THE MAGIC MASK

“BEFORE it grows dark, I have something to show you–one of the most
interesting sights on Story Island,” said the Story Lady. “But we must
hasten, because darkness falls here very suddenly; it drops like a
curtain–all at once.”

Together they walked down the castle steps and through the town. All
was so strange to Mary Frances; the houses, the streets–everything was
so fairy-like or story-like, and yet so familiar, that it seemed as if
she had seen them all before.

“You live in Story Land, indeed,” said Mary Frances, gazing eagerly
about her.

“Yes,” returned the Story Lady, “we are not a very matter-of-fact
people.”

Soon they came to a beautiful park on the outskirts of the town.

“This is the Queen’s Garden,” said the Story Lady. “Here are many of
the trees, flowers and birds you read about in the story books.”

“Oh! Oh!” cried Mary Frances, with delight, as she looked about her.

Many of the wonders were strange, but here and there others were
familiar and she lingered to examine them.

“Not too long,” warned the Story Lady, smiling, “or darkness will
overtake us. Here is a surprise for you.”

They came to an enclosure, surrounded by a white picket-fence about a
foot high.

“What a tiny little town!” cried Mary Frances, looking down.

“Yes, that is what we call it–Tinytown.”

“Why, it’s just like the towns at home,” said Mary Frances, looking
closer. “There’s the school and the flag-staff, the public square and
the fountain, the church, the fire-house, the stores and houses–just
as they are at home! Oh, where did you get it?”

“We found it in your country,” replied the Story Lady; “and we brought
it here and set it up just as you see it and named it after Tiny, the
girl who discovered it–but it’s a long story.”

“Oh, won’t you tell me the story?”

“Yes; this evening.”

Mary Frances walked all around the fence and examined the little town
minutely. “To think of finding that on Story Island!” she exclaimed. At
the same time she felt a little pang of homesickness, but said nothing
about it.

“Now we must hasten home,” said the Story Lady.

As it was broad daylight, Mary Frances thought it rather strange to
hurry so, but just as they reached the castle, darkness fell and the
daylight went just as if some one had pressed a button and shut it out.

That evening while they were resting comfortably in their apartments,
the Story Lady related Tiny’s Adventures in Tinytown just as they are
set down here.

_Tiny Gets Lost_

Tiny was out in the woods hunting chestnuts, when a bird flew overhead,
a bright-colored bird.

Tiny saw the bird twice before she was certain it was a flicker.

At first it seemed like a golden streak of yellow as it flew by, but
when it rested on a low bush, she felt sure there wasn’t any yellow
about it. Instead, it was bluish-gray and brown. On its head was the
most beautiful crescent of red. Its throat was a warm leaf-brown,
specked with polka-dots of black.

[Illustration: JUST AT HER FEET LAY THE TINIEST LITTLE BIT OF A
TOWN]

“Strange!” thought Tiny, tiptoeing nearer and nearer. “Oh, no, it’s not
strange at all. Why, it’s a flicker–a golden-winged woodpecker. Its
wings are lined with yellow. Of course it looked like a yellow bird
when flying overhead.”

“Wick–wick–wick–wick–follow–me.” The bird flew on a little farther.

“I will catch up soon, birdie!” Tiny called, and hurried to the branch
where the bird was sitting.

“Wick–wick!” On and on it flew, Tiny following, when suddenly it
disappeared entirely, and there was Tiny miles out in the forest, and
not knowing the way back home at all. And not a single thing to eat,
either.

“My, now I am scared!–but I won’t cry! I’m nine years old, and I won’t
cry! I’ll look around and see if there isn’t something I can think to
do,” but a big tear blinded her eye.

“Where’s my handkerchief? Where ever did I put my handkerchief?” She
looked in her pocket. “But if I’m not going to cry, what do I need it
for?” she asked herself, and brushed away a big drop with the back of
her hand.

“Oh, oh, look!” Tiny laughed so that the woods echoed, and no wonder
she did–for just at her feet lay the tiniest little bit of a town with
real houses, no bigger than bird-houses; real people, too, not much
taller than pins; real street-lamps no bigger than pencils; real carts
no bigger than peanuts; real horses no bigger than katydids. In the
center of the town was a lovely little fountain. From the fountain,
walks led in four directions.

Houses and public buildings were along these walks; and scattered on
the green lawns were pretty flower-beds.

“Oh, what a lovely cottage!” cried Tiny, spying a beautiful little
house near the edge of the village.

“I’m going to pick it up! No, I’ll stoop down and look at it. People
may be inside. If I picked it up they might be hurt and frightened.”

She leaned over and examined it closely, but was careful not to step
into the town.

The walls were covered with vines, and geraniums bloomed at the
windows. Charming white curtains hung on the sashes, showing off the
brilliant color of the geraniums.

Smoke was coming out of the chimney.

“My, the people who live in that cottage must be getting supper!” The
little girl spoke softly to herself. “It seems to me I can smell it
cooking. What tiny little bits of dishes they must use–smaller than
the littlest ones I own. Why, an acorn would be almost large enough for
a bath tub for the house.”

Tiny laughed gayly at the idea.

“I’ll wait here for a minute or two to see if anybody comes out of the
door,” she said, taking a seat on the twisted roots of a nearby tree;
but, although she waited patiently for several minutes, no one appeared.

“How I wonder who lives in such a dear little home!” she thought. “It
must be fun to live in such a beautiful little house. My, isn’t the
whole town too sweet for anything! How I’d like to live there!”

She put her toe on the gravel walk which led across the tiny little
town, and, in a second she was no longer a big girl; she was as little
as a pin herself, only, of course, not so thin as a pin, but just the
right size for the house.

