbit came to see you. They were here just now! " "Oh, indeed! " said Twisty, in a hoarse and threatening voice. " They were here, were they? Well, where are they now? I suppose you've let them go into my magic room, and disturb my

spells.

Grrrrrr!

If you have, I'll turn you into

a dustbin lid.

That's all you're fit for! "

"Oh, Master, I don't think they've gone into your magic room! " cried the servant—but the gnome had disappeared into a little room on the opposite side of the hall. The servant followed— and in a trice Mary, Jack and the rabbit slipped out from the curtain and were running upstairs as fast as they could. At each landing there was a locked door. Jack stopped outside each one and called softly. " Princess Philomela! Are you there? " But there was no reply at all until he reached the topmost room of all—and then 1 an answer came, in a soft, eager voice. " Yes, yes! I am here! Who is it? " The door was locked and bolted—but the key was in the lock. Jack turned it, and then undid the bolts. He opened the door—and saw inside the room a beautiful little princess with long golden hair waving round her face, and the brightest blue eyes he had ever seen. "Oh, oh, you've come to rescue me! " cried Philomela, and she gave Jack and Mary a tight hug each. She saw the bunny and clapped her hands in delight. " Why, you are dear little Whiskers, one of the

bunnies

that

used

to

pull my carriage! " she

said, and she lifted him

up and

kissed

him.

" I

suppose you brought

these children

here

to

save me." "We must go, Princess," said Jack. " The gnome knows we

are here. He is looking

for

us downstairs. He

bunnies that used to pull my carriage! " she said, and she lifted him up and

may come up at any

minute." "Come along then," said Philomela.

So they all began to creep down the stairs and at last came to the hall. No one was there. Not a sound was to be heard. Every door that led into the hall was shut,

"I say!

"said

Jack.

" I don't

remember

which

door led into the kitchen, do you? " ^ "We don't

need to go that way," said Mary. " What trying the front door? "

about

'' No,''

said Jack.

"It's

too

big and

heavy.

It

would make a noise. Let's go into one of the rooms, it doesn't much matter which one so long as the gnome isn't there, and then climb out of the window. That should be easy." So they listened outside the nearest door, and, not hearing the tiniest sound from inside, they pushed open the door and slipped into the room. They ran to some curtains and pulled them aside to get at the windows—but alas—there were no windows at all! Then they heard the sound of a key being turned in the lock—and looked round to see the Twisty Gnome looking at them with a very nasty grin. " Ha! " he said. " So you thought you would rescue the Princess and all escape very nicely, did you? Well, you made a mistake, I'm afraid. I have four prisoners now, instead of one!" He went to the middle of the floor, and pulled up a small wooden trap-door. " Get down into my cellar," he said. " There is no escape from there. It is dark and cold and full of spiders. You will enjoy a night or two there, I am sure I " The Princess and Mary began to cry. Jack

looked fierce, but could do nothing. The bunny slipped down into the cellar without a word.

looked fierce, but could do nothing.

The

bunny slipped down into the cellar without a word. When they were all in the dark, damp cellar, the gnome shut the trap-door with a bang and bolted it. They heard his footsteps going out of the room above.

"What are we to do?" sobbed Philomela. "Oh, I am so frightened." " So am I! " said Mary, wiping her eyes. "There's no need to be," said the rabbit, in a soft voice. " I can rescue you all. I am a bunny, you know, and my paws are good for digging holes. This cellar is in the ground—there is earth all around. It will not take me long to dig my way out and then I will fetch many more rabbits and we will all dig together." "Splendid idea! " cried Jack. The rabbit at once began to scrape in the earth. Soon he had made quite a tunnel, and the earth was piled in the cellar. In a few minutes he had disappeared —and before long he had fetched fifteen more rabbits, who- all dug and scraped away valiantly. "Now I think the tunnel is big enough," said the rabbit. And so it was. Jack, Mary and Philomela easily made their way up it, and came out at the side of the big castle! " The rabbits have brought a carriage for you, Your Highness," said the little bunny—and there, sure enough, was a shining silver carriage! Four rabbits stood ready to pull it, and the Princess got in.

