While they were left in the room by themselves, the toys spoke to one another.
"You are a new one, aren't you?" asked the Lamb of the Donkey.
"Yes," was the answer. "Joe got me only a little while before he was taken to the hospital, wherever that is. I guess I was in the hospital myself, when I had my broken leg mended."
"Oh, tell us about it!" begged the Monkey, as he climbed to the top of his stick and slid down again.
So the Donkey told how Frisky had knocked him off the shelf, breaking his leg.
"And Joe had something the matter with his legs, too, so that's why he had to go to the hospital," added the Donkey, as he finished his story. "I do hope he comes back soon, for I am lonesome without him."
The toys spent a happy half hour together, and then when Mirabell and Herbert came back into the room, having finished their bread and jam, the Donkey, the Lamb, and the Monkey had to become quiet.
"We'll come over again, when Joe gets home," said Mirabell, as she and Herbert left.
"And we'll get the other boys and girls and give him a toy party," added the owner of the Monkey.
"Oh, that will be lovely!" said Mrs. Richmond.
The Nodding Donkey was put back in the closet, where he told the Noah's Ark animals all about the visit of the Monkey and Lamb.
"I have heard of those toys," said the Elephant. "They know the Sawdust Doll, the White Rocking Horse, the Candy Rabbit, and the Bold Tin Soldier."
"My, what a lot of jolly toys there are!" said the Donkey. And then he grew silent, thinking of poor little Joe in the hospital.
Joe did not have an easy time. He was very ill and in great pain, but the kind doctors and nurses looked well after him, and his father and mother went to see him almost every day. One afternoon, when Joe had been in the hospital for what seemed to him a whole year, his father and the doctor came into the room. There was also a nurse, and she began to put on Joe the clothes he wore in the street.
"What is going to happen?" asked the boy.
"I am going to take you home, and give your mother a joyful surprise," said his father.
"Oh, how glad I am!" cried Joe. "And then I can see my Nodding Donkey, can't I? Is he all right, Daddy?"
"As right and as fine as ever," answered Mr. Richmond.
Joe could hardly sit still during the ride home. He got out of the automobile and went through the snow up to the front door. His father opened it, and Joe saw his mother standing at the end of the hall.
For a moment Mrs. Richmond could hardly believe what she saw.
"Joe! Joe, my little boy!" she cried. "Oh, you have come home again! Are you all right? Are your legs better? Can you walk?"
"Can I walk, Mother!" cried Joe, in a happy voice. "Of course I can! I can walk without my crutches, and I can run! I can run! See!"
And with that Joe ran down the hall and into his mother's arms.
Oh, what a joyful happy time there was! Joe's legs were straight and strong again, and he did not need his crutches any more.
"And now where is my Nodding Donkey?" he asked. "I want to see him!"
"I'll get him for you," offered his mother, and when the toy was set on the table near Joe, it nodded its head to welcome him home.
"Oh, my dear Donkey! how I missed you while I was in the hospital," said Joe.
"And I missed you, too," thought the Donkey.
Two or three days after this, when Joe had gotten used to being at home again, there came a knock at the door. Outside happy voices were talking and laughing.
When Joe opened the door there stood Dorothy with her Sawdust Doll, Dick with his White Rocking Horse, Arnold with his Bold Tin Soldier, Mirabell with her Lamb, Madeline, who had a Candy Rabbit, Herbert, who carried a Monkey on a Stick, and Sidney with the Calico Clown.
"Surprise on Joe! Surprise on Joe!" cried the children. "We have come to make a Toy Party for you and your Nodding Donkey!"
"Oh, how glad I am!" Joe laughed. "Look at my legs!" he went on. "They are straight now, and I don't have to go on crutches. And my Nodding Donkey, who had a broken leg, is well, too! He doesn't have to go on crutches, either!"
"Hurray!" cried Dick, and all the other boys and girls said: "Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!"
Then the Toy Party began, and the children and the toys had so much fun that it would take three books just to tell about half of it. Joe and his Nodding Donkey were the guests of honor, and all the others tried to make them feel happy. And Joe was happy! One look at his smiling face told that.
As for the Nodding Donkey, you could tell by the way he moved his head that never, in all his life, had he had such a good time.
When Mrs. Richmond called the children to the dining room to eat, the toys were left by themselves in a playroom.
"Ladies and Gentlemen," said the Calico Clown in his jolly voice, "we have all met together, after a long time of being apart. We have all had good times together, and now I hope you will all agree with me when I say that we are glad to welcome the Nodding Donkey among us."