_Tiny is Put in the Lock-up_

Tiny rubbed her tiny little eyes with her tiny little hand, and looked
about her in amazement. She was very near the cottage she had so much
admired. “I’d love to peep in the windows,” she thought, “but it would
be so rude. I guess I’ll walk over toward the fountain.”

“Oh, here comes a hand-organ and a little monkey!” Tiny put her hand
in her pocket to find a penny, but all she found there were three
chestnuts, each no bigger than a period. “Poor little monkey!” said
Tiny as he came up to her, lifting his hat, “you must be tired. I
wonder if you’d like these nuts.”

The monkey smelled of the nuts, lifted his hat, looked at his master,
and nodding his thanks, began to eat them.

“He no tired,” said the Italian organ-grinder. “He work only two hours
a day.”

“Good!” said Tiny. “Does he play the rest of the day?”

“He play, play, play,” smiled the man, and passed down the street.

“My,” thought Tiny, as she walked along, “I wish I had taken some money
with me this morning. If I had a nickel, I’d buy some bananas from that
banana-man’s fruit-stand. I certainly am hungry.”

“Want banan’s?” inquired the man as she stood looking at his wares.

Tiny nodded. “I haven’t any money,” she said, trying to keep from
crying.

“Never mind,” smiled the man, “I had little girl once. She gone. She
die. I give banan’s you.” He handed her a half-dozen bananas no bigger
than pencil points.

“Oh, thank you,” said Tiny. “I’ll never forget how kind you are.”

But the man was on his way down the street before she finished.

She felt much better after eating and stood for quite a while watching
the little fountain play and splash.

Away in the distance she heard a dog bark, and at the edge of the
village she saw a tiny newsboy and with him a tiny dog, no bigger than
a capital letter. Under his arm he carried tiny newspapers no bigger
than postage stamps.

“Not much news in such a tiny paper!” thought Tiny, watching the
fountain splash. “Some day I’ll buy one to see what it says.”

Suddenly she realized it was getting dark; people passed by her and
went into the houses. She felt very lonely and a little frightened.
“Oh, dear,” she thought, “I do wonder where I’ll sleep to-night? I
wonder if it’s against the law to sleep on the park benches?” She went
over and sat down on one. “I guess I’ll try sleeping here, anyhow.”

She was just going to stretch out, when she saw a policeman coming
toward her just as fast as he could walk.

“Come, come!” he said. “Who are you? I’ve never seen you around here
before! What’s your name? Where do you live?”

“Please, Mr. Policeman”–Tiny tried to keep her voice from shaking–“my
name is Tiny and I’m lost.”

“Tiny! Tiny! Tiny what? What’s your other name?”

“They call me ‘Tiny girl’,” said Tiny.

“Tiny Girl!” grunted the policeman. “Girl! I’ve never heard of a Mr.
Girl or a Mrs. Girl around here! Oh, I know–I understand now–you’ve
run away from home–that’s what you’ve done!”

“Oh, no, sir,” began Tiny, but the policeman took her hand, and walked
toward the town hall.

“You’ll have to sleep over there to-night,” said he, pointing to the
building, “in care of the police matron; and in the morning we’ll see
what we can find out. Children that run away we always put in the
lock-up.”

They were inside the door now, and the policeman rapped three times on
the tiny table. Out came the police matron. Tiny thought she looked
rather severe.

“Matron,” said the policeman, “I found this little girl on one of the
park benches. She cannot tell me where she lives–she says she’s lost
and that her last name is Girl–Tiny Girl. You know there is no family
of the name of Girl in this whole town. Put her to sleep in a bed and
if anything turns up to-night to show who she is, I’ll let you know. In
the morning we’ll investigate. Good night.”

“Good night, Mr. Officer,” said the police matron.

“Come,” she said to Tiny, “let me wash you and comb your hair, and
give you some bread and milk. I’m certainly sorry such a little girl
should be a runaway. Your clothes show you have a careful mother.”

“I didn’t run away,” sobbed Tiny; “I tell you I didn’t!”

“How did you come here, then?” asked the matron, stopping combing her
hair.

“I was a big, real girl,” said Tiny, “and–and I was walking in the
woods, with my mother’s permission, when a bird flew ahead of me and
he beckoned me to come on. I wandered and wandered and I came to this
place. I stepped on the walk, and–and–and–I–melted into the tiny
little thing I am–so there! How I wish I had my mother—-”

“Oh, what a story! What an awful story!” cried the police matron. “Stop
right away! We don’t allow children to tell lies here!”

“It’s not a story,” began Tiny, but the police matron dragged her to a
tiny bedroom, and undressed her and put her to bed.

“You will have your supper in bed,” said she, “then I’ll be sure of
where you are!” And she brought a bowl no bigger than a cherry-stone
full of bread and milk for Tiny’s supper.

At first Tiny couldn’t eat a mouthful, but she was really very hungry,
and finally she ate it all up.

“Mother will find me somehow,” she thought, as she slipped out of bed
and knelt to say her prayers.

_Tiny is Adopted_

The next morning Tiny was awakened by a knock at her door.

“Good morning,” smiled the police matron. “I have a delightful surprise
for you.”

“Good morning. What can it be?” cried Tiny. “Did my mother—-?”

“You’ve nearly guessed,” nodded the police matron, helping her put on
her shoes and stockings. “You’re going to have a mother, for a dear old
lady–Mrs. Bountiful–wants to adopt you.”

“To adopt me? Why, I thought all adopted children lived in orphanages.”

“Oh, my, no!” exclaimed the police matron. “Children that run away are
often—-”

“I didn’t run away!” Tiny stamped her tiny foot. “I tell you I didn’t.”

“Come, come,” said the police matron, “you don’t want me to tell your
new friend that you have a bad temper and tell stories.”

Tiny certainly did not, and as she was now washed and dressed she went
down-stairs with the police matron.

