GOOD NIGHT

The suggestion of the little old dame in reference to Rolie Polie came
just in the nick of time. Tommy enjoyed very much being a King, and
Helen found no less pleasure in being a Queen; but the day had been so
full of excitement that both were feeling tired.

It was now drawing towards the close of the afternoon and Helen began
to realize that, although it was delightful to be a Queen daytimes, the
going down of the sun at the approach of evening made nothing quite so
nice as her home and her mamma. This, I am told, is a truth that has
also come to many another little girl.

“Your Majesty,” she then said to King Tommy, “do you think it is almost
time to start on our return journey?” {152}

“Yes, I do,” answered Tommy. “And, Helen, now that I am a King myself,
I need not hunt for the Fairy King to get riches for the kind lady in
the hills. I am sure the Toy people will allow me to take some of their
treasure.”

“Yes, I am sure they will,” said Helen, “because they will want to make
the kind lady happy.”

“I will go at once and find Mr. Poodle,” said Tommy. Then a look of
trouble came into his happy face and he added; “What do you think the
Toy people will do without a King and Queen when they are threatened by
the ruffians of Grumbletown? Perhaps there will be an attack to-night.
Do you think I should remain here and be their protector, Helen? Of
course you must go home, for if you are late, your mamma will worry.”

Mr. Poodle stood not far away and overheard this talk.

“You need not fear an attack from Grumbletown, at night,” said he,
laughing. “Why, King Red Beard and his subjects are such ‘fraid cats’
of the dark, that they never stir out of their houses after sunset.
Then, too, they had such a fright to-day, I do not believe they will
ever again come to Toyville.”

It was at this moment that the return of Rolie Polie called forth the
words of praise from the little old dame.

A bright idea then came to the King, and he hurried off to see his
Prime Minister. “Assemble the Lords and Nobles in the Throne Room,” he
said to that gentleman, as soon as he had found him.

The Prime Minister hurried to obey the King’s command.

A few moments later, when his Majesty stepped upon his Golden Throne,
he found such a gathering of the noblest in the land, as any King might
be proud to see. {153}

“My beloved subjects,” he said, “your Queen and your King have ruled
over this happy and joyous realm of Toyville as wisely and as loyally
as has been within their power. It is now time for us to depart for
our home over the hills. We both wish that some person worthy of your
trust could occupy the throne in our absence; some one to bear the
title, First Assistant King, and we would suggest for this high and
responsible position, the brave and clever guard, Mr. Rolie Polie.”
Then the King seated himself beside his Queen on the Golden Throne.

In a moment the Mayor was on his feet. “Three cheers for Rolie Polie!
Three cheers for the First Assistant King!” he cried, and the answer
came long and loud.

Rolie Polie was taken completely by surprise, and knew not what to say.
Mr. Poodle also was taken by surprise, but being a man of experience,
he was not embarrassed, and told the people he thought their choice was
wise.

“Order out the Royal Guard of Honor,” was the message the Mayor now
sent to the General of the army. So, not until the little company
reached the big gate at the top of the curly road did the time arrive
to say good-bye, for in addition to being accompanied by the Royal
Guard, their escort included every notable in Toyville.

“Good-bye, your Majesties, good-bye Mr. Poodle,” said Rolie, shaking
their hands warmly. Then he added: “I will be a good King and do my
best.”

“We know you will,” answered Tommy.

“Yes,” said Mr. Poodle, “do your best, Rolie Polie, then you will win,
for that is the way to get on in the world.”

These were the last words spoken as the little company passed through
the gates and the big cannon boomed {154} out a parting salute. The
sun was now low in the sky, casting a golden glow along the path, and
making blue shadows gather in the valley.

They had not ridden long, when Mr. Poodle said: “Here we are at home;”
and sure enough, as he spoke, Coal Black and Snow White went galloping
into Mr. Poodle’s back garden and over the threshold into the toy shop.

