Page images
PDF
EPUB

together. Why it had been placed in the old toy cupboard was a mystery, for it seemed nearly new from the brightness of its colours and the full roundness of its form. That it was gifted with more strength and vitality than its companions was evident enough, for it gave a violent roll on the shelf, and then bounded suddenly down into the midst of its companions.

“ And so we've got a holiday at last,” said the Ball, with a lively frisk as he spoke.

“Oh! don't be so rough,” faintly shrieked the Doll; “you have almost taken away all the little breath I had left!”

“I'll fan you with the greatest pleasure !” said the Kite, eagerly," or at least, I'll try to do so, for I have stood here so long, that I am quite stiff, but I'll do

my

best!” And so he vigorously flapped backwards and forwards, till all the dust was set in motion that had rested quiet so long. So that at last, the Rocking-horse even was roused from his long slumber, and hobbled out of the corner on his lame legs.

“How very pleasant !” exclaimed the Ball, hopping about with the greatest agility; “I de

[ocr errors]

clare it is quite worth while living in retirement for a while, if only to enjoy life once more when we come back to it again. How's the Doll now?” enquired he, politely, bounding towards her.

“Better I hope," puffed the Kite; “but you know this cupboard has been stifling for a long while, and so now the first breeze of fresh air is almost too much for us all."

“Speak for yourself,” snapped the Shuttlecock, very peevishly; "you have fanned out my last feather, and what I'm to do now I can't think; I'm nothing but cork and leather !”

“We are none of us much to be boasted of," remarked the old leaden Teapot;“ I'm sure I have been battered and dinted till I've no shape left. But one gets used in time to being trodden on.'

“Yes, indeed, and to get one's horns and legs snapped off,” chimed in an eager lilac wooden Cow, who certainly had lost most of her members, “over and above parting with your relations. My twin brother was destroyed ages ago, and so was the scarlet cat's, and there's not even one elephant left in the ark, nor a camel, nor a canary, nor a ladybird, nor a bear.”

we

“Oh! never mind your elephants and ladybirds,” interrupted the Ball, irreverently; shall waste all our time in this arguing and quarrelling!

“It's easy for you to talk, young man, remarked the Shuttlecock, sarcastically; "you have never been into the battle of life, or lost all your

feathers. “ This is very stupid work,” said the Skippingrope, coiling about and trying to disentangle herself from the Kite, a proceeding that resulted in one of her handles coming off, and the Kite being shorn of the tassel at the end of his tail.

'Well, what are we to do with ourselves," asked the Rocking-Horse, “ we are not all of us quite so lively as you, my friend Ball. To us a holiday conveys the idea of rest, not restless

[ocr errors]

ness.

· Then I should think holidays were superfluous things to you !” muttered the Ball, as he took an extra roll out into the room; “but what are we to do, then ?"

Tell stories,” suggested the Doll, and the Rocking-Horse and Kite seconded the motion. The Ball bounded about very impatiently, and

C

proposed a game of play, but he was outvoted, and the first motion was carried. But the noise of the argument had awakened the Hummingtop, and he began to buzz and hum in such a drony, drowsy fashion, that in sheer terror and dread, the Ball threw himself gallantly into the gap, and promised to tell the first story himself, on condition that he should be allowed to roll softly about the room for the rest of the evening. This was very willingly agreed to, and all the party being comfortably arranged, the Doll having taken care to ensure the services of the Kite, the Ball begun his proffered story in the following manner.

[graphic][merged small]

THE HISTORY OF THE BALL ; WITH THE STORY OF THE

POOR OLD WIDOW WHO MADE IT.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

F I were not of a very lively character,

remarked the Ball, “I

should feel rather shy at making my first appearance as a story teller. But you know all people of my giddy habits are not much given to serious consideration. We make a bold spring and bound down into the middle of a matter, while all the graver folks are nervously trembling on the very brink. And so, instead of beginning at the very first chapter of my story, and telling you that I first grew on an animal's back as skin, and was then turned into leather, I will skip the dry part of my history, and begin with some of my later impressions."

“Now," said the Humming-top, gravely, “I think I must rather protest against this summary way of disposing of some of the most interesting

« PreviousContinue »