“Here she is, madam,” said the police matron very politely as she led
Tiny to where the dearest bit of an old lady was sitting.

“Oh, you dear child!” exclaimed the tiny lady. “You’ve had no
breakfast, have you?”

“I just got up,” whispered Tiny, not liking to let her think that the
matron had been neglectful.

“Well, well,” smiled the little old lady, “we’ll soon see to that. I
have my automobile outside. Good-by, Mrs. Matron.” And taking Tiny by
the hand she went out.

“This is my son,” said the little old lady, as they walked up to the
car. “He can drive an automobile beautifully. Shake hands with Tiny,
Martin.”

“How do you do?”

“Pleased to meet you,” said Martin, lifting his tiny cap.

“Let us drive right home,” said his mother. “This dear little girl
hasn’t had any breakfast.” They climbed in, and away Martin drove, down
the street through the village park, past the fountain, over to the
edge of the village, up to–where do you think?–right up in front of
the cottage which Tiny had first seen in the little village.

“Oh, isn’t it a beau-ti-ful home!” she cried.

“How glad we are that you like it,” said the little lady. “Welcome to
Rose Cottage.”

“Walk–right–in–Welcome–to–Rose–Cottage,” cried a new voice as
they entered. It was a shrill, nasal voice.

Tiny looked around, but saw no one. “Look! I’m–right–here,” cried the
voice again.

The little lady laughed. “All right, Polly,” she called, and Tiny saw
in one corner of the room a pretty green-and-red-and-yellow poll-parrot.

She wanted to go nearer and pet him, but his mistress hurried her to
the breakfast table.

“Let–us–take–a drive,” called out Polly presently.

“Why, yes, let us. Shall we go now, Martin?” asked Mrs. Bountiful.

“Yes, Mother,” smiled the big boy.

“Take–us–all,” called Polly,
“Take–us–all–don’t–forget–the–monk.”

“Why,” asked Tiny, who had been very quiet, “what does he mean?”

“He means,” laughed the little lady, “that we take Martin’s pet monkey
and Polly for a drive quite often–and they are both very much spoiled.”

“Oh, how lovely!” cried Tiny. “Have you a monkey, too?”

Martin brought the monkey, and his mother took the parrot, and they all
got into the automobile.

“Where do we go first, Mother?” asked Martin.

“Will you excuse me, dear,” the little lady asked, “if I whisper? I
want to surprise you.”

Tiny nodded and smiled, as his mother leaned over to reach Martin’s ear.

They drove along the park and over into the business part of the
village, up to the livery-stables and stopped.

“Good morning, ma’am,” the liveryman said.

“Bring him out,” nodded the little lady, and the man disappeared into
the stables.

Soon he led out the dearest little brown-and-white Shetland pony–no
bigger than a cricket.

“Oh, oh, oh!” cried Tiny. “I’d like to kiss him!”

The little old lady laughed delightedly.

“He’s yours,” she cried. “Get out and try to ride him.”

Martin helped her into the wee saddle, the liveryman gave her a tiny
whip and the pony cantered all the way down the street and back again.

“Oh, I never thought I’d own a real live pony,” sighed Tiny, patting
the little thing’s neck. “It seems too good to be true.”

“Let us go down to the candy shop,” said Tiny’s fairy godmother.

The candy shop wasn’t far away and when they drew up outside, Martin
fastened the pony to the lamp-post. The little old lady took Tiny into
the shop.

“Here, dear,” she said, opening her purse, “are two dollars. Spend them
both. You can have all the candy and ice cream you want.”

So Tiny ate five plates of ice cream and three boxes of candy.

“It was splendid,” she said to the little lady when they’d gotten home.
“I’d like to kiss you for all these lovely times.”

“I’m so glad, dear motherless child,” said the little lady with tears
in her eyes.

“But I’m not motherless–” began Tiny.

“There, there, we’ll forget about that,” interrupted her new mother.

That night she tucked Tiny into bed quite early.

I must tell you about Tiny’s bedroom. All the woodwork and furniture
were white. On the floor was a rose-colored carpet, with a border
of pink and white roses and green leaves. At the windows were white
curtains with pink roses along each edge. On the little white bureau
was a tiny set of golden brushes and combs and boxes and bottles, and
in a gold vase on the dressing-table was a very beautiful bouquet of
tiny real roses.

Everything was so sweet that Tiny used up nearly every word of praise
she knew, and she fell asleep before the little lady had finished
tucking her in bed.

It must have been near midnight when Tiny was awakened very suddenly by
an awful pain.

She cried out loudly for her mother.

The little lady hastened to her room.

“You poor dear!” she cried. “Martin shall go immediately for Doctor
Curum.”

Martin was back with the doctor before Tiny realized he had started.

“Well, well,” said the doctor, looking Tiny over, “this young lady has
been having too good a time–eh?”

“Oh, Doctor,” cried the little old lady, “will she die? It is my fault.
I gave her too much candy.”

“Don’t worry,” smiled the doctor, quickly opening his case. “These
medicines will cure her.”

“I will stay with you, dear,” said the little lady, after seeing the
doctor to the door.

Tiny soon fell asleep and did not wake until early daylight.

“My, I feel all right,” she thought, stretching her little arms over
her head. “How glad I am! But what smells so queer? I believe it’s
smoke! Oh, it is! Something’s on fire!”

She sprang out of bed. The little lady had fallen asleep in the tiny
white rocking-chair on the other side of Tiny’s bed. She looked so
sweet in her rose kimono with a sweet smile on her lips, that Tiny
hadn’t the heart to waken her.

“How tired she must be,” thought Tiny. “I’ll find out where the fire is
first.”