“Do you think Rolie Polie will get along all right, Mr. Poodle?” asked
Tommy, as they were bidding good night to the toy maker.

“O, yes,” said Mr. Poodle. “Nobody need worry about a King who has
Mother Goose near his throne to help him in his ruling.”

“Mother Goose?” repeated Tommy, wonderingly. “Is Mother Goose in
Toyville?” “O, yes,” answered Mr. Poodle, “she was the little old dame
who led us out of the garden and saved our being captured by Red Beard.
And, by the way, Mother Goose said that she hoped on our next journey,
we would continue through the Valley of Happiness, until we came to her
realm, where she promised there would be awaiting us the finest kind of
a good time.”

“O, Tommy, isn’t Mr. Poodle kind to us!” said Helen, her eyes moist
with little pearls of happiness. Tommy’s lips trembled when he tried to
reply. Mr. Poodle was such a clever man, though, that I guess he knew
what kind of a lump had swelled up in Tommy’s throat, for he didn’t say
one single word, but held out both his arms, and in a second there were
his playmates hugging him so tightly that it was almost as much as he
could do to breathe.

The sun had been up some hours when Tommy awoke in his little bed
at the toymaker’s the next day. Then, oh my, what a surprise he did
have! for the moment he opened his eyes, they looked right into the
loveliest, sweetest eyes in all the world; and he knew that those eyes
belonged to—his dear mother.

Yes, Tommy’s own dear mother was leaning over his little bed in Peter
Poodle’s toy shop. She hugged him ever and ever so tight, and there
were happy tears in her eyes. And, on the other side of the bed,
was—his father!

All in a pop, Tommy’s memory had come back to him; the memory that went
away when he was so sick at the wood-chopper’s house in the hills.

Tommy didn’t know how his father and mother happened to be in Peter
Poodle’s toy shop, and he was too happy to try and think. Then he
remembered that his {158} name wasn’t Tommy. “Oh, Mr. Poodle,” he
said, as he saw the little toy maker come into the room, “I am not a
King any more, because my father is the King. But I am a Prince, Mr.
Poodle, and my name is Arthur.”

“Yes, indeed, you are a Prince,” said Mr. Poodle, “and sometime you
will be King.”

A troubled look now came into Prince Arthur’s eyes. “Will the Toy
people love me when I am a real King, Mr. Poodle?” he asked; “and will
they have me for their King, too? Because I like to be the King of
Toyville, and I want to drive away the King of Grumbletown.”

“Toy people will always love you,” said Mr. Poodle, “because you are
always very kind to them; and when you are a real King, you can ask all
the children to be kind to their toys, and then, pretty soon, there
won’t be any more Grumbletown, because no toys will go there.”

“That is what I will do the very first day I am King,” said the Prince.
“And now I will get up and send the Toyville treasure to the kind lady
in the hills.”

“No need to do that, dear,” said his mother. “The wood chopper and his
good wife are right here, and no longer poor, for the King has rewarded
their care of his boy.”

The Prince looked across the room, and there, sure enough, was the kind
lady, and the wood chopper who now wore a uniform of the King’s Royal
House Guard.

Although the Prince felt tired, from his long journey to Toyville, he
quickly jumped out of bed, and the next minute was giving the kind lady
a big hug. Then he dressed, and by that time Helen came to play with
him.

“I am not a King any more,” he said to Helen, “because, you see, I am
only a King’s son. But I am a Prince, and {159} my name is Arthur. You
may call me Tommy, though, if you wish. Some time I am going to be a
King, and then will you be my Queen, Helen?”

“Yes, I will,” said Helen, “and I am going to call you Arthur, because
that is your really truly name. I wish you would come and play now.
I have brought you Captain Pinkle and Captain Poddle, but I couldn’t
bring Rolie Polie, because he is not here any more.”

“Oh, no,” answered the Prince, “it wouldn’t be right for Rolie Polie to
come, because he must stay and be King in Toyville. Thank you, Helen,
for bringing Captain Pinkle and Captain Poddle. Why, this is the same
box I carried to the Black Lion! Did the bad men send it to Mr. Poodle?”

