The Travels Of The Little Toy Soldier
: STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS
: Boys And Girls Bookshelf
BY CAROLYN SHERWIN BAILEY
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