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   Chapter 1 A SNOWBALL FIGHT

The Story of a Plush Bear By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10707

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


Down swirled the white flakes, blowing this way and that. It was snowing furiously in North Pole Land, and even the immense workshop of Santa Claus was almost buried in white. How the wind howled! It whistled down the chimneys, and blew the sparks about.

"Whew, how cold it is!" cried a Wax Doll, who did not have any shoes on, for she was not yet quite finished. "What makes such a breeze in here?" and she shivered as she pulled up over her legs a blanket of plush cloth from which Santa Claus and his men made Teddy Bears.

"It is cold," said a Celluloid Doll, who was lying on the work bench next to the wax toy. "Some one must have left a window open."

"Left a window open? There are three or four windows open!" gleefully shouted a fuzzy, Woolen Boy Doll. "Look at the snow blowing in! Hurray! Now we can have a snowball fight without going outside. Come on!" cried the Woolen Boy Doll to a little Flannel Pig who had just been stuffed with cotton. "Come on, have a snowball fight!"

"All right!" squealed the Flannel Pig. "I'll wash your face!"

"Oh, how cold it is! How cold it is!" sighed the Wax Doll. "Give me more covers, please, somebody! My feet are freezing! Who left the windows open?"

"Here, take this," called a big Plush Bear, tossing toward the Wax Doll a quilt he took from a bed in a playhouse that stood next to him on the work table. "This will keep you warm. I guess some of the men who work for Santa Claus must have gone off and forgotten to close the windows."

This is just what had happened. There had been a busy time in the North Pole workshop of Santa Claus that day, for it was getting near to Christmas. The little men, like elves, who built the Noah's Arks, the toy animals, the dolls, and the other playthings, had been as busy as bees.

Then, in the afternoon, just before dark, jolly old Santa Claus himself entered his shop, the windows of which were made from crystal-clear sheets of ice.

"What ho, my merry men!" cried Santa Claus, "you have been working very hard. Stop now, and have lunch, for we must work overtime to-night so that we may finish a lot of toys to be taken down to Earth. But now I will give you a little rest, though it is not five o'clock, when we usually stop."

"Hurray!" cried the merry little men.

They gladly laid down their tools and put aside the half-finished toys on which they had been working. Half-finished Dolls, Jumping Jacks that could not yet leap, Jacks in Boxes that could not yet spring out, trains of cars that could not yet run-all these were laid aside, together with toys completely made, so that the little men might rest themselves.

"Come to the lunch room and get some hot chocolate and some frosted cake," said Santa Claus, and away trooped the jolly little men. Just who had left some of the windows open no one knew. But they were open, and when the big storm came, in blew the snowflakes.

"I call this real jolly," said the big Plush Bear, who had given the Wax Doll the bed quilt to keep her feet warm. "I'd like to be out in this storm. But this is the next best thing. Hi there!" he called to the Flannel Pig, "look out where you're throwing snowballs! You nearly hit the Wax Doll."

"Oh, if he did that my complexion would be spoiled!" cried the beautiful toy, who was not, as yet, quite finished.

"I'll be careful," promised the Flannel Pig. "Don't you want to have fun in the snowball fight, Mr. Teddy Bear?"

"I am not a Teddy Bear!" roared the big plush creature. "Many people take me for one; but I am not, though I do look like a Teddy. But I am a real Plush Bear, and when I am wound up I can move my head and my paws and I can growl. Listen! I am wound up now!"

There was a whirring sound inside the Plush Bear as the clock work wheels began to turn, and soon his head moved slowly from side to side, he raised his paws and lowered them, and out of his red mouth came a growling voice saying:

"To be sure, I'll join the snowball fight!"

"Hurray!" cried the Woolen Boy Doll. "Now for some fun!" For though the Plush Bear had spoken with a growl he was not at all cross. That was just his way. He was really most jolly, though he had a very wise look on his plush face, as though always thinking of hard examples to solve and hard words to spell. But though he was wise, and growled when he talked, the Plush Bear was most delightful.

"Come on! We'll move over to one side where we shall not get any snow on the toys who don't like it," said the Plush Bear. With his warm coat, almost like fur, he loved to roll in the snow. So did the Flannel Pig and the Woolen Boy Doll. But the Wax Doll, who, as yet, had no shoes, the Celluloid Doll, who was only partly dressed, and some of the others did not like the cold.

Faster and faster the snow came down, and more and more white flakes blew in through the open windows of the shop of Santa Claus at the North Pole. The Plush Bear caught up a paw full of the white crystals from the bench, made them into a ball, and tossed them at the Flannel Pig. The Flannel Pig turned quickly and chased after the Woolen Boy Doll, crying:

"I'll wash your face! I'll wash your face!"

