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   Chapter 4 IN THE TOY SHOP

The Story of a Plush Bear By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 11306

Updated: 2017-11-30 00:04


Slowly the night passed. Well it was for the Plush Bear that he was warmly clad in such a warm coat, or he might have been frozen stiff. As it was, his wheels and springs had to be oiled several times after his long night spent in a snowdrift.

In the morning Santa Claus and his men hurried into the workshop after breakfast. There was a hum and a bustle, whistling and singing, and the sound of many tools being used.

"Lively, my merry men, lively!" cried Santa Claus, with a laugh, as he passed from bench to bench. "I will soon make a trip to Earth, and I shall need many toys to take with me. I want a big bagful to load into my sleigh. My reindeer are waiting. All I need is toys-more toys-all the toys you can make!"

"You shall have them, Santa Claus! You shall have them!" cried the merry little men, and they began to work as fast as they could.

At one of the benches Santa Claus observed a little man looking about as though in search of something. The little man moved his tools to one side, he shifted toys here and there, and then he looked under his bench.

"What are you looking for?" asked Santa Claus, as he passed up and down the aisles.

"Why, yesterday, I finished a fine Plush Bear," answered the workman. "I set it over here, but now it is gone. You did not take it to Earth, did you?"

"Oh, no," answered Santa Claus. "I have not been to Earth for some time. But I am going soon again. Ha! I know what may have happened," he said suddenly. "The windows were open yesterday. The Plush Bear may have fallen out of the window!"

It did not take the workman more than an instant to raise the sash and poke out his head. He looked down into the bank of snow under the window.

"Here he is!" he cried. "Just as you thought, Santa Claus, the Plush Bear fell out of the window! He isn't hurt a bit! I'll get him back again. Ho! Ho! My Plush Bear fell out of the window!"

Of course this didn't happen at all, but it was the only way Santa Claus and his men could think of the accident having happened. But we know about the little Eskimo boy, and how his father left the Plush Bear in the snow bank.

"There you are!" said the toy workman as he came in with the Plush Bear and set him on the bench again. "I'm glad to get you back. Only for your warm coat you might have frozen. I must see if you work all right."

But the cold had chilled the wheels and springs inside the Plush Bear, and it was not until after some warm oil had been poured on them that they worked properly again. Then, when the Plush Bear was wound up, he could growl, wag his head, and wave his paws as well as ever.

"Once more you are ready to go down to Earth, as soon as Santa Claus is ready to take you," said the workman, as he started to make a toy fire engine that, some day, would gladden the heart of a lucky boy.

As for the other toys in Santa Claus' shop, they had been very much surprised to see the Plush Bear brought back into their midst again. But while Saint Nicholas and his helpers were around, nothing could be said, no questions could be asked, and Plush Bear could tell none of his adventures.

But when night came again, and the Northern Lights glowed, when the janitor had mended the hole in the ice pane, breathed on by the Eskimo boy, when all was still and quiet, the Flannel Pig leaned over toward the Plush Bear and whispered:

"Where were you? What happened? Did you try to run away?"

"Indeed I did not run away! Some one ran away with me! An Eskimo boy, and he took me to his igloo, but his father would not let him keep me because he thought I was magic and would bring him bad luck," answered the Plush Bear.

"My, what marvelous adventures!" exclaimed the Wax Doll, who was fond of using big words. "Please tell us all about it."

"Yes, do," growled the Polar Bear. "And after that we can have a somersault race. You missed it last night. We thought you had fallen out of the window."

"I'll tell you of my adventures," said the Plush Bear, and he did, from the time Ski took him away until the workman found him in the snow bank.

"I told you his adventures would be marvelous," said the Wax Doll. "Nothing as strange will happen to you when you are taken to Earth, Mr. Plush Bear."

But just wait and see. You never can tell what is going to happen, and the Plush Bear may have even more strange adventures.

That night in the shop of Santa Claus passed all too soon for the Plush Bear. When he had finished telling his story the Flannel Pig cried:

"Let's have a game of tag!"

"All right! I'll be it!" agreed a Jumping Jack, and he was such a lively fellow that in less than a second he had tagged an Elephant. The Elephant was so large and such a slow chap that he was it for a long time. He could hardly tag any one, not even the Plush Bear and the Polar Bear, who, also being large animal toys, had to move slowly. But they were not as slow as the Elephant.

"Oh, this is no fun!" said the Elephant after a while. "I can't catch any of you! Let's play hide and go seek! I'll have some chance in that game!"

So they played that, and told stories and sang songs until it was almost morning, and time for Santa Claus and his men to open the shop again. Then the toys became quiet, as usual.

That day Saint Nicholas walked up and down among the benches and spoke to his workmen.

"I will go to Earth to-morrow," said Santa Claus. "Get ready all the toys you can, and I will fill my sleigh. I will load it to-night."

And the toys who heard this were very much excited, wondering who would be taken and who would be left.

