“Oh dear, I am so lonely, and it is so dark! I do want my dear Dolly Dimple. I think I will go and fetch her.” And little four-year-old Babs got out of bed and felt her way to the door.
The door was just a wee crack open. As she peeped in, Babs saw that there was a light in the room, and the sight which met her eyes almost made her cry out.
On the floor stood Dolly Dimple in her very best frock, and Mr. Jollyman was asking her to dance with him. Teddy Bear was at work on the big drum, and the clown was turning the organ to make music for the dolls to dance to.
The tin soldiers, on the backs of cows, pigs, and sheep from the Noah’s Ark were having a sham fight. The dolls from the dolls’ house were going for a ride in the big horse and cart.
“It is too bad of them to go and have a good time like this when I am in bed,” thought Babs, “and I am going to take Dolly Dimple away with me all the same.”
But when she tried to pick up the doll and carry her off, Mr. Jollyman flew at her in a fury. He began to kick her bare legs till Babs thought she would have no shins left at all; but she would not run away.
“I want Dolly Dimple,” she said. “She is my doll, and you have no right to try to keep her away from me.”
“She is yours in the day, but not at night,” was the reply. “How do you think we toys could live if we had no life but the one we endure at your hands? It is in the night that we live and have our good times, for we know you are safe in bed then.”
“I don’t care what you say; I will have her!” cried Babs.
She tried once more to get hold of Dolly Dimple; but before she could do so, Mr. Jollyman turned to the soldiers, and said the one word, “Charge.”
There was a great noise and a rush, and right down upon the little girl came camels, horses, lions, tigers, sheep, and pigs. But just as she thought she would be stuck under all those toys, she heard, the word “Halt,” and then the sound of Dolly Dimple saying, “No, don’t hurt her. She is very good to me most of the time.”
The rest of the dolls had begun to dance once more, but Dolly Dimple came up to the little girl and took hold of her arm.
“I am queen here in the night,” she said. “I will not hurt you, as you have been good to me, and I know you love me. If you like, I will come and stay with you till you go to sleep. Pick me up.”
So Babs picked up the doll, and took it back to bed with her, and hugged it in her arms.
Short story for children by F. Tapsell, Edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie, Edward Everett Hale, and William Byron Forbush
Illustration by Boomingpie
Let’s Chat About The Stories ~ Ideas for Talking With Kids
1. What kinds of things do you think your favourite toys do in the night time when you’re asleep?