LITTLE NEVER-UPSET by Abbie Phillips Walker

little elephant

Little Never-upset was a roly-poly fellow, with weights in his little body so placed that no matter how he was treated or tumbled about he always bobbed up smiling. His face was a jolly little round one, with a smile that could not be rubbed off, and no matter how the other toys fussed or disputed among themselves, Little Never-upset did not take a part.

One night when the clock struck the midnight hour Miss French Doll and Miss Calico Doll began to fuss.

“You treated me very badly,” said Miss Calico Doll. “When we were in the carriage riding in the park one would have thought we did not live in the same playroom.”

“Why do you not have something to wear besides that old calico dress?” asked Miss French Doll. “I never was so disgraced as when we met Miss Marie Doll in her beautiful clothes. I am sure she wondered who you were.”

“Anyone would think you never had a broken arm and had to go to the hospital,” replied Miss Calico Doll. “You were a sorry-looking sight without your hand and part of your arm, but I did not feel ashamed of you when we sat in our chairs on the front porch.”

“That is a very different thing,” said Miss French Doll, with a toss of her head. “I could not help having an accident.”

“I cannot help wearing this calico dress,” said Miss Calico Doll. “It is painted on me just like my face.”

“My goodness!” exclaimed Jack-in-a-box, jumping up with a spring, “whatever is all the trouble? A body cannot get an extra wink for you two fussing.”

“Bow-wow-wow!” barked little Dog-on-wheels, “why don’t you scare a body right out of his skin, Jack? I was asleep right beside your box.”

Teddy Bear began to growl. “Anyone would think this was a menagerie instead of a playroom,” he said.

“Yes, they would,” said Calico Cat, with a spiteful twist of her tail. “Your growl helps me to make it real.”

Calico Cat humped her back ready to spring at Teddy if he answered, and Little Dog-on-wheels barked, ready to jump at any one who gave him the least cause.

Jack-in-a-box quivered on his spring with anger because French Doll told him he had no legs and he better keep quiet, while Miss Calico Doll tried to think of something spiteful to say to Miss French Doll.

It was this very moment that Little Never-upset, who was listening to all the fussing from the shelf where he was sitting, set a good example to the playroom toys.

“Get off my shelf!” said old Elephant, who always stood there and thought he owned it, and as he spoke he gave Little Never-upset a bang with his trunk and over he went on the floor, right on his head!

All the toys stopped fussing to watch, and quick as a flash up jumped Little Never-upset on his feet and rolled from side to side with laughter.

“You are the best-natured fellow I ever saw,” said Teddy Bear. “Don’t you feel like paying Elephant back for doing that?”

“Not a bit,” answered Little Never-upset; “life is too short to quarrel. Think of all the fun you lose taking time to wrangle.”

“You are right,” said Teddy Bear. “What was all the fuss about, anyway?”

No one could say just what began it, and in a few minutes everybody was laughing and having a good time, and all because Little Never-upset had bobbed up smiling.

Old Elephant took time, however, to lean over the shelf and call to Little Never-upset. “Say, old fellow, I am sorry I was so rude,” he said. “Come up again and stay as long as you like.”

And Little Never-upset nodded his head and said he would, smiling as if he never had been tumbled off the shelf.

THE PLAYROOM WEDDING by Abbie Phillips Walker

doll bride

Paper Doll had been the maid of honor, but she did not at all approve of the match. “It will never be a happy marriage,” she told Teddy Bear the night of the wedding. “Such marriages never are. How I should feel married to a man who wore dresses.”

Yes, he did look as if he wore a dress, for he was a Japanese gentleman doll, you see, and when he came to the playroom to live everybody, including French Doll Marie, thought he was very queer looking.

But after a while they became used to Takeo, for that was his name, and when the little mistress announced that Marie was to marry Takeo she did not make the least objection.

“What difference does it make?” she said to Frieda, the Dutch doll, who lived next to her. “I suppose I shall have to marry someone, and truly I could never live with Jumping Jack; that fellow makes me so nervous.”

“He seems very quiet,” said Frieda Doll, meaning Takeo, “and perhaps you can get him to dress in men’s clothes after you are married.”

“Yes, he is quiet and I cannot understand a word he says, so we shall not quarrel,” said Marie Doll.

And so they were married. Jack-in-the-box was the minister, because the little mistress thought he stood better than anyone else. She put a black cape on him and a white collar, and Jack behaved in the most dignified manner.

Little Paper Doll wore a dress that quite outshone the bride’s dress, only no one noticed it; but it was all lace and had tiny little pink buds caught in the flounces, and she wore a beautiful hat with white feathers.

The bride wore a white dress and a long white veil, and there were tiny white flowers all around her head which held the veil in place.

But Takeo was far from looking the bridegroom, to Paper Doll’s way of thinking, though Marie Doll gave him no thought at all, for she thought the bride was the important one, and as she told Frieda Doll, “You have to have a bridegroom to be a bride, of course; but really he is not of any importance that I can see.”

They had been married a week, and, while Marie talked to Takeo, he, of course, did not take the least notice of what she said. “Poor fellow, he cannot understand,” said Marie Doll. “He won’t be any trouble, though, because I shall be able to do as I like. He cannot tell me not to.”

“These foreigners, my dear,” said Paper Doll, “are sometimes unpleasant to live with. I cannot see how you came to marry him. Do make him wear men’s clothes.”

“Oh, I think he looks quite out of the ordinary, and everyone stares at him when we go out riding in the park with the little mistress,” said Marie Doll. “As I am French, you see we both are foreigners, so that does not matter; and then, dear, Takeo is so comfortable to live with. He is no bother at all.”

But one night Marie Doll awoke to find her husband quite a different man from what she thought, for beside her sat two little Japanese dolls.

When the clock struck twelve Marie Doll called to everyone: “Come quick and see my baby girls!”

“Oh, dear! they look just like Takeo,” said Paper Doll. “This place will be filled with foreigners. It is too bad.”

“I shall change their clothes at once,” said Marie Doll.

And then it was Marie Doll and all the toys got the surprise of their lives, for from the corner where he sat came Takeo, and when he stood in front of his wife, he said, “Madam will not change the clothes of our sons.”

When Marie recovered from her surprise, she gasped: “Sons! They are daughters!”

“They are sons, madam, and sons they will remain!” said Takeo, looking at Marie very steadily.

“I thought you could not understand or speak our language,” said Marie, while all the others stood looking at Takeo in astonishment.

“I was made in this country, and so were you; but I was made to represent a Japanese gentleman and I intend to live the life of one. As for speaking, we Japanese never speak unless we have something to say. I had something to say, and I said it. You heard me, madam. Those children are our sons and you will not change their clothes.”

Takeo turned around in a very sedate manner and returned to his corner and sat down.

“I told you it would not turn out well,” said Paper Doll to Teddy Bear. “Oh, poor Marie Doll, what a life you will lead!”

But Marie Doll was still looking at her husband, and she did not hear what Paper Doll said. She was smiling at Takeo. “Such dignity,” she whispered to herself, “and how masterful he is. I shall never dare disobey him.

“Oh, you little darling boys! How I love you! You are just like your handsome father.” And Marie Doll hugged her children to her and began to rock them.

“She is crazy,” said Teddy Bear. “Marie would never give in if she were in her right mind, I know.”

“She is in love,” said Paper Doll. “She has found a master, and some women love to have a master.”

“You women are queer creatures,” said Teddy Bear. “I shall never understand you.”

“You are not supposed to understand us. You are supposed to love us,” said Paper Doll.