"I'll take this Plush Bear!" said San

ta Claus that evening, as he began selecting the toys he wanted for his sack to take to Earth. "And I'll take the Wax Doll, the Flannel Pig, and the Elephant. I want a lot of other dolls, plenty of drums, some Jumping Jacks, some Jacks in the Box, some toy soldiers, some toy engines, trains of cars, toy guns and enough more to fill my sack to running over. It is so near Christmas that I need all the toys I can pile into my sleigh."

The Plush Bear was lifted off the bench by one of the workmen and put in a box, after being wrapped in tissue paper.

"I hope they don't smother me!" thought the Bear, but he need not have been afraid. His last glimpse was of the Wax Doll. She, too, was well wrapped and placed in a box so her complexion would not be spoiled.

"I did hope I'd have a chance to bid farewell to the toys that are left," thought the Plush Bear, as he was placed in the sleigh of Santa Claus. "But some of them are coming with me, that's a comfort. We shall not have room to move around, though, and hardly a chance to talk on our trip to the Earth. However, I suppose it cannot be helped. This is part of our adventures in life."

A little later there was a merry jingle of bells, and Santa Claus could be heard calling:

"Hi, Prancer! Steady there, Dashaway! Wait a minute, Comet!"

"Those are the reindeer," whispered the Wax Doll, through the side of her box to the Plush Bear in his box.

"I supposed so," was the answer. "I hope I am not made seasick on this voyage through the air."

"Seasick! The idea! The sleigh of Santa Claus is not a boat!" squealed the Flannel Pig.

Then the sack of toys was lifted up and put in the sleigh. The reindeer shook their heads, making the bells jingle more merrily than ever. There came a jolly laugh from Santa Claus, and then he cried:

"Away we go! Over the ice! Over the snow! Down to the Earth below!"

And a moment later the Plush Bear and the other toys found themselves being swiftly carried through the cold air. But they were snug and warm in the sleigh of Santa Claus.

Of all the things that happened to the Plush Bear and the other toys on their trip from the shop of Santa Claus to Earth I have not room to tell you here. Enough to say that, unlike the Nodding Donkey, they suffered no accident. None of them was tossed out into a drift of snow. Then, finally, the big sack of toys was left at one of the many big buildings on Earth, whence they were to be divided among the toy shops.

And one day, after having been cooped up in his box for a long time, so, at least, it seemed to him, the Plush Bear's eyes were suddenly dazzled by a flash of light.

"I wonder if I am back at the North Pole," he thought. "Has that Eskimo boy caught me again, and is he taking me to his igloo? Are these Northern Lights that flash in front of me?"

But they were not, though they came from the same cause-electricity. The glare that dazzled the eyes of the Plush Bear came from the electric lights of a large store, where he was being unpacked, together with other toys. There was a rustle of paper as the Plush Bear was unwrapped, and then a voice cried:

"Oh, Father, see what a fine toy! And it's the kind you wind up! Oh, I shall love this Plush Bear!"

"Do not squeeze him too tightly, Angelina," said a white-haired and white-whiskered old man, who was helping two women lift the toys out of the big box in which they had come. "You may break some of the wheels or springs."

"Oh, I shan't hug him too tightly," said Angelina, laughing. "But he is certainly a lovely Plush Bear."

"Yes, he is very nice," said the old gentleman. "What have you, Geraldine?" he asked his other daughter.

"An Elephant," was the answer. "But he doesn't wind up. However, he will look well in the window."

"Yes," said the old man, "to-morrow we will decorate the show windows for the Christmas trade. The Plush Bear must surely stand in the window. Some one will see him and buy him."

"Well, at last I seem to have reached a toy shop-the very place I most wanted to come to," thought the Plush Bear. "I wonder who the old gentleman is?"

Had the Plush Bear been able to read he would have seen in white letters on one of the windows the name:

HORATIO MUGG

TOY DEALER

But the Plush Bear did not need this to tell him he was in the very place he wished to be.

"Now some girl or boy will buy me, I hope, and I shall have more adventures," thought the new toy.

The Plush Bear, who was taken from his box by Angelina, one of Mr. Mugg's daughters, was placed safely on a shelf, and the unpacking of the toys went on. It was evening, and the store was closed for the day. But Mr. Mugg took this time to open his new shipment of Christmas goods.

Geraldine had just lifted out the Wax Doll, and the Plush Bear was wondering when he would have a chance to talk to her and his other friends from the shop of Santa Claus when, all of a sudden, from the rear of the toy store, which was in darkness, came a strange sound.

There was a banging, slamming noise, then several bumps, and finally a loud whistle.

"Goodness; what's that?" exclaimed Angelina.

"I hope that isn't a policeman whistling, to tell us there is another fire!" said Geraldine.

"Or that burglars are trying to break in to take the new toys," added her sister.

They looked at their father, who laid down a Noah's Ark he was just looking at and started toward the back of the store. As he did so the noise became louder; bumping, banging, crashing, and above it all sounded the shrill toot-toot of whistles.

"Dear me, what is happening?" thought the Plush Bear.

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