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   Chapter 3 OUT ALL NIGHT

The Story of a Plush Bear By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 11975

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


"There! What do you think of that for a somersault?" cried the Polar Bear, as he flopped over on his back. "Can you do as well as that, Mr. Plush Bear?"

"Oh, what a wonderful fellow the Polar Bear is!" cried the Wax Doll, who now had on her shoes so she could walk about on the broad workshop bench. "Quite remarkable!"

"The Plush Bear can do as well!" squealed the Flannel Pig, making his nose wrinkle up in a funny way. "Come on, Plush Bear!" he cried. "Show them how you turn somersaults!"

This talk took place just after the Polar Bear had done his trick, and right after the Eskimo boy had opened the window and taken away the toy he so much wanted.

None of the toys, except the Plush Bear, had seen the Eskimo boy, and the boy had not looked at any of the other toys, so they did not have to stop what they were doing. And as the Eskimo boy popped his hand out of the window, almost as soon as he had popped it in, the toys kept right on with what they were doing.

"Come, let's see you turn a somersault, Plush Bear!" called the Polar Bear to his friend.

"Yes! Yes!" cried the other playthings! "Let's have a somersault race!"

They turned toward that part of the work bench where they thought the Plush Bear would be standing, but the Plush Bear was not there.

"Oh, he's gone!" squealed the Flannel Pig.

"Maybe he got down on the floor to practice a somersault, so he can beat me! But he'll have hard work!" growled the Polar Bear. But he was not cross when he growled. It was just his way of speaking, as it was also that of the Plush Bear.

"No, he isn't on the floor!" said the Wax Doll, leaning over the edge of the table to look down.

"Oh, he has fallen out of the window!" suddenly cried the Flannel Pig. "See, the window is open! The Plush Bear must have fallen into the snow outside."

"We must get him back!"

"Throw him a piece of a doll's clothes-line and haul him up!"

"Get a ladder from one of the toy fire engines!"

"Let's all go down after him! Maybe he bumped his nose!"

These were only a few of the shouts and cries that came when it was discovered that the window was open and that the Plush Bear was gone.

The Eskimo boy had not stopped to close the window after opening it to take the toy he so much wanted. And now the toys, crowding on the sill, which was close to the work bench, looked out in the snow under the window. It was light enough for them to see quite well.

"Come on back here, Plush Bear!" called the Flannel Pig, who was quite friendly with the big toy. "I want to see you turn a somersault."

"Yes, come on back, unless you're afraid that I can beat you!" growled the Polar Bear.

"Maybe he is afraid, and ran away," suggested the Wax Doll, who seemed more friendly to the Polar Bear.

"No, indeed!" squealed the Flannel Pig. "The Plush Bear is a brave fellow, and he is very wise! He would not run away. The window must have come open and he tumbled out."

"But he isn't down there in the snow," said a toy Fireman, looking carefully below. "If he was down there I could fix a ladder for him so he could climb up. But he isn't there."

"Where can he be?" asked the Flannel Pig. "He was standing near me one minute, saying how he was going to turn a somersault, and when next I looked he was gone."

"See! There are footprints in the snow under the window," said the Polar Bear, who had come to the sill. "Maybe Santa Claus or some of his men came along outside, and took the Plush Bear away."

"They would not do that," declared the Wax Doll. "Santa Claus would not take just one of us toys. When he takes any, he takes a whole sleigh-load to Earth for the children. No, there is something strange about this!"

And indeed there was, as we know. The Eskimo boy had the Plush Bear, but the toys knew nothing of this. However, there was nothing they could do.

After calling softly to the Plush Bear to come back, but receiving no answer, about a dozen of the Jumping Jacks, by climbing up and all pulling together on the window, managed to close it to keep out the cold, night air.

"Well, since there is no one else to turn somersaults with me, I'll do it alone," said the Polar Bear. So he flipped and flopped over again, and the other toys played games among themselves, but the nice Plush Bear was not among them.

He was under the fur coat of the Eskimo boy, being carried across the snow to the ice hut, or igloo. The door to this igloo was not like the door to your home. It was just a hole, with some pieces of fur and skin hung over it to keep out the cold wind. Ski, which was the name of the Eskimo boy, pushed aside this curtain of fur as he crawled into the igloo, with the Plush Bear beneath his warm jacket. The doorway, or hole, was made small to keep out as much cold as possible, and Ski had to stoop down and crawl on his hands and knees to get in.

Inside the igloo there were no tables and chairs, such as there are in your house. There were just some slabs of ice set here and there, being raised a little from the icy floor. On the floor were skins to make it as warm as possible, and in the middle of the igloo was a sort of lamp, or stove, made of stone, filled with oil in which floated a wick that was burning. This lamp-stove was all the Eskimos had to heat and cook with. But as they wore their fur clothes all winter long, never taking them off, they did not catch cold.

"Look!" said Ski, the Eskimo boy, as he pulled the Plush Bear out from under his fur coat and set the toy down on a shelf of ice in the igloo, where the rays from the oil lamp fell upon it. "See what I have!" and his father and mother and his brothers and sisters leaned forward to look at the strange object.

There was not much room in the igloo, and the Eskimo family was rather crowded. But they did not mind this, as it was much warmer than if they had lived in a big room. In fact, except in the center, one could not stand up in the igloo. The roof was too

low.