She slipped into her clothes, and was soon out-of-doors. She saw
immediately where the fire was–over on the next avenue, where smoke
and flame were coming out of the roof of a building.

[Illustration: THE PONY CANTERED ALL THE WAY DOWN THE STREET]

_Tiny Discovers a Fire_

“Oh, oh,” thought Tiny, “what shall I do? I know!” as she spied the
pony in the stable where Martin had put him the night before. “I’ll
ride over to the fire-house and tell them, and then I’ll ride to the
house and warn the people.”

“Do your best, Love Trot,” she whispered to the dappled pony.

He pricked up his ears, and picked up his feet, and in no time to speak
of Tiny was at the fire-house.

Just as she reached the door, a big dog (at least it seemed big to
Tiny, for it was almost the size of Love Trot) came around the corner
of the building. He raised up his head and barked as he ran toward her.

Tiny was so scared that she quickly jumped on the pony and was going to
ride away, when a window of the fire-house opened and a man called out:

“Don’t be afraid, little girl, that’s Big Jim, the fire dog. He helps
with all the fires. He won’t bite you. Lie down, Jim.”

Jim spread himself down at the pony’s side, wagged his tail, and looked
up at Tiny with big brown eyes which seemed to say he was sorry he
frightened her.

She soon explained her errand and was riding at full speed to the house
that was on fire.

Down the street clanged the engine drawn by the beautiful little
fire horses. Then came the hose-wagon, and then all the firemen with
the ladders, and Big Jim, who was riding as though he were the most
important member of the fire company.

Meanwhile, the little lady awoke. She sniffed the air and opened her
eyes.

“Tiny,” she said, “how are you, dear? It seems to me I smell smoke.
Doesn’t it to you?”

She looked at the bed.

“Where has the child gone?” she cried. “All her clothes are gone, too!”

“Martin! Martin!” she called. “Martin, get right up, and go to the
police station in the town hall. Tiny has run away–has run away again!”

“All right, Mother,” answered Martin from his room. “I’m already
dressed, I’ll ride the pony right over there.” But Trot was gone, and
Martin ran all the way.

“Why, why didn’t you take your automobile and chase after her?” asked
the policeman when Martin told him the story. “That’s the best thing to
do now. I’d go help you–but I’m needed at the fire. You’d better start
right away, you don’t want to lose any time.”

“Oh, yes,” answered Martin, “I know. I know. I’ll go right home and
take out the car–but where do you think I had better chase to first?”

“Inquire of the first person you meet,” called out the policeman.

Martin and his mother were soon in the car, but there were few people
on the street, as nearly all had gone to the fire.

“Drive on a way,” said the distracted little lady. “Drive anywhere.
It’s better than sitting still.”

They hadn’t gone very far before they saw Tiny riding Trot toward them.

“Were you worried?” she called, hailing them from a distance. “I went
to the fire-house to warn them of the fire.” She explained it all to
them as she came up to the car; how she wakened, and smelled the smoke,
and how she didn’t like to waken the little lady, and how she saw Trot
fastened in the stable, and how she rode him to the fire-house.

“Dear, dear girlie,” said the little lady. “How brave you are! I’m so
glad you didn’t run away again.”

“I never ran away,” answered Tiny. “I never, never ran away!”

“We know you did once, dear,” said the little lady; “but we’re trying
to forget that.”

“IT seems to me,” said the little lady, a few days after the fire,
“that it would be nice for you to start in school, Tiny dear. I met
Miss Spectacles yesterday, and she asked me whether I was not going to
send you soon. ‘I don’t want the truant officer to inquire into the
case,’ she explained.”

“Oh, nothing could please me better!” exclaimed Tiny. “I love you
dearly, but it would just be splendid to know some children.”

Martin and the little lady took Tiny in the automobile to the
schoolhouse, which was the most delightful school building Tiny could
imagine. It stood on the center of a green lawn. All kinds of swings
and games were arranged in the playgrounds. The little lady introduced
Tiny to her teacher.

“I’m glad to have so brave a child under my care,” smiled Miss
Spectacles, “for I’ve heard all about Tiny and the fire.”

Tiny blushed and stood on one foot. “It didn’t seem very brave to me,”
she said, “but I’m glad you think you’ll like me.”

After the little lady had gone, the teacher showed Tiny to a desk
and gave her lesson-books. Tiny studied the lessons well, and when
recess-time came was quite ready for play.

The children stared at her a good deal, for no doubt they too had heard
about the fire, and many had seen her on her pony; but she was so
friendly in her manner that the girls soon overcame their shyness and
began to talk with her.

There was one particularly pretty girl who was especially nice to Tiny,
and gave her half her apple to eat. There was another little girl
whose mother combed her hair in one braid at the back of her head.
Just as she started to talk with Tiny, one of the boys came along, and
pulled the little girl’s hair.

“Hello, Piggy,” he said. “Hello, Piggy. Piggy-wiggy, Piggy-wiggy.”

“Oh, dear,” said the little girl, “I do wish they wouldn’t call me
names.”

“For shame!” Tiny called to the boy. “It is dreadfully rude for you to
call names. I won’t like you one bit if you call names.”

“Ha, ha!” laughed the boy. “I don’t care! Piggy-wiggy wears a pig-tail.”

“Never mind, dear,” said Tiny. “I believe I can make him stop.”

Then the bell rang.

After school Tiny went to the boy. “Listen,” she said, “what’ll you
take to stop calling names?”

“What’ll I take?” repeated the boy.

“Yes,” said Tiny, “will you promise to stop if I give you ten cents?”

“Nope,” said the boy. “It’s too much fun.”

“Will you take a quarter?”

“Nope.”

“Well,” said Tiny, “that’s all I have. I spent all the rest of my money
for ice cream and cake.”

“Say,” said the boy, “are you offering for honest?”

