The Travels Of The Little Toy Soldier

: Boys And Girls Bookshelf


He was the largest and the best dressed and the bravest looking of all

the toy soldiers in the toy shop. Some of the toy soldiers were made of

paper, and these tore easily if they even tried to drill. Some of the

toy soldiers were made of tin, and these bent if they had an encounter.

But this toy soldier, who stood head and shoulders above the others,

as made of wood. He had once been part of a great pine tree that stood

in the forest, and his heart was as brave and true as the heart of the


His trousers were painted green, with yellow stripes; and his jacket

was painted red, with gold buttons. He wore a painted blue cap upon the

side of his head, with a band that went under his chin, and he carried

a wooden gun in one arm. He could stand alone, for his wooden legs were

glued to a block of wood, and his eyes were black and shining, and his

mouth was painted in a smile.

When the Toy Soldier went from the toy shop to live in Gregory's house

the little boy thought that he had never seen such a fine soldier in

his life. He made him captain of all the soldier ninepins and guard of

the toy train, and he took him to bed with him at night. Then, one day,

James, who lived next door and was Gregory's neighbor, came over to

play with Gregory.

"What a nice Toy Soldier!" James said.

"Yes, he's mine," Gregory said.

"May I play with him?" James asked.

"No, I said he was my Toy Soldier," Gregory answered.

"Then I'll take him," James said.

"I won't let you," Gregory said.

Then the two little boys began pulling the Toy Soldier to see which

could get him away from the other, and the Toy Soldier did not like it

at all. He was fond of a good battle, but not of a quarrel. He decided

that he would not stay in a house where there was a quarrelsome boy,

and so he tumbled out of a window that was close by and fell, down,

down, to the street below.

The Toy Soldier had not lain long on the sidewalk when Harold passed by

and picked him up.

"I wanted a toy soldier and here is the finest one I ever saw," Harold

said; and he slipped the soldier inside his coat and started on, for he

was going to school. The Toy Soldier lay close to Harold's watch that

was tick, tick, ticking the time away, but Harold loitered, and at last

he stopped to play a game of marbles with another little boy whom he

met. "I don't care if I am late for school," he said.

"Oho!" thought the Toy Soldier, and as the two little boys played he

dropped out from under Harold's coat and into the gutter. When Harold

reached school, late, the Toy Soldier was gone.

Joe found the Toy Soldier in the gutter and ran home with him to his


"I have a Toy Soldier!" he said.

"How brave he looks," said Joe's mother.

All the rest of the day the Toy Soldier went about with Joe and

listened to what he said and watched what he did.

"I can't go to the grocer's; I'm afraid of his dog."

"I can't put in that nail. I am afraid that the hammer will slip and

hit my finger." This was what the Toy Soldier heard.

Then it was Joe's bedtime, and the Toy Soldier went upstairs with him

to bed, but Joe cried all the way.

"I'm afraid of the dark!" he said.

When Joe was asleep the Toy Soldier slipped out of his hand and fell

into a scrap basket. He knew very well that he couldn't stay with a

child who was a coward.

No one saw the Toy Soldier when the basket was emptied in the morning.

He went with the scraps into a huge bag, and then into a wagon, and

then into a factory where men sorted the cloth to make it into paper.

One of these men found the Toy Soldier and took him home to his little

boy, who was lame and had to stay alone all day.

"Has it been a good day, John?" his father asked.

"Oh, yes!" laughed John as he hugged the Toy Soldier.

"You have my supper ready just in time," his father said, watching the

soup bubbling in a shining pot on the stove.

"And I cleaned a little and set the table," John said.

"Has your back hurt you very much to-day?" asked his father.

"A little, but I don't mind that," John said. "See how fine the Toy

Soldier looks standing on the table!"

"Oho!" thought the Toy Soldier, "now I have found a place where I can

stay. Here is another soldier, cheerful and willing to work, and