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   Chapter 2 THE LITTLE ESKIMO

The Story of a Plush Bear By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 10305

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


Following Santa Claus, his little men hurried into the North Pole shop. They were dancing and capering about, for they felt very lively after their rest, and they were ready to start again making toys, or finishing those half completed.

"Oh! Oh! Oh! Such a lot of trouble!" cried Santa Claus, but even this trouble could not keep the laughter out of his jolly voice. "Snow! Snow! Snow all over everything!" went on Saint Nicholas. "Who left the windows open so that all the flakes blew in?" he asked.

"I-I guess I did, Santa Claus," replied one of the little men who wore a red cap. "I wanted some fresh air, for I was working over the paint pots, putting blue eyes in wax dolls, and the paint smell almost choked me. So I opened some windows."

"I guess no great harm is done," said Santa Claus, looking about. "It is so cold the snow hasn't melted, and it is only melted snow that spoils toys. But I don't see how the snow got all over the floor, as well as on the benches," he added.

Ah, if Santa Claus had only seen the toys at play, throwing snowballs all about, and washing the faces of one another, he would have known how it happened. But even Santa Claus was not allowed to see the toys come to life and play.

"Get brooms, sweep up the snow, and close the windows," called Saint Nicholas. "Get the shop ready to work in again, for we are going to be very busy. The Earth children want many toys this year, and we have not made nearly enough. Clean out the snow!"

With brooms, shovels, and brushes, the merry little men fell to work, and soon the shop of Santa Claus was as it should be, and as it had been before the storm. The windows, made of sheets of ice, were pulled down, and soon there was the hum of songs all through the shop, for the men of Santa Claus sang as they worked.

One of the men, as he pulled down the window near his bench, where he was making a lot of little animals for a Noah's Ark, looked out through the pane of ice glass.

"What do you see?" asked the workman next him.

"Oh, one of those odd Eskimo children, all dressed in fur, was right under this window," answered the other little man. "He must have been here when the windows were open. Maybe he wanted to see us making toys. Well, he won't see any better toy than the Plush Bear I just finished," said the little man proudly.

"No, indeed!" agreed the second little man. "But does Santa Claus know about these little Eskimo children coming around his workshop?" he asked.

"Oh, they never bother us," was the answer. "Now we mustn't talk any more, for we have many toys to make for the Earth children."

So the little men became very busy-too busy to talk, though the Plush Bear heard them singing as they made toy after toy. The Plush Bear and the other playthings could hear what was said, though they could take no part in the talk while Santa Claus, or any of his men, were in the shop. And Santa Claus was there now, seeing that each one of his tiny elves made as many toys as possible.

"Well, we certainly had a good time for a while!" thought the Plush Bear to himself. "What fun that snowball fight was! I'd like another. I didn't feel a bit cold!"

And no wonder. His coat of silk plush was as warm as the fur coat of a real bear. The Plush toy was looking straight at the Polar Bear and the big, white fellow seemed to be blinking his eyes at the other Bear.

All through the great North Pole workshop of Santa Claus the little men were busy, singing over their tasks. But they could not work all night and all day as well, so at last there came an hour when Santa Claus rang a bell and said:

"Now, my merry men, it is time for you to go to bed. Be up early in the morning to make more toys. Good-night, everybody!"

With that he went out, buttoning his fur coat about him, and the workmen, after putting away their tools, followed. Santa Claus and his men slept in snow castles not far from the workshop.

It was almost dark in the toy shop now. Outside the Northern Lights glowed faintly, and inside only a little candle was left gleaming, its beams reflected in some shiny gold stars that were to go on the tops of Christmas trees later on.

"Be Careful, Everybody!" Said the Plush Bear.

Page 12

"Hello, everybody!" softly called the voice of the Flannel Pig, as he peered out from the roof of a toy dog house, where he had been put by one of the workmen. "Now we can have some more fun!"

"We must be sure every one is gone," said the Plush Bear, as he began to swing his head from side to side. For he had been wound up, and now the wheels and springs inside him were beginning to move.

"Oh, every one is gone," said the Wax Doll. "And this time they will stay away all night. Now we can have our usual fun."

"Is there any snow left?" asked the Polar Bear. "I should like to wash the face of the Plush Bear."

"And I'd wash yours, too!" laughed the Plush Bear. "But the little men swept out all the snow and closed the windows. There isn't so much as an icicle left."

"Too bad!" sighed the Polar Bear. "Well, we'll have fun some other way. Let's see, what shall we do? Have any o

f you ever seen me turn somersaults?" he asked, after a moment's pause.

