The Smallest Doll

In selecting a present for his little daughter, what do you think they chose? The smallest doll, the one that could stand alone though she was no longer than a finger.

“Little girls love little dolls,” said the Toy-Lady. “They can make so many things for them.”

What she said was every word true. As soon as the little daughter saw the smallest doll, she loved her, and that very day she began to make things for her.

The first thing that she made was a dress, out of a scrap left from her own Sunday dress, which was white and green and glossy. Mother measured the cloth for her, and then the little girl cut one edge into points like trimming. She cut the arm-holes, too, with a snip here and a snip there, and ran a gathering thread at the top of the cloth; and do you believe it? The dress was finished! It fitted exactly, and the smallest doll looked beautiful in it, you may be sure.

The little girl liked dressmaking so well that she did not stop with one dress. The smallest doll soon had a trunk full of clothes. The trunk was a spool-box, and you would have been surprised to see how many doll-dresses it could hold.

And what do you think? The little girl borrowed a bath-tub from her Mother’s canary and bathed the smallest doll every day before she dressed her. The doll was always as neat and clean as a new pin, or a new needle for that matter.

Then the little girl made a doll-bed, a four-poster doll-bed. Her mother drew the patterns for the head and the foot on a piece of pasteboard, and the little girl cut them out and glued one on each end of a jeweler’s box that had held her mother’s breast-pin. The blue cotton that was in the box made a soft mattress, and the coverlet was a bit of blue satin ribbon. Every night before the little girl went to bed herself, she put the smallest doll to bed and tucked the cover around her very carefully.

Mother and she made a doll-carriage, too, with a top and four wheels held on with paper fasteners that Father gave her. It took only half a box for the carriage and half a box for the top, and the wheels were round pieces of pasteboard.

When the carriage was finished and a long string tied at one end to pull it by, the smallest doll rode in it to visit the little girl’s grandmother.

Grandmother was astonished and pleased, too, when she saw the tiny doll in her fine carriage.

“Has she a house to live in?” she asked the little girl.

“No,” said the little girl. “She has a bed to sleep in and a trunk to keep her clothes in and a carriage to ride in, but she hasn’t any house.”

“Well,” said Grandmother, “when I was a little girl and had a little doll, I made her a house out of a shoe-box, and I thought perhaps you had made one for your doll.”

Of course, when the little girl heard this, nothing would do but that she must make a doll-house. She asked her mother for a shoe-box as soon as she got home.

Grandmother’s doll-house had had windows, so Father cut windows with his pocket-knife in the little girl’s house.

She wanted everything like Grandmother’s, and she called her over the telephone to ask about the wall-paper; what kind did she have?

“Pink with tiny green leaves all over it. I drew them myself,” said Grandmother.

So the little girl drew green leaves on pink paper for her walls. Father got the pink paper at the printer’s.

When she had pasted it in the box, she made a beautiful paper rug with a border and fringe for the floor, and then she set to work on the furniture. She had the bed already, so now she made a table out of a round piece of cardboard glued on top of an empty spool; and a sofa from a stiff piece of paper folded to make a seat and a back, and with little spools for the legs.

The smallest doll never sat down, but Grandmother had had a sofa.

“Did you have chairs?” telephoned the little girl.

But no, there had been no room in Grandmother’s house for chairs. There was no room in the little girl’s house, either.

When everything was finished, and in its place, and the smallest doll was bathed and dressed in her very best clothes all ready for company, Grandmother came to see the new house. Of course, this was just what the little girl had hoped she would do.

“Is it as pretty as yours?” she asked.

Oh, yes, it was every bit as pretty as Grandmother’s; and perhaps a little prettier.

“And is my doll like your doll?” asked the little girl.

“Enough like her to show that she belongs to the same family,” said Grandmother, “but not so much that you couldn’t tell the two apart.”

“What else did you make for your doll?” asked the little girl.

But whether Grandmother had made anything else or not, you will have to imagine; for we have come to the end of the story.

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