“Certainly,” said Tiny.

“Well, then, I’ll take a ride on your pony to stop. How about that?”

“Oh–” began Tiny, “I—-”

“I’ll always call her Piggy if you don’t,” said the boy.

“How far?” asked Tiny.

“Far’s I want to go,” answered the boy.

“I’ll let you know to-morrow,” said Tiny, for that was the last thing
she wanted to pay, and she was worried.

“I’m afraid school doesn’t agree with our Tiny,” said the little lady
to Martin that evening, “she is so quiet.”

Tiny, who was playing the pretty white piano, turned.

“I was thinking, dear lady,” she said, and she told of Piggy-wiggy.

“Humph,” said Martin. “That’s easy. Let me know who that fellow is and
I’ll stop him.”

“Can’t you manage better than that, son?” asked his mother. “Why not
let the boy ride Trot when you and Tiny are nearby in the car, and can
see that he is treated right?”

“That’s a splendid idea,” cried Tiny, kissing the little lady. “Will
you, Martin? I know the boy is just crazy to ride the pony.”

So a plan was agreed upon, and the boy did have a ride on Love Trot,
and he did stop calling the little girl names, and Tiny had the joy of
knowing she had made two people happy.

_Tiny Saves a Baby’s Life_

“Tiny,” said the little lady after school the next day, “don’t you want
to run over to the grocery shop and get some sugar for the pudding?”

“Indeed I do,” laughed Tiny; “there’s nothing I like better than
pudding, you know.”

The grocerman was very pleasant and Tiny noticed he gave her extra good
weight.

“Shall I send it home for you, Miss?” he asked as his grocery wagon
drove up.

“No, thank you,” said Tiny, “I’ll carry it,” and the wagon drove on.

As Tiny reached the corner, she saw a baby toddling across the street.

“I wonder that baby’s mother lets it go out alone,” thought Tiny.

[Illustration: SHE RAN AS FAST AS SHE COULD AND WAS JUST IN TIME TO
DRAG THE BABY OUT OF THE WAY OF THE WAGON]

Just at that minute the grocer’s horse and wagon dashed around the
corner. Tiny saw in a moment what would happen if somebody didn’t run
to the baby, so dropping her bag of sugar, which burst open and spread
all over the ground, she ran as fast as she could and was just in the
nick of time to drag the baby out of the way of the wagon.

“Bless me! Bless me!” panted the policeman, running up. “I hurried as
fast as I could. If it hadn’t been for this little girl,” he continued
to the baby’s mother, who was now crying, “that baby would—- Why,
it’s the little girl that ran away! How do you do?”

“I didn’t run away,” sobbed Tiny; “I didn’t.”

“Well, well,” said the policeman, “I guess we can begin to forget it by
this time. After the fire warning and this—-” But Tiny was hurrying
away to the store to get more sugar.

“I do hope they won’t worry at home,” she thought.

“That’s the girl,” said the grocer’s boy as Tiny went into the store.
“She was just in time.”

He had been telling about the near-accident.

The grocer couldn’t thank Tiny enough for saving the baby’s life, and
he asked her to ride in the grocery wagon so that she would get home
sooner.

“I was so afraid you would worry, dear lady,” she said as she told the
story, “and I spilled all the sugar–every bit.”

“Oh, my dear, I’m so thankful you were not hurt,” said the little lady,
“that I would give a hundred bags of sugar–you, dear brave little
heroine,” as she took her on her lap.

“My mother,” began Tiny, “was something like you and—-”

“Hush, dear,” said the little lady, smoothing her hair.

“You like to go to school, don’t you?” she asked to change the subject.

“My, I never enjoyed school so much in all my life,” said Tiny.

“Oh, you used to go, of course, didn’t you?”

“Always,” said Tiny, “my father was–” and her voice began to sound
full of tears.

“Strange,” said the little lady to herself. “Very strange why she ran
away. Maybe we’ll find out some day. I’ll inquire again if the police
have found out anything more about her.”

_Tiny Goes Shopping_

The next morning Tiny took her pig-bank from the mantel and began to
count her money.

“Wasn’t your mother dear to give me all this spending money, Martin?”
said Tiny to Martin as he came into the room. “I do wonder how much
there is; won’t you please help me count it?”

“Seven dollars and eighteen cents,” counted Martin, laying down the
last coin. “My! that’s a lot of money, Tiny. What are you going to do
with it?”

“Oh, Martin, don’t tell, please. Oh, it must be a secret! I do want it
to be a surprise!”

“Wild horses couldn’t drag it out of me,” said Martin; “but what’s the
secret?”

“Why, Saturday is your mother’s birthday, and I’m going to buy her a
present.”

“Grand. What will you buy?” he asked.

“I really don’t know,” said Tiny, “but I’m going shopping this
afternoon after school. I’ve had permission to get out early, because I
told Miss Spectacles about the surprise.”

“Wasn’t that kind of her!” said Martin.

“People are often kinder than they seem,” said Tiny.

Just as she put the bank in its place on the mantel, Mrs. Bountiful
came in. “Why, dear,” said she, “what a saving little girl you are; I
haven’t given you any money in a long time; here is a dollar.”

“Oh, thank you,” said Tiny, “but you have been so good to me, I don’t
like—-”

“Never mind, dear,” said the little lady. “Come, it’s time to go to
school.”

“I’ll be ready in a minute, as soon as I get my books.”

“Here is a banana for recess,” said Mrs. Bountiful, following her and
kissing her good-by.

On her way out as Tiny passed the mantel, she quickly slipped her bank
into her school-bag.

“Good-by, all,” said she.

She could scarcely wait for the time to come for her to go shopping,
and it seemed almost a week until Miss Spectacles nodded her head that
she might be dismissed.