"You must come too," she said to the children —but just as they were about to get in, a peculiar thing happened. "Look at the moon I " cried the rabbit, and pointed to where the moon was slowly sinking down the sky. Everyone looked. It was turning bright yellow! Yes—there was no mistake about it. All its blue colour was fading—and even as they watched, it was all gone, and there was the moon, as bright yellow as a daffodil, filling the sky with light. "The blue moon's gone," said the rabbit sadly. "It's gone—but we've rescued the Princess ! " A strange wind blew up at that moment and the children suddenly felt giddy. There came a loud humming noise. Jack and Mary sat down on the grass and shut their eyes, for they felt very queer. After a while the humming noise died away— and they opened their eyes. Will you believe it?—they were back in their beds again! Yes, they were—both of them sitting up and gazing out of the window at the moon, which was yellow, and shining brightly! "Mary! " cried Jack. "Did we dream it all?"

"No, we couldn't have," said Mary. "It was all so real. The moon really was blue! " "Well, to-morrow we will look for that trap- door again, where the bunny was," said Jack, lying down. "Then we will know for certain it was all true. How funny—Daddy will wonder where the stone bunny is gone, won't he? " But do you know, when the morning came, the stone bunny was back again. Yes, he was— standing in the middle of the pond on the big flat stone just as before. "But the trap-door is underneath him, Daddy," said Mary, earnestly, after she had told Daddy all about their very queer adventure. " It really is. Will you take him off the stone and see?" "No," said Daddy. "He is cemented to the stone. I'm not going to move him. You dreamt it all!" Well, isn't that a pity? If only Daddy would move the rabbit, and let the children find that trap- door again, they would know that it wasn't a dream. But Daddy won't. Perhaps you will see a blue moon one day. If you do, wish a wish—for it is sure to come true, once in a" blue moon!

JUST outside the nursery window there was a climbing rose-tree. It was very old, and had

JUST outside the nursery window there was a climbing rose-tree. It was very old, and had a thick twisted trunk, and hundreds and hundreds of leaves. In the summer it blossomed out, and was red with sweet-smelling roses. In one of the thickest parts of the climbing rose lived a small elf called Lissome. She was a dear little thing with two long wings rather like a dragonfly's, which made a whirring noise when she flew. Lissome was lonely, for no other elves lived

in the garden. They were afraid of the two chil- dren who lived in the house. They were twin girls called Lucy and Jane, and they were rough and rude. So no elves lived near them, except Lissome, who felt quite safe from them, high up in the climbing rose. All the same it was a lonely life there. The sparrows sometimes came and talked to her. The robin had a song for her, and sometimes the summer butterflies and bees fluttered round and told her the news. When she discovered that there were toys in the nursery who came alive at night and played merrily with each other, she was simply delighted!

She peeped

in one night

at the window and

they all saw her! "Look! An elf! " said the golliwog. "Let's ask her in! " So in she flew on her long wings and smiled at all the wondering toys. There were the golliwog, the brown bear, the blue rabbit, three dolls, the black dog, the brown dog, and the pink cat. So there were a good many folk to play with! Every night Lissome went to play in the nur- sery. All the toys loved her, for she was merry and kind. They played hide-and-seek, and catch,

and hunt the slipper, and hunt the thimble, and a great many other games, too—the kind you play when you go to a party. "You are -lucky to be able to fly out of the window at dawn," said the golliwog one night. " We wish we could too! " "Why? " said Lissome in surprise. "Well, Lucy and Jane are such rough children," said the brown bear. " Look at my arm! It's almost off! The two children both wanted to play with me to-day, so they pulled and pulled —and my arm nearly came off! Whatever shall I do when it does?" "I am sorry," said Lissome. "And look at my tail," said the pink cat. "Lucy twisted it and twisted it to-day—and that's nearly off too. It may drop off at any minute! And who wants a cat without a tail? " "You know, Toys, if you could lend me a needle and cotton, thimble and scissors, I think I could mend you," said Lissome. "I'm quite good at sewing." "Are you really? " said the golliwog joyfully. "Well, here is Nurse's work-basket. It's got a lot of sewing things in it. Take what you want." So Lissome took out a thimble which, however, was far too big, so she couldn't wear it. She took

