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The Story of a Nodding Donkey Laura Lee Hope

The Flood

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"Look out there!" roared the Noah's Ark Lion.

"Here! What are you going to do?" snarled the Noah's Ark Tiger.

Of course neither of these animals made very much noise, being quite small, but they did the best they could.

"Come over by me, Mr. Nodding Donkey, if you are afraid!" called the Elephant through his trunk. He was the largest animal in the Noah's Ark, but even he was not as big as the Donkey. As for that nodding toy, he reared back on his hind legs when he saw the strange animal, covered with fur and with the big tail like a dustbrush, jump on the table. The toy animals could move and talk among themselves now, as long as no human being was in the room.

The furry animal stood on the table in the midst of the toys. He sat up on his hind legs and seemed to be eating something that he held in his forepaws.

"Are you a cat?" asked the Noah's Ark Camel, sort of making his two humps shiver.

"No, I'm not a cat," was the answer. "I am a Chattering Squirrel, and I am eating a nut. I live in a hollow tree just outside this house, and, seeing a window open and all you toys on the table, I jumped in to see what fun you were having."

"Oh, that's all right," said the Nodding Donkey politely. "We are glad to see you. But even I was scared, at first. We were just talking among ourselves while the lame boy is away. He was playing circus with us."

[Illustration: "We Are Glad to See You," Said the Nodding Donkey. _Page 73_]

"I know the lame boy," said the Chattering Squirrel. "He is very kind to me. He puts nuts out for me to eat. I am eating one now. Will you have a nibble?" and the squirrel held out the nut to the Nodding Donkey.

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"No, thank you; I don't eat nuts," returned the new toy.

"I eat other things, too," went on the Squirrel. "I take them right out of the lame boy's hand, and I never nip him, for I like him and he likes me. I am sorry he is lame."

"So am I," said the Nodding Donkey. "I felt sorry for him when he looked in the store window of Mr. Mugg's shop, and I nodded to him so that he smiled. But hush! Here he comes now!"

And this time it was the lame boy and his mother coming back into the room where the Nodding Donkey and the Noah's Ark toys had been left on the table. Instantly each toy became stark and stiff and no longer moved or spoke. But the Chattering Squirrel, not being a toy, could do as he pleased. So he frisked his tail and nibbled the nut.

"Oh, Mother! See! There is Frisky, my tame Squirrel!" cried Joe. "He must have come in through the window to see my Nodding Donkey. Hello, Frisky!" cried the lame boy, and then when he put down his hand the Chattering Squirrel scrambled across the table and let Joe rub his soft fur.

"I guess he is looking for something to eat," said Mrs. Richmond, with a smile. "He wants his supper, as you want yours, Joe, and as your father will, as soon as he gets home. You had better put away your toys now--your Nodding Donkey and the Noah's Ark animals--and get ready for supper. I think there are a few more nuts left which you may give Frisky."

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The Story of a Nodding Donkey
Laura Lee Hope

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