Then such fun as there was! The Wax Doll, covered up now so that her feet were no longer cold, and in a safe corner where no balls could hit her, watched the sport.

"I'm gla

d Santa Claus and his men took a little resting spell," said the Plush Bear, as he quickly stooped down to get out of the way of a snowball thrown by a Teddy Bear, almost like himself.

"Yes, if they were here we could have no fun," said the Flannel Pig.

And this was very true.

As I shall explain to you in this book, and as I have told you in other books of these "Make Believe Stories," the toys could pretend to come to life, move about, and have fun when no one was looking at them. They could talk, tell jokes and stories, as well as riddles, play games, have races and even snowball fights, as they were having one now. But the moment any one looked at them, or came into the room where they were playing, the toys settled back straight and stiff and still. They could listen to what was said, but they dared not speak, and they could take no part in life.

So it was that the toys were glad Santa Claus and his men had, for a little while, gone out of the big workshop. It was a wonderful place-this workshop of Santa Claus. There many of the toys in the world were made for the boys and girls of the Earth. And as fast as he had several boxes of toys ready, Santa Claus would hitch his eight reindeer to his sleigh, and down to Earth he would go. He would leave boxes and bags of toys at the different shops and warehouses, whence they were sent to other places where boys and girls could see them, and tell their fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts or cousins what they wanted for Christmas.

Biff! a big snowball went sailing across the room.

Bang! it struck the Plush Bear on his nose.

"Wuff! Wuff!" growled the Plush Bear, but he was not at all cross, and, an instant later, he sent another ball sailing toward the Flannel Pig.

"Oh, I didn't throw that! I didn't hit you!" squealed the Flannel Pig, as he tried to dodge out of the way of the mass of snow tossed by the Plush Bear.

"Never mind," growled Mr. Bruin, as the Bear was sometimes called. "It's all in fun!"

And fun it was! At other times, when they were left alone, the toys in the workshop of Santa Claus had fun, but never before, at least in a long while, had windows been left open so that the snow blew in.

"It's almost as much fun as being out doors," said the Plush Bear again, as he moved his paws and shook his head from side to side. "I only wish the Nodding Donkey could be here to enjoy it," he went on.

"Who is the Nodding Donkey?" asked the Wax Doll, as the Flannel Pig and the others stopped snowballing for a moment.

"He was a toy who was born here, and who lived here for some time, before he was taken down to Earth," answered the Plush Bear. "He could nod his head, and he did not have to be wound up with a key as I have to be. I liked the Nodding Donkey very much. But he and the China Cat have both gone away.

"However, I suppose that is the way of things up here. We are made to give happiness to boys and girls, and the only way in which we can do that is to allow ourselves to be taken to Earth by Santa Claus. Yes, I suppose I shall be taken down some day," and once more he moved his head from side to side, and looked very wise indeed, did the Plush Bear.

As I have said, he was not a Teddy Bear, though sometimes he looked like one. He was made entirely of soft, brown, silky plush. This plush covered from view the clock wheels and springs inside the Bear, which when wound up, caused him to move and growl. But the wheels did not give the Bear his wise look. That was put on his face by one of the workmen of Santa Claus.

"Oh, I know what we can do!" suddenly cried a Polar Bear, who had just shuffled along to join the fun. The Polar Bear was like the Plush Bear only a different color, the Plush Bear being brown, and the Polar Bear white.

"What shall we do?" asked the Flannel Pig, as he wiped some snow water out of one of his eyes.

"Let's build a big snow house, such as the Eskimos all about the North Pole build," went on the Polar Bear. "There is enough snow being blown in through the open windows to make a lot of houses. And we can make a hill, and slide down that, too!"

"Yes, let's do it," said the Woolen Doll Boy. But just then the Plush Bear shook his head and growled out:

"Be careful, everybody! I think some one is coming! We must not be seen in motion, or be heard talking. Keep quiet, every one!"

Each of the toys became as still as a little chocolate mouse.

Then one of the open windows was darkened as a strange creature looked in. It seemed to be a boy, but he was covered with skins and fur, almost like an animal. Only his face could be seen. His hands, as he rested them on the sill of the window, were covered with big, fur mittens.

"Oh, ho! Nobody is here! I can take one of the toys!" said the fur-dressed Eskimo boy, for such he was. "Now is my chance! I'll take that big bear!"

The Eskimo boy, one of a strange, unknown race that live at the North Pole, was just climbing in through the open window, when suddenly, at the far end of the shop, a voice cried:

"Oh, my goodness! Look what has happened! Some one left the windows open and a lot of snow has blown in! Quick, my merry men! Close the windows and start work to finish the toys! I hope none is spoiled!"

And with that Santa Claus himself hurried into the shop.

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