"Yes, he is very welcome," said the Sawdust Doll. "We are glad he has come to live in this part of the world."
"I am glad of it myself," said the Nodding Donkey. "I never knew, while I was in the workshop of Santa Claus, that so many things could happen down here. Yes, I am very happy that I came. There is only one thing I wish."
"What is that?" asked the Monkey.
"I wish the China Cat were here," said the Donkey. "She lives in Mr. Mugg's store, and I'm sure you would all like her, she is so clean and white."
"Three cheers for the China Cat!" called the Bold Tin Soldier, waving his sword.
And the toys cheered among themselves.
"Tell me more about this China Cat," begged the Candy Rabbit to the Donkey. "Is she anything like me?"
The Nodding Donkey was just going to tell about the China Cat when Joe and the other children came trooping back into the room, having finished their lunch.
"Now let's play circus!" cried Joe. "We have a lot of toys and animals now. Let's play circus."
And so they did. But as there is a story to tell about the China Cat, and as I have no room in this book, I will make up another, and it will be all about the Nodding Donkey's friend, the white China Cat, and how she had many adventures, but managed to keep herself clean.
As for Joe and his friends, they had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and the Nodding Donkey lived for a long while after that, happy and contented, and he never even had so much as a pain in the broken leg that Mr. Mugg had mended so nicely.
THE MAKE-BELIEVE STORIES
By LAURA LEE HOPE
Author of THE BOBBSEY TWINS BOOKS, ETC.
* * * * *
Colored Wrappers and Illustrations by HARRY L. SMITH
* * * * *
In this fascinating line of books Miss Hope has the various toys come to life "when nobody is looking" and she puts them through a series of adventures as interesting as can possibly be imagined.
* * * * *
THE STORY OF A SAWDUST DOLL
How the toys held a party at the Toy Counter; how the Sawdust Doll was taken to the home of a nice little girl, and what happened to her there.
THE STORY OF A WHITE ROCKING HORSE
He was a bold charger and a man purchased him for his son's birthday. Once the Horse had to go to the Toy Hospital, and my! what sights he saw there.
THE STORY OF A LAMB ON WHEELS
She was a dainty creature and a sailor bought her and took her to a little girl relative and she had a great time.
THE STORY OF A BOLD TIN SOLDIER.
He was Captain of the Company and marched up and down in the store at night. Then he went to live with a little boy and had the time of his life.
THE STORY OF A CANDY RABBIT
He was continually in danger of losing his life by being eaten up. But he had plenty of fun, and often saw his many friends from the Toy Counter.
THE STORY OF A MONKEY ON A STICK
He was mighty lively and could do many tricks. The boy who owned him gave a show, and many of the Monkey's friends were among the actors.
THE STORY OF A CALICO CLOWN
He was a truly comical chap and all the other toys loved him greatly.
THE STORY OF A NODDING DONKEY
He made happy the life of a little lame boy and did lots of other good deeds.
THE STORY OF A CHINA CAT
The China Cat had many adventures, but enjoyed herself most of the time.
THE STORY OF A PLUSH BEAR
This fellow came from the North Pole, stopped for a while at the toy store, and was then taken to the seashore by his little master.
THE STORY OF A STUFFED ELEPHANT
He was a wise looking animal and had a great variety of adventures.
* * * * *
GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK
THE PUSS-IN-BOOTS, Jr. SERIES
By DAVID CORY
Author of "The Little Jack Rabbit Stories" and "Little Journeys to Happyland"
* * * * *
Handsomely Bound. Colored Wrappers. Illustrated. Each Volume Complete in Itself.
* * * * *
To know Puss Junior once is to love him forever. That's the way all the little people feel about this young, adventurous cat, son of a very famous father.
THE ADVENTURES OF PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR.
FURTHER ADVENTURES OF PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR.
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR. IN FAIRYLAND
TRAVELS OF PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR.
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR., AND OLD MOTHER GOOSE
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR., IN NEW MOTHER GOOSE LAND
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR., AND THE GOOD GRAY HORSE
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR., AND TOM THUMB
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR., AND ROBINSON CRUSOE
PUSS-IN-BOOTS, JR., AND THE MAN IN THE MOON
* * * * *
GROSSET & DUNLAP, Publishers, NEW YORK
* * * * *
Page 79, "pile coal" changed to "piles of coal".