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Poor little doll.
From Very Short Stories by W K Clifford.
Start of Story
Age Rating 6 to 8.
It was a plain little doll that had been bought for sixpence at a stall
in the market-place. It had scanty hair and a weak composition face, a
calico body and foolish feet that always turned inwards instead of
outwards, and from which the sawdust now and then oozed. Yet in its
glass eyes there was an expression of amusement; they seemed to be
looking not at you but through you, and the pursed-up red lips were
always smiling at what the glass eyes saw.
"Well, you _are_ a doll," the boy said, looking up from his French
exercise. "And what are you staring at me for--is there anything
behind?" he asked, looking over his shoulder. The doll made no answer.
"And whatever are you smiling for?" he asked; "I believe you are always
smiling. I believe you'd go on if I didn't do my exercise till next
year, or if the cat died, or the monument tumbled down." But still the
doll smiled in silence, and the boy went on with his exercise.
Presently he looked up again and yawned. "I think I'll go for a
stroll," he said, and put his book by. "I know what I'll do," he said,
suddenly; "I'll take that doll and hang it up to the apple tree to
scare away the sparrows." And calling out, "Sis, I have taken your
doll; I'm going to make a scarecrow of it," he went off to the garden.
His sister rushed after him, crying out, "Oh, my poor doll! oh, my dear
little doll! What are you doing to it, you naughty boy?"
"It's so ugly," he said.
"No, it is not ugly," she cried.
"And it's so stupid,--it never does anything but smile,--it can't even
grow,--it never gets any bigger."
"Poor darling doll," Sis said, as she got it once more safely into her
arms, "of course you can't grow, but it is not your fault, they did not
make any tucks in you to let out."
"And it's so unfeeling. It went smiling away like anything when I could
not do my French."
"It has no heart. Of course it can't feel."
"Why hasn't it got a heart?"
"Because it isn't alive. You ought to be sorry for it, and very, very
kind to it, poor thing."
"Well, what is it always smiling for?"
"Because it is so good," answered Sis, bursting into tears. "It is
never bad-tempered; it never complains, and it never did anything
unkind," and, kissing it tenderly, "you are always good and sweet," she
said, "and always look smiling, though you must be very unhappy at not