a tiny needle and threaded it, and she found a pair of scissors. Then she set to work. She sewed the bear's arm beautifully. He was very pleased., "It feels as firm as ever," he said, swinging it to and fro. Lissome took the scissors and snipped the cotton. "Now I'll do the pink cat's tail," she said. The pink cat at once turned round backwards, and Lissome threaded the needle with pink silk to sew on the tail. Now the golliwog had been watching everything with great interest. He couldn't sew—but he did wish he might use those scissors! Snip, snip, they went, and he wished he could make them go snip, snip, too! "Let me snip the cotton next time," he begged. So Lissome said he might. He picked up the scissors and put them ready. He snip-snipped them in the air just to practise using them—and then a dreadful thing happened! He snip-snipped the scissors too near Lissome the elf—and she stepped back just at that moment— and the golliwog snipped off one of her lovely long wings! " Oooooh! " cried Lissome in fright. She turned round and saw her lovely wing on the

floor. The golliwog burst into sobs. He was terribly upset and unhappy. "Forgive me, forgive me!" he wept. "I didn't mean to. Oh, what shall I do, what shall I do?" "You wicked, careless golliwog! " cried the pink cat, who saw how pale the elf had gone. "Just when Lissome is doing a kind turn to us, you go and snip off one of her beautiful wings! " "I didn't mean to, I tell you—I didn't mean to! " howled the golliwog, more" upset than he had ever been in his life before.

floor. The golliwog burst into sobs. He was terribly upset and unhappy. "Forgive me, forgive me!"

Lissome patted him gently. " Don't cry so," she said. " It was an accident." "But what will you do?" wept the golliwog. " You can't fly now."

" Well, I must just stay in my rose-home until my wing has grown again," said the elf. " Oh, will it grow again? " cried everyone joy-

fully. Nobody had thought of that. " Of course," said the elf. "It will only take a week. So cheer up, Golly." He did cheer up. He squeezed out his wet hanky and tried to smile. Then something else came into his mind, and he looked miserable again. "Now what's the matter? " said the elf. "I've just thought—you can't fly out of the window to-night," said the golliwog. "So what will you do?"

"Oh,

dear," said the elf.

"I hadn't

thought

of

that. Can I climb up somehow? " "No. There's nothing to climb on," said the pink cat. " There's no chair by the window, and we are not big enough to put one there. Golly —use your brains. You got Lissome into this muddle. Now get her out of it! Go on—use your brains, if you've got any, or we'll all be very angry with you." The golly thought hard. " We'll hide her! " he said.

"Don't be silly," said the brown

bear.

"

You

know that the nursery is turned out to-morrow.

There won't be a single corner that isn't swept." "Put her in the brick box," said the brown dog. " Yes—and let Lucy and Jane find her if they use their bricks to-morrow! " said the pink cat scornfully. " And if they treat us roughly, what do you suppose they will do to a little elf like Lissome? They would make her very unhappy! " "The brick box has given me an idea! " said the golliwog suddenly. "Let's get all the bricks out— and build a high castle up to the window-sill ! Then Lissome can walk up the bricks and climb out to her home! " "Now that really is a good idea! " said the brown bear, and he went to the big brick box. He and the golly emptied out the bricks on the floor, and then all the toys began to build a high castle to the window-sill. It took ages, because the toys were not very good at building, and the bricks kept tumbling down. But at last the castle was done, and just reached the sill! " It's dawn now! " whispered Lissome, and she climbed up the bricks. " You must sleep, or you will be seen running around. Thank you for your

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help, Toys! I'll come again when my wing has grown." The toys heard someone moving about down- stairs. Someone was up! They scuttled into the toy- cupboard and shut the door. "We've left the bricks out! " whispered the golly, and he lay quite still in a corner. "Oh, dear! " Well, there wasn't time to put them back into the box, for Lucy and Jane were now both awake, and dressing. They rushed into the day nursery — and how astonished they were to see the bricks leading up to the window-sill! "Who's built that?" said Lucy. "And what for?" said Jane. "The toys can't have done it!" said Lucy. "How I'd like to know what it's there for! " But she never did know. As for the elf, her wing grew again in seven days, and she fluttered in at the window once more, as merry as ever. But she wouldn't let the golliwog use the scissors again —and I'm not surprised, are you?

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