On her way to the store, she would put her hand in her school-bag every
once in a while to see if the bank was safe.

She had been to the Globe Department Store with Mrs. Bountiful more
than once.

“What shall I buy?” she thought.

Just then she noticed a cute little china cat. She picked it up.
“That’s certainly cute,” she thought, “but not very useful,” so she
put it down and picked up a little stuffed dog. “Neither is that,” she
concluded and put it down.

“Do you wish anything?” asked the saleslady politely.

“No, thank you,” replied Tiny.

She picked up several funny little images, and was so much interested
that she did not notice that any one was near until she heard a voice,
a man’s voice, speaking to the saleslady in an undertone: “I’ve been
watching that child for some time, Miss Sellum; please keep an eye on
her.”

“Oh, I don’t think she’d take anything, Mr. Knockem,” replied the girl.

Tiny looked around. No one was in sight except the pretty saleslady and
a tall, haughty-looking man.

“I wonder who they mean?” thought Tiny. “Oh, they must mean me because
I touched those things,” and she burst into tears.

“I never stole anything in my life–not a single–thing–ever,” she
sobbed. “I’m Mrs. Bountiful’s–little–girl—-”

“Mercy!” exclaimed Miss Sellum.

“Pardon me, Miss,” begged the floor-walker–for that was who Mr.
Knockem was, and right scared he was, too, for Mrs. Bountiful was
one of their best customers. “I didn’t mean any harm. Can I be of
assistance to you?”

“Why, sir,” said Tiny, drying her eyes, “it’s all right–I shouldn’t
have touched anything, I know, but–I’m trying to select a present for
Mrs. Bountiful’s birthday. It comes Saturday, you see—-”

“Oh, that’s it, that’s it, is it?” asked a new voice. It was so kind,
and full of joy that Tiny knew she’d like its owner before she looked
up at the kindly, bald-headed gentleman who had joined them.

“Leave the little miss to me, Mr. Knockem,” he said.

“Oh, certainly, Mr. Storem; certainly, sir,” said the floor-walker.

“Well, my dear,” said the stout gentleman, “I believe I can help you.
I know Mrs. Bountiful quite well. The other day she was in the store
inquiring for vanity hand-bags.”

“The kind all filled with golden powder boxes, and mirrors, and coin
holders?” asked Tiny eagerly.

“Yes,” smiled Mr. Storem, “and here they are at this counter. Miss
Prettyman, will you show those bags to Miss—-”

“My name is Tiny, sir,” said the little girl, much pleased with the
lady, who brought several bags for her to see.

“How much is this?” she asked, selecting a charming violet one, lined
with dainty flowered silk.

“Five dollars,” said Miss Prettyman. “I’ve sold bags for years, but I
never saw so lovely a one at that price.”

“I’ll take that, please,” said Tiny, reaching into her school-bag for
her bank.

“Oh, dear,” she cried, “how am I going to get the money out of my pig?”

You should have heard Mr. Storem laugh. “Well, well,” he said, “I guess
I’ll have to help you.”

So he helped Tiny “fish” out the five dollars.

Just then some one called him away.

“I’ll be back in a few minutes, Miss Tiny,” he said.

When the cash girl returned with the parcel, the saleslady handed it
over to Tiny just as if she were grown up.

“Gee,” exclaimed the cash girl, “ain’t she swell, Miss Prettyman, with
the owner of the store escorting her around!”

“Is he? Does he own this store?” asked Tiny, wide-eyed.

“Yes, Miss Tiny,” said Miss Prettyman.

Just at that moment Mr. Storem returned.

“Is there anything else, Miss Tiny?”

“Oh, I don’t like to trouble you, sir,” began Tiny.

“Tut! Tut! Don’t mention it, little one,” said he. “The gentleman
who just called me told me you are the little girl who warned the
people about the fire, and saved the baby’s life. It is an honor to do
anything to help you.”

Tiny blushed. “Thank you. Well, if it isn’t too much trouble, please
show me where I can get some beads to make a necklace for Mrs.
Bountiful.”

“Certainly, certainly,” said Mr. Storem. “Right this way.”

Tiny selected some beautiful beads, and Mr. Storem helped her again in
getting the money from her bank.

“Mrs. Bountiful will love the necklace if I make it,” she said. “She
told me it is the kindness and the thought more than the costliness of
a gift that counts. My own mother always—-”

“Your own mother!” exclaimed Mr. Storem. “Your own! Isn’t Mrs.
Bountiful your mother?”

“Why, no, sir,” exclaimed Tiny.

“I read it in the Tinytown News. I read about a little girl who ran
away,” interrupted Mr. Storem.

“I didn’t,” said Tiny. “I didn’t run away, but nobody believes me.”

“I do, dear,” smiled the big man. “I do!” and Tiny loved him for it.

“Good-by!” she said, “and thank you! Thank you more than I can tell
you.”

It was rather late when she reached Rose Cottage, but the little lady
had been called out to see a sick neighbor, so she was able to hide her
gifts away. Finally Saturday came. Tiny wrapped her gifts in tissue
paper and tied them with blue ribbon, and laid them on the breakfast
table at Mrs. Bountiful’s place.

The little lady was delighted. She opened the bag and took out the
purse and powder box and examined them and looked at herself in the
mirror.

“Oh, you made the necklace yourself? Isn’t it lovely, my dear?” she
sighed. “You are just such a darling, loving, thoughtful little girl as
I always dreamed of for my own daughter.”

“Put on your finery, Mother,” said Martin, handing her the bag and
throwing the necklace over her head.

“My present,” exclaimed Martin, “is in my room,” and, excusing himself,
he brought a pretty hand-carved tea-table.

“I made it for you myself, Mother.”

“Was there ever such a happy old lady as I!” cried Mrs. Bountiful,
putting her arms around both the children.