“The bad men were captured by the King’s soldiers and are now in
prison,” answered the Queen. “Thanks to the wood chopper’s good wife,
who followed you in your long tramp through the hills, we have our boy
again, and those who stole him away are punished.”

The Prince did not play very hard that afternoon, and by and by he said
to Helen: “I do not know why going to Toyville has made me so tired,
but I suppose being a King is hard work. Do you think it is, Helen?”

“Yes, I do,” said Helen. “I think being a King is very hard, and takes
a big man like your papa. But some time you will be a big man, and then
being a King won’t make you tired any more.”

This happy time of their playing passed all too hurriedly for Helen,
who hardly realized its ending before she found herself saying goodbye
to her little playmate.

“You will come and see me soon, won’t you Helen?” said the Prince, his
lips trembling. “Come very soon {160} Helen, because I want a little
girl to play with and to go with me on journeys; and O, Helen, now I
have a mamma of my own, and perhaps she will read us stories.”

“Yes, indeed, I will read stories to you,” said the Queen, turning from
talking earnestly with Helen’s mamma, who had come to say goodbye to
the Prince, “and Helen is coming to see us very, very soon.”

Then the goodbys were all said, and amidst the cheering of the
townspeople who were lining the streets outside the toyshop, the King
and Queen, accompanied by the Royal House Guards, bore the Prince away
to his new home in the Castle among the hills.

That evening when Helen had been tucked snugly in her little bed, she
said: “Mamma, how did Prince Arthur get lost; did somebody steal him
away from his home?”

“Yes, dear,” said Helen’s mamma. Then she snuggled down on the bed and
hugging Helen close, told her how, a while ago, the young Prince had
been stolen away by the ruffians and left in the forest where he was
found by the good wood chopper.

“Was the Prince ill when he was found?” asked Helen.

“Yes, dear,” answered her mamma, “the Prince was so ill that, when the
fever left him, it took away his memory, and he did not know that he
was a King’s son.”

“Did the wood chopper know that the little boy he found was a Prince,
mamma?”

“No,” said her mamma; “the wicked men had dressed the Prince in ragged
clothes when they left him in the forest to starve, and he did not look
at all like a Prince.”

“How did the King ever find the Prince?” asked Helen. “Did he go to the
wood chopper’s house, mamma?” {161}

“No, dear, he was hunting everywhere for some trace of his lost boy,
and the wood chopper’s wife was hunting too, and she had followed the
Prince almost to this city. Then one day the King met her, and he knew
from what she told him that his Arthur was alive; so he came riding
with his soldiers as fast as ever he could and saw the little Prince
just as he entered the Black Lion Inn. Now dear, it is time for my
little girl to go to sleep!”

But Helen wasn’t one bit sleepy. “Why was the Prince stolen away,
mamma?” she asked.

“I do not know,” answered her mamma. “Some people say that the King’s
brother, Duke Robert, who is called Robert the Red, had him stolen so
his own son would be heir to the throne, but no one knows this for
certain. If Robert the Red did have him taken away, he never can steal
him again, because the King has made the wood chopper the Prince’s own
special guard, and he and his good wife will now live in the Castle.”

“Robert the Red was a wicked man to steal away the Prince, wasn’t he,
mamma!” said Helen. “Will the Prince be a King some day, mamma, and
will he come for me and make me a Queen, like he said?”

“Listen,” said Helen’s mamma, “there is Grandpapa calling me. Good
night, little Wideawake.” Then she gave Helen a hug, and turning the
light low, left the room.

“Mamma didn’t answer my question,” thought Helen. “But never mind, I
know he will, because Tommy said he would,—Prince Arthur, I mean.” Then
she closed her eyes and soon was fast asleep.

