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What Happened To Dumps

from Boys And Girls Bookshelf - STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS





BY CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY


Once upon a time there was a queer little elf named Dumps, who lived
all by himself in a dark little house down in a valley. Ever since he
could remember, things had gone wrong with him.

He shivered in the cold and kicked the coal bucket when the fire
wouldn't burn. He howled when he stumbled over his own dinner pots that
he had left in the middle of the floor; and he stood in his front door
and scowled when other happy elves went by without speaking to him.

He and his family had lived like that for years. When any elf wanted to
describe something very sad he would say it was "Down in the Dumps."
And so Dumps went on without a single happy day.

But suddenly the elves decided to give a party. Oh, it was going to be
a very jolly party indeed, and Dumps heard about it. Almost every elf
who passed was whistling, or singing something cheerful. And some of
them carried their best green suits to the Wood Fairy's house to be
pressed. And when Dumps heard about the party, he cried so loud because
he knew he wouldn't be invited that the Wood Fairy heard him. The noise
disturbed her, and she went down to Dumps' house to see what was the
matter with him now.

"Tell me all about it, from the beginning, my dear," she said to poor
little Dumps.

"I can't see the sunshine!" Dumps howled.

"Of course, you can't," said the Wood Fairy. "Your windows are dirty.
Get some nice spring water in your little pail and wash them."

Dumps had never thought of doing that. When he washed the windows the
sunbeams streamed in like a golden ladder.

"Is there something else the matter?" the Wood Fairy asked.

"My fire won't burn, even though I kick the coal bucket every day,"
Dumps sobbed.

"Well, try blowing the fire," the Wood Fairy suggested.

Dumps had never thought of doing that. His bellows were stiff, but he
blew them very hard, and--crackle--there was a nice bright fire, and
his kettle began to sing!

"Is that all?" asked the Wood Fairy.

"Oh, no!" Dumps sighed, "The other elves are giving a party, and I'm
not invited."

"It is for all the elves, and you don't have to be invited," the Wood
Fairy said. "Stand up straight and let me brush your suit. Now run
along, my dear."

So Dumps started up the hill to the party, laughing all the way, for he
just couldn't help it. You see, he had so many years of being one of
the Dumps to make up for! He laughed until all his wrinkles were gone,
and he was puffed out with happiness. He started bees buzzing, and
grasshoppers fiddling, and crickets chirping.

"Who can this new, fat, cheerful elf be?" asked all the other elves,
as Dumps arrived at the party, turning a double-somersault into their
midst. "We are all here except Dumps, and of course this isn't he?"

Then Dumps showed them how he could turn back-somersaults, and make a
see-saw out of a rush leaf. He taught them how to play baseball with
white clover heads, and how to make a swing of braided grasses. He
surprised himself with all the good times he was able to think up.

"Of course, this isn't Dumps," the other elves decided. "His name must
be Delight." And Dumps never told them their mistake, for it wasn't
really a mistake at all. Now, was it?





Next: The Wreck Of The Hesperus

Previous: The Travels Of The Little Toy Soldier



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