“Was there ever one who gave other people so much happiness?” asked
Tiny.

_Tiny’s Mother Finds Her_

“I wish I could tell mother about everything,” thought Tiny as she
walked along the road to school. “My, what perfectly lovely times I
have had, and how dear the little lady is; but I do miss mother. How
frightened she must be!”

A tear dropped from her eye.

“I won’t cry, though,” she thought. “Mother surely will find me! I know
she’s looking everywhere!”

Just then she noticed a tiny little bird in the branches of the tree
overhead.

“Wick–wick!” he sang.

“Oh, you pretty little thing,” cried Tiny.

The bird flew to a low bush, Tiny following. On and on they went, until
Tiny was surprised to find herself at the end of the town.

“Why, I’m almost lost again,” she thought, “I better turn back.”

“Wick–wick!” sang the bird, as he alighted on a tree just outside the
town.

To Tiny’s amazement, he was no longer a little bird, but the same big
golden-winged woodpecker that she had followed into the forest when
she left home. She was just about to run after him when a shadow fell
across the roadway and she looked up.

“Mother!” she cried. “Oh, Mother!”

For the shadow was that of her mother who had gone out into the woods
to look for her.

She stretched out her tiny little arms, but she was so very small her
mother didn’t see her.

“Oh, Mother, here I am,” she cried, running toward her.

She stepped off the edge of Tinytown, and in a second she was her own
self again, as big as ever.

How she laughed and cried and hugged and kissed her mother. Then she
told all about Tinytown–just as I’ve told you, and showed her the
lovely little Rose Cottage, the town hall, the school house, the
church, the fire-engine house and the shops.

“Mother, they were all so perfectly dear to me I hate to leave them,”
she said.

“Why, Tiny, girl,” laughed her mother, “we can visit Tinytown again,
now we know where it is–then you can always keep your friends.”

“Yes, and I can explain to them, Mother dear, how they were mistaken,
and I didn’t run away.”

But when Tiny and her mother came to look for it a few days later,
Tinytown was gone. The Story People had taken it for their own.

[Illustration: “MOTHER!” SHE CRIED. “OH, MOTHER!”]

* * * * *

“What a sweet story!” exclaimed Mary Frances, when the Story Lady
finished.

“Yes, it is a sweet story,” she returned, “and we were so glad to get
it, and the town, too. It shows our children how the children of other
countries live.”

“Aren’t you tired after telling so many stories?” asked Mary Frances.

“Oh, no, I never grow tired of hearing and telling stories; but I like
to hear you talk. Won’t you tell me something from your country?”

“Yes–let me see. All I can think of is a little poem about a robin and
a buttercup.”

“Do let me hear it.”

So she recited–

THE ROBIN AND THE BUTTERCUP[B]

Down in the field, one day in June,
The flowers all bloomed together,
Save one, who tried to hide herself,
And drooped that pleasant weather.

A robin, who had flown too high,
And felt a little lazy,
Was resting near a buttercup,
Who wished she were a daisy.

For daisies grow so trig and tall!
She always had a passion
For wearing frills around her neck,
In just the daisies’ fashion.

And buttercups must always be
The same old tiresome color;
While daisies dress in gold and white,
Although their gold is duller.

“Dear Robin,” said the sad young flower,
“Perhaps you’d not mind trying
To find a nice white frill for me,
Some day when you are flying?”

“You silly thing!” the robin said,
“I think you must be crazy;
I’d rather be my honest self
Than any made-up daisy.

“You’re nicer in your own bright gown,
The little children love you;
Be the best buttercup you can,
And think no flower above you.

“Though swallows leave me out of sight,
We’d better keep our places;
Perhaps the world would go all wrong,
With one too many daisies.

“Look bravely up into the sky,
And be content with knowing
That God wished for a buttercup
Just here, where you are growing.”

[B] Sarah Orne Jewett.

“Oh, thank you,” said the Story Lady, “I like that. You must write it
down for me. To-morrow you shall have a lot of stories.”

WHEN all the Story People were assembled, the Story King in his place,
Mary Frances in the seat of honor beside the Story Queen, the Ready
Writer at his table with pen in hand, the Story Lady began to tell one
story after another. Even the clock ticked softly, as if listening, and
no sound was heard except the sweet music of her voice as it ran from
story to story, until five in all were told.

* * * * *

Many years ago, a little prince was born in a rich country across
the sea. He had long been wished for, and great was the rejoicing
throughout the land when he came.

As you may suppose, he was given everything he wanted. Indeed, if he
were denied anything for a moment, he would set up so great a cry that
the servants would run in haste to bring him what he desired; and if he
were opposed by any one he would frown and stamp his foot, and throw
himself into such a rage that his whole face would become ugly and
distorted, and the little children would run in fear from him.

When he grew up, he delighted to fight; and nothing pleased him better
than to put on his armor and helmet and ride forth at the head of his
army.

He won many, many victories, and his country grew richer and stronger
than it had ever been before.

By and by the time came when his father, the king, died, and the prince
took his place. Then he wished for a queen, and began to think of a
beautiful princess he had met in one of the cities which he ruled over.
And the more he thought about her, the more anxious he was that she
should become his wife. No one else was half so fair and lovely to his
eyes.

So one day, he made up his mind to go to see the princess. He bade his
servants deck him out in regal splendor, and put on him his royal robes
and his jeweled crown.

“How do I look?” he asked his valet. “Did I ever appear more handsome?”

“Oh, no, your majesty,” replied the valet. “If you will look in the
long mirror, you will see that.”

When the king looked in the glass, he saw a wonderful reflection.
His robe was of velvet and satin in royal purple and green, jeweled,
trimmed, and embroidered–nothing was wanting in the costume. Then he
saw his own face–all seamed with frowns and hard, cruel lines.

