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The Story of a Nodding Donkey Laura Lee Hope

A Lonesome Donkey

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"What is the matter, Joe? What has happened?" asked Mrs. Richmond, hurrying downstairs, leaving her son's bed half made.

Mrs. Richmond, hurrying into the room where she had left Joe lying on the couch, saw him sitting up and holding his Nodding Donkey in his hands.

"Oh, look, Mother!" and Joe's voice sounded as if he might be going to cry. "Look what Frisky did to my Donkey! Knocked him off the shelf, and his left hind leg is broken."

"That is too bad," said Mrs. Richmond, but her face showed that she was glad it was not Joe who was hurt. "Yes, the Donkey's leg is broken," she went on, as she took the toy from her son. "Frisky, you are a bad squirrel to break Joe's Donkey!" and she shook her finger at the chattering little animal, who, perched on the shelf, was eating the nut the boy had given him.

"Oh, Mother! Frisky didn't mean to do it," said Joe. "It wasn't his fault. I guess the Nodding Donkey was too close to the edge of the shelf. But now his leg is broken, and I guess he'll have to go on crutches, the same as I do; won't he, Mother?"

The Nodding Donkey did not hear any of this. The pain in his leg was so great that he had fainted, though Joe and his mother did not know this. But the Donkey really had fainted.

"No, Joe," said Mrs. Richmond, after a while, "your Donkey will not have to go on crutches, and I hope the day will soon come when you can lay them aside."

"What do you mean, Mother?" Joe asked eagerly. "Do you think I will ever get better?"

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"We hope so," she answered softly. "In a few days you are going to a nice place, called a hospital, where you will go to sleep in a little white bed. Then the doctors will come and, when you wake up again, your legs may be nice and straight so, after a while, you can walk on them again without leaning on crutches."

"Oh, won't I be glad when that happens!" cried Joe, with shining eyes. "But what about my Nodding Donkey, Mother? Can I take him to the hospital and have him fixed, too, so he will not need crutches?"

"Well, we shall see about that," Mrs. Richmond said. "I'll tie his leg up now with a rag, and when your father comes home he may know how to fix it. I never heard of a donkey on crutches."

"I didn't either!" laughed Joe. He felt a little happier now, because he hoped he might be made well and strong again, and because he hoped his father could fix the broken leg of the Nodding Donkey.

Mrs. Richmond got a piece of cloth, and, straightening out the Donkey's leg as best she could, she tied it up. Then she put the toy far back on the shelf, laying it down on its side so it would not fall off again, or topple over.

Frisky scampered out of the window, back to his home in the hollow tree at the end of the yard. Frisky never knew what damage he had done. He was too eager to eat the nut Joe had given him.

"Now lie quietly here, Joe," his mother said. "I will soon have your bed ready for you, and then you can go to sleep."

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The Story of a Nodding Donkey
Laura Lee Hope

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