"No. Can you do it?" asked the Plush Bear.

"You should see me!" boasted the big white Bear. "I don't believe anywhere in North Pole Land you will find a better somersault turner than I. Watch me!"

The Plush Bear and the other toys leaned forward from the shelves and tables where they sat or stood to see what would happen. If they had not been so eager to see what the Polar Bear was going to do some of them might have noticed a small, dark figure stealing up outside the workshop of Santa Claus, and stopping beneath one of the ice windows.

This little figure was that of an Eskimo boy-the same little chap, all dressed in sealskin and fur, who had looked in and almost reached through the window to take out the Plush Bear when he had interrupted the toys in the midst of their snowball fight.

"Ah, now is my chance!" murmured the little Eskimo boy, as he stepped softly over the snow, coming nearer and nearer to the workshop of Santa Claus. "If I can open a window I'll take out that Plush Bear, cart him off to the igloo, and have a lot of fun."

The Eskimo boy lived with his father and mother in a house made of blocks of snow and ice. This house was called an "igloo," and it takes its name from the house built by the seals in the far North. The Eskimos build their houses the same shape as the houses made in the ice by the seals. If you cut an orange or an apple in half, and put the flat side down on a table, you will see exactly how an Eskimo igloo is shaped.

"Oh, if I can only get the Plush Bear!" thought the Eskimo boy, as he stepped softly nearer and nearer to the workshop of Santa Claus.

It was not very dark in North Pole Land just then. Though the sun had gone down, and the long winter had set in, still there were the Northern Lights, which glowed and flickered in the sky and made enough of a gleam for the Eskimo boy to see his way over the snow. The snow, too, helped to make it less dark.

Ever since he had seen the Plush Bear through the window of Santa Claus' workshop that day, the Eskimo boy had wanted the plaything. So after his supper of seal fat and blubber, with a piece of tallow candle, which was to him what candy is to you, the boy, well wrapped in fur, started out from his igloo.

All this while, or at least after Santa Claus and his men had gone, the Plush Bear and the other toys were having fun among themselves. As I have told you, the Polar Bear was getting ready to turn somersaults to amuse the other toys.

"Watch me now!" cried the Polar Bear, as he leaned over and got ready to stand on his head.

"Say, why don't you turn some somersaults?" the Flannel Pig asked of the Plush Bear.

"Maybe I will after he gets through," the Plush Bear answered.

The Eskimo boy was now at one of the windows of the shop-a window which had for a pane a clear sheet of ice. The Eskimo boy blew his warm breath on this window pane, close to the place where, inside, there was a catch to hold the window shut.

"Hoo! Hoo! Hoo!" breathed the Eskimo boy on the glass. And his breath was warm, just as yours is when you melt the frost on your window glass at home. Very soon the fur-clad boy had melted a hole in the ice pane. After that it was easy for him to slip his hand in and turn back the window catch.

The Eskimo boy did not know it was wrong thus to take a toy from the workshop of Santa Claus. He only knew that he wanted the Plush Bear, and that this was the easiest way to get it.

Softly he raised the window, after he had turned back the catch. There, in front of him on one of the tables, stood the Plush Bear and many other Christmas toys. But the Eskimo boy had eyes only for the Plush Bear.

"What fun I shall have with you!" whispered the Eskimo boy. He reached forth his hand and took the wonderful plaything.

Just at this time the Polar Bear was turning a somersault, and the eyes of all the other toys were looking at him.

If they had not been looking at the Polar Bear they would have seen the Eskimo boy open the window. And had he once looked at the toys they would have had to stop talking and moving. But, as it happened, none of the toys saw him.

The Plush Bear had just been going to clap his paws together to applaud the Polar Bear's trick of turning a somersault, when the Plush Bear felt himself lifted up.

"Oh!" he said faintly, and then he saw that he must not move or speak, for the Eskimo boy was looking straight at him.

"Ha, now I have you, Mr. Plush Bear," whispered the Eskimo boy, and he quickly drew his arm back out of the open window, taking the wonderful toy with him. He slipped the Plush Bear under his coat of fur, and away he sped over the snow, sparkling in the Northern Lights. Over the snow ran the Eskimo boy, taking to his igloo the Plush Bear.

"Oh, dear me," thought the Plush Bear, "this is a strange adventure, indeed! I hoped I might go to Earth in the sleigh of Santa Claus, as the Nodding Donkey did, but now, it seems, I must stay at the North Pole in a snow and ice hut! Oh, dear! What is going to happen to me?"

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