“Oh,” he thought, “such a face will frighten the lovely princess! What
shall I do? She will never be willing to marry me!”

And he sent all his servants away, and sat down in a fit of melancholy;
or, as some people say, “in a fit of the blues.”

For hours he just sat and glowered. Once a page approached him to say
that his luncheon was served, but he told him to be gone before he
ordered his head chopped off. You can imagine how fast the page ran
away. When the page told the other servants, they said, “We must not go
near him until he rings for us when he comes out of his angry mood.”

After a while the bell did ring, and in fear and trembling the valet
went to see what the king wished.

“Tell the groom to saddle my best steed and have it at the palace steps
within ten minutes, and do you undress me and put me in my riding
suit.”

Quickly the change was made, quickly the horse was saddled, quickly the
king was mounted and riding away.

“No!” he thundered, when the groom rode up to attend him on his
journey. “No one comes with me! I ride alone!”

Through forest and dale, through valley, stream, and over stubble
the king rode, on, and on, and on, until he came to the home of the
enchanter, Herlo.

Thrice he knocked at the door, and a deep voice bade him enter.

“Good-day, Enchanter,” said the king, lifting the latch and entering;
“I have come on a most important errand.”

“I know your errand,” replied Herlo; “you wish to gain the princess
Viola for a wife, and you fear she will not love you enough to marry
you.”

“How can she, when she sees my face?” said the king. “I have come to
ask your help. Is there anything you can do for me?”

The enchanter stopped to think, then he raised his head and told the
king, “Yes; I have a plan, but it needs your own help. I can change
your features if you will do as I tell you.”

The king was very glad, and he promised to do everything the enchanter
bade him do.

“Very well,” said Herlo. “I will make you a magic mask of thinnest wax.
It will be exactly the shape of your face, and no one will know that
you are wearing it except yourself. I will paint it with my magic paint
so that your features will look kind and pleasant, instead of fierce
and stern. I will fasten it upon your face so that you need never take
it off.”

“Make it”–said the king, “as handsome and attractive as you possibly
can, and I will pay you any price you ask.”

“This I can do only with your help,” Herlo explained; “only on this one
condition–that you keep your own face in exactly the lines I shall
paint. One angry frown or one cruel smile will crack the mask apart and
ruin it, and I can never replace it.”

Now the king wanted the princess for his queen more than anything else
he had ever wished for, so he said, “Yes, I promise. Tell me what I
shall do to keep the mask from cracking.”

“You must not lose your temper,” the enchanter told him. “You must
think kind thoughts. You must try to make your people happy. You must
help them, not by fighting, but by building libraries and schools and
hospitals. You must see that there are none of your subjects in want;
you must try to relieve all suffering, even of animals. You must follow
this rule:

Help the weak if you are strong;
Love the old if you are young;
Own a fault if you are wrong;
When you’re angry, hold your tongue.

“Call here again within ten days, and the mask will be ready. Good-by.”

So the king rode away with happiness in his heart.

The ten days passed slowly enough, and he could scarcely wait for the
last day to come. Early in the morning, he again rode alone to the home
of the enchanter.

The magic mask was ready, and Herlo tried it on the king’s face. It
fitted exactly, but it transformed his countenance. Gone was the ugly
scowl; gone, the frown between his eyes; gone, the thin, straight,
sullen lips. In their stead were pleasant smiles; and kind, tender
eyes; and merciful, unselfish lips.

And again the king rode away with happiness in his heart, for Herlo had
shown him his face in a glass.

The next day, he rode with his retinue of courtiers to the home of the
lovely princess, and she thought him all that could be desired, and
promised to be his wife.

And one wonderful day in the springtime they were married. Two years
sped quickly away in great joy and happiness, for the princess found
her husband to be even more kind and forbearing than she had thought
he would be. The servants never could understand what had happened to
change the king. Instead of being frightened by his presence, they were
only too glad to serve him, and his royal household was the happiest in
the world.

[Illustration: THE MAGIC MASK WAS READY, AND HERLO TRIED IT ON THE
KING’S FACE]

You would think that the king would have then been satisfied, wouldn’t
you? But he was not quite satisfied, for one thing troubled him.

When the queen would smile in approval of his kindness, and his
self-control, he would think, “I wish I had not deceived my dear wife.
I wish she knew my own self.”

At last he could bear it no longer, and so one day he rode for the
third time to the home of the enchanter, Herlo. And again Herlo met him
at the door. The king said:

“O Herlo, I have come to you to ask you to take back your magic mask.
I cannot wear it any longer, because I cannot bear to deceive my dear
wife who thinks me so kind and good. Better the truth than to deceive
so true and kind a person as my queen.”

“I warn you,” replied Herlo, “that if I once take off the magic mask,
you can never have it replaced. Think carefully before I remove it.”

“Yes,” said the king, “I know, and I have weighed the question
carefully. It is better to be my own true self than to live behind a
false face. Better that the queen should despise me than to live under
false pretenses and have her love when unworthy.”

So the enchanter took off the mask, and bade the king good-speed.

You can imagine how the king felt as he rode home this time; how he
dreaded looking into his glass, although he knew he must do so before
he entered the presence of the queen; and how he feared that what he
most prized in this world was about to be lost–his wife’s loving trust
in him.

But can you imagine his joy when he looked into the glass and saw his
own face–for his own face was handsomer than the mask! The ugly frown
and the wicked, cruel lines were gone, for his face had been molded
into the exact likeness of the mask; and when he came into the presence
of his wife she saw no difference in him. He was the husband she had
always so much honored and loved.

* * * * *

“And they lived happily ever after,” finished the Story Lady. Then
after a slight pause, she went on: “Now we will have a little goblin
story.”

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