"Where did you get that?" asked Ski's father, as he looked at the Plush Bear.

"He was in the big igloo, far over the snow, near the big ice mountain," answered the Eskimo boy. "I saw him through a window, and I wanted him. When all in the igloo were asleep I breathed on the ice pane, opened the window, and took this Bear. Now he is mine!"

"Yes, I know that big igloo," said Ski's father. "There was none like it where we came from. I do not know what it is."

Ski's family had just moved to North Pole Land, and they had never heard of Santa Claus, though the other Eskimos of this country were well acquainted with Saint Nicholas. To Ski and his family the workshop of Santa Claus was just a big "igloo."

"Is not this Bear nice?" asked Ski, of his brothers and sisters.

"But he is not like the bears here," said Kiki, one of the Eskimo girls. "He is brown, like the seals. The North Bears are white."

"There was a white Bear in the big igloo, but I would rather have this one," said Ski. "I will always keep him."

During this time the Plush Bear, of course, had not dared to say a word or move by himself. He was being watched too closely. But he could hear what was said, and he wondered what was going to happen to him.

"I shall be dreadfully lonesome if I have to stay here," thought the Plush Bear. "There is not another toy in the whole place!"

There was another toy, but the Plush Bear did not know it. This toy was a rudely carved Wooden Doll, owned by Kiki. She had wrapped this Wooden Doll in a bit of sealskin and put it in her bed to keep it warm. For to Kiki the piece of wood, which looked something like a Doll, was as much alive as your Doll is to you girls.

"That is a wonderful thing, Ski," said the Eskimo boy's father. "Never have I seen such a thing in all my life!"

Ski's father leaned forward and touched the Plush Bear. And he happened to touch the very spring that set the toy animal in motion. For the Plush Bear was all wound up when Ski reached through the window and took him, and all that was needed was a touch to send him off.

Immediately the Plush Bear began to move his head from side to side, growls came out of his red mouth, and his paws waved to and fro. He behaved almost like a small, live bear.

"Wow!" cried Ski, leaping back when he saw the Plush Bear beginning to move.

"Wow!" cried Ski's father, mother and sisters and brothers, and they, too, leaped back.

"Gurr-r-r-r! Gurr-r-r-r!" growled the Plush Bear, and he moved his paws and head faster than ever. He was not doing this himself, you understand. He was not making believe come to life. He was only doing as all the other spring toys do-moving when the wheels within him moved.

"Wow!" cried Ski's father again. "This is magic! This bear is bewitched! It will bring us bad luck! It must not stay in my igloo!"

"Oh, please let me keep it!" begged Ski, as his father caught up the Plush Bear.

"No! No! It would be dangerous! It would bring us bad luck! There is a witch in that bear!" murmured Ski's mother.

"Never have I seen such a thing!" went on Ski's father in awe and wonder. "We must not keep it! If we allowed it to stay in this igloo we should freeze, I should never catch any seals, and our blubber fat would become so hard we could not eat it. I must take this magic bear that moves back to the big igloo!"

So, though Ski begged his father to be allowed to keep the toy, the Eskimo man thrust the bear under his fur coat and crawled out of the igloo into the glow of the Northern Lights.

"I must take it back to the big igloo," murmured Ski's father. "Then will the bad magic pass away."

You see he did not know, never having seen such a toy before, and never having heard of machinery-Ski's father did not know what a delightful toy the Plush Bear was. All he thought of was bad luck and magic.

Quickly Ski's father hitched his team of dogs to the long, low wooden sled.

Crack! went the long whip over their heads, but the Eskimo man did not let the lash fall on the animals.

Over the snow and ice they drew the sled, on which Ski's father sat well wrapped in fur blankets. Nearer they came to the workshop of Santa Claus-the "big igloo" as Ski had called it.

"I will leave the magic bear that moves beneath one of the windows," murmured Ski's father. "Then will the bad luck pass from us."

He guided his dog team up under the very window out of which Ski had taken the bear, for the man could see Ski's footprints in the snow.

"There! Now I am done with you!" whispered Ski's father, as he dropped the Plush Bear in the snow and turned his dog team around to go back to his igloo.

As for the Plush Bear, his head moved, he growled, and his paws waved to and fro as long as the spring was wound up. But when it ran down, as it did in a little while, he was motionless. Except that now, as no one could see him, he was allowed to make believe come to life and could do as he pleased.

"Well, this is certainly a fine state of affairs!" said the Plush Bear to himself, speaking out loud, as there were no human ears to hear. "Taken away to an ice house, scaring an Eskimo family half to death, and then to be brought back here and dumped in a snow bank! It's a good thing I have on a warm plush coat, or I'd surely freeze! I wonder if I can get back into the shop?"

But this the Bear could not do. The window had been pulled down and shut by the Jumping Jacks, and the hole Ski had breathed in the icy pane was too small for the Plush Bear to crawl through, even if he could have reached it. He tried to call out, to make the toys inside hear him, so they might rescue him, but they had gone to sleep after their evening of fun.

So the Plush Bear had to stay out in the snow bank near the workshop of Santa Claus all night. It was cold and dreary, but he made the best of it.

"When morning comes they will take me in," he thought. "The night can not last forever."

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