{162}

[Illustration: The Sign

Peter Poodle

TOY MAKER TO THE KING]

{163}

_THE CONCLUSION._

Over the front door of Peter Poodle’s shop there now hangs a big and
comical sign on which is painted a chubby little soldier with a red
coat and a black hat. Right over the soldier, in black letters with
curly red capitals, appears the name _Peter Poodle_, and beneath the
soldier are the words, _Toy Maker to the King_. This is how it happened:

One day a big wagon drove up in front of Peter Poodle’s shop; in it
there was a large, flat, wooden box, sealed with the Royal Coat of
Arms. “Does Mr. Poodle live here?” asked the driver. “Yes,” answered
the toy maker.

The next minute, much to the surprise of the little man, he saw the
big box being deposited right in the middle of the floor of his shop.
Mr. Poodle unscrewed the lid with trembling fingers. Inside, packed
carefully, so it would not receive a single scratch, was the beautiful
sign. With the sign also came a great parchment, signed and sealed with
the Royal Arms. On this parchment were letters telling how Mr. Poodle
had been made Toy Maker to the King.

While Mr. Poodle was folding up the papers and wrappings that had come
about the sign, so as to put them all away neatly, a little envelope
dropped to the floor. This likewise bore the Royal Seal, and when Mr.
Poodle had it open, he found a very kind note from the Queen ordering
ever and ever so many toys for the Prince. It also contained an
invitation for Mr. Poodle to come and visit at the Castle, together
with a kind message from the Prince. {164}

And now my story is at an end. I hope you will agree with me that
Peter Poodle received what really was no more than he deserved, which,
indeed, is but the very truth; for a finer little man it would be hard
to find, as you surely would say could you know him as well as I do.

[Illustration] * * * * *

What became of Rolie Polie? Did the little clown make a good King? Did
Helen go to visit the Prince? And did they ever return to Toyville?

Lucky those questions were asked so quickly, for the ink upon my pen
was almost dry and I had drawn my chair to the fire for a little snooze
before dinner.

Yes, Helen visited the Prince, and with Mr. Poodle the two made many
more trips to Toyville, and to the Realm of Mother Goose. Of course,
after the Prince had been away for so long a time the King and Queen
wanted to have him in the Castle near them always, but bye and bye,
when Mr. Poodle came with the toys the Queen had ordered, and brought
Helen with him, the Queen very kindly gave her consent to another trip
to Toyville.

Much to their surprise, upon again entering the Valley of Happiness,
they found the Realm to be ruled not by Rolie Polie, but by King
Hans the First, called by some King Hans the Happy, and by others
Happy Hans. However, their surprise and wonder were soon dispelled
by the Mayor, who told Mr. Poodle how, at the first meeting of the
councillors following the departure of King Tommy and Queen Helen, it
had been suggested that the name Rolie Polie, while being a fine one
for a clown, really seemed too frivolous for a King, so by an act of
Parliament it was changed to Hans the First. {165}

Mr. Poodle highly commended this action, and then asked if the rule of
Hans the First had been a happy one.

The Mayor laughed merrily at that question. “Indeed it has,” said he;
“but you may see for yourself, as the Court Historian has recorded it
all in a big book.”

[Illustration]

Sure enough, when they reached the Castle there was the big book and on
the cover were letters spelling words which read: _A Most Marvellous
History, Wherein is Recorded the Strange and Wonderous Happenings of
Happy Hans_. {166}

Mr. Poodle has often, since then, read all of that history to Helen and
Tommy, and with them has had many a good laugh over its merry tales.
I, too, have enjoyed a laugh over those quaint pages, for Mr. Poodle
brought the book back with him from Toyville, and now keeps it in his
shop, where anybody may read the words as easily as can be, for they
are not at all big or hard to spell.

Sometime, I think I will ask Mr. Poodle to allow me to send that
_History_ to the Printer Man and have more copies made, so that other
little boys and girls can read all about Hans and his strange and
wonderful adventures, of which there is no room to tell anything here,
as anyone can see quite plainly, for there is only space enough left to
print this one little picture.