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The Story of a Nodding Donkey Laura Lee Hope

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"Now I will pretend that this table is the circus ring," said Joe, talking to himself, as he often did. "I will put the Nodding Donkey in the middle and all the other animals around him. Then I'll be the Ringmaster and make believe they are doing tricks."

So Joe put the Nodding Donkey in the very center of the table, where the new toy bobbed his head up and down and sidewise, just as he had done in the store of Mr. Mugg and in the workshop of Santa Claus.

"Now comes the Tiger," said Joe, going on with his circus play, and he set that striped animal down near the Donkey. "And then the Lion. I hope they don't bite my new Donkey."

But the Noah's Ark animals were very good and kind, and they did not so much as open their mouths at the Nodding Donkey. Joe played away and had lots of fun at his pretend circus, while his mother got the supper ready. Once when she came into the room where the lame boy sat at the table, Mrs. Richmond said:

"I just saw some friends of yours going past, Joe."

"Who were they?" asked Joe.

"Arnold and Sidney," was the answer. "Arnold had his Bold Tin Soldier, and Sidney was carrying his Calico Clown."

"Oh, I want to see them!" cried Joe. "They have such fun with their toys, and I want them to come in and see mine."

"I'm afraid it is too late--they have gone on home," answered Mrs. Richmond, but Joe took his crutches, which stood near his chair, and hobbled into the front room, where he could look out in the street to see the boys of whom his mother had spoken.

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The Nodding Donkey was left on the table with the other animals from the Noah's Ark. As Mrs. Richmond, as well as Joe, was out of the room, and there was no one to look at them, the animals could do as they pleased.

"How do you do?" politely asked the Lion. "We are glad you have come to live here, Mr. Nodding Donkey. But where is the Noah's Ark that you belong in? It must be very large."

"I did not come out of a Noah's Ark," the Donkey answered, with a friendly nod of his head. "I came first from the workshop of Santa Claus, at the North Pole, and just now I came from a toy store."

"Yes, we, too, were in each of those places, years ago," said the Tiger. "But we have belonged to the little lame boy for a long while. He is very good to us, and you will like it here."

"I heard the boy's mother speak of a Bold Tin Soldier and a Calico Clown," said the Donkey. "Do they belong here?"

"No; they are toys that belong to boys who sometimes come to play with Joe," answered the Elephant. "Then we have jolly times! You ought to see that Calico Clown! He is so funny! And you ought to hear him tell about the time in the toy store when his trousers caught fire!"

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The Story of a Nodding Donkey
Laura Lee Hope

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