CHAPTER I THE ELEPHANT AND THE MOUSE
"Oh, how large he is!"
"Isn't he? And such wonderfully strong legs!"
"See his trunk, too! Isn't it cute! And he is well stuffed! This is really one of the best toys that ever came into our shop, Geraldine; don't you think so?"
"Yes, Angelina. I must call father to come and look at him. He will make a lovely present for some boy or girl—I mean this Stuffed Elephant will make a lovely present, not our father!" and Miss Angelina Mugg smiled at her sister across the big packing box of Christmas toys they were opening in their father's store.
"Oh, no! Of course we wouldn't want father to be given away as a toy!" laughed Geraldine. "But this Stuffed Elephant—oh, I just love him!"
Miss Geraldine Mugg caught up the rather large toy animal and hugged it tightly in her arms.
"Be careful!" called her sister. "You may break him!"
"Oh, he's just a Stuffed Elephant!" laughed Geraldine. "I mean he hasn't any works inside him to wind up. He's just full of cotton! But I am beginning to like him more than I care for some of the toys that do wind up. I almost wish I were small again, so I could have this Elephant for myself!"
"He is nice," admitted Angelina.
"Well, I'm glad they like me," thought the Stuffed Elephant to himself, for just now he was not allowed to speak out loud or move around, as the Make Believe toys could do at certain times. But these times were when no eyes of boys, girls, men or women were looking.
It was mainly at night, after the store was closed for the day, that the toys had their fun—talking to one another, moving about, doing tricks, and the like of that. Now all that the Stuffed Elephant could do was to stand on his four sturdy legs, with his tail on one end, and his trunk, almost like a second tail, at the other end of his body.
He had two white tusks sticking out on either side of his trunk, and at first you might have thought these tusks were toothpicks. But they were not. An elephant's tusks are really teeth, grown extra long so he can dig up the roots of trees and the plants on which he feeds.
But a Stuffed Elephant doesn't dig with his tusks, of course. He never has to eat, being already stuffed, you know. And the Elephant in this story was well stuffed with cotton.
"I am sure this Elephant is going to be one of our very nicest Christmas toys," went on Miss Geraldine Mugg, as she lifted more playthings from the big box that had come from the workshop of Santa Claus at the North pole.
"Yes, I wish we had more like him," added Miss Angelina.
The two ladies helped their father, Mr. Horatio Mugg, in his toy store. It was a delightful place for children, and many a boy and girl would have been glad to stay all day in the "Mugg Toy Shop," as the big sign out in front named the place.
"Well, here are some more of those China Cats," went on Miss Geraldine, as she lifted some white pussies from the box.
"Oh, aren't they darling!" exclaimed her sister. "Do you remember the first China Cat we had?"
"Indeed I do!...