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The Tin Soldier

The Tin Soldier

The Tin Soldier 

There were twenty-five tin soldiers once on a time. They were all brothers, for they had all been made out of one old spoon. They had muskets, and they all looked right in front of them. Their clothes were red and blue, and I tell you they were a fine lot.

The first words they ever heard as the lid was taken off their box were 'Tin Soldiers!" A little boy had spoken the words, and he clapped his hands in joy.

It was his birthday, and when he had looked at them he put them on the table.

All the Tin Soldiers were alike but one. There had not been enough tin to finish him so he had only one leg. But he stood on that as well as the others did on two legs, and this soldier was to be greater than all the other twenty-four.

On the table were many toys besides the soldiers, and the best was a paper castle.

If one looked in the windows one could see the hall, and in front of it were some trees and a lake made of a bit of glass.

Wax swans swam on the lake; it was all very pretty, but the sweetest of all was a small lady who stood by the castle door.

She was made of paper, but she had a dress of thin lace and a ribbon around her waist, and on the ribbon was a paper rose as big as her face.

The little lady held her arms up for she was a dancer, and she held one leg so high that the Tin Soldier could not see it at all, and he thought that she had but one leg.

''She would be just the wife for me," he thought, ''but she is too grand. She lives in a castle, and I have only a box, and so many of us live in the box! It really is no place for her."

But he felt he must know her. He lay down behind a box and watched her all day. There she stood on one leg; she did not seem to get tired at all.

At night the toys began to have their fun. They played war; they gave balls and paid visits.

The Nut Cracker jumped up and down. The Pencil ran about on a piece of paper, and they all made so much noise that the bird in its cage woke up and began to talk. The only ones who could not join the fun were the Tin Soldiers and the Dancing Lady. (You know the soldier with one leg was not in the box with his brothers, but was hid behind another box.)

The clock struck twelve — and bounce! The lid flew off the box behind which was the Soldier, and as true as I tell you out of the box came a Goblin. You see it was a trick!

"Tin Soldier," said the Goblin, "do not stare so at what does not concern you."

 The Soldier did not seem to hear.

"Just you wait until tomorrow!" said the Goblin.

The next day when the children came the Tin Soldier was put in the window, and I do not know whether it was the Gobhn or the wind who caught him, but heels over head the poor Soldier fell from the third story to the street.

The nurse and the little boy came down at once to look for him. If he had only cried out, "Here I am!" they would have heard him, but he was too brave to cry.

Then it began to rain and soon the streets were full of water. Two boys came by and one cried, ' 'Oh, look! There's a Tin Soldier!"

And they made a paper boat and sailed him down the gutter.

Oh, dear! how high the waves were in that gutter! Still the Tin Soldier stood firm and looked right in front of him, just like a true Soldier does in danger.

All at once the boat went into a dark place.

"Where am I going now?" thought he. 'This is the Goblin's fault. Ah! if the httle lady was in the boat with me I would not mind the dark."

But just then a Water Rat jumped out in front of the boat. "Give me your passport!" said he. The Soldier held his gun close and said not a word. But the stream grew stronger. The Tin Soldier could see the light beyond and he heard a great noise that would have made even you afraid. Only think right ahead was a deep river, and for that little Soldier in his tiny boat that was an awful thing. The boat sailed on and the Soldier stood stiff and not even an eye winked.

The boat turned around three times. The water came in. The Tin Soldier stood up to his neck in it; then it closed over his head. He thought of the sweet lady, and a song came to him as he sank:

"Farewell, farewell, thou warrior brave,

For this day thou must die!"

 The boat broke in two parts, and just at that moment a great fish snapped the Tin Soldier.

Well, it was dark in the fish's body! And it was small too. The Tin Soldier could only lie straight and not turn around. The fish swam to and fro, but before long he was caught on a hook, and then light shone on the Tin Soldier and some one cried, "The Soldier!" It was strange but the cook at the little boy's house had bought the fish and when she cut it open she saw the Soldier and took him to the room above to show to the children.

It was the same dear room, and the children and toys, but best of all there was the Dancing Lady! The Soldier almost cried when he saw her, but they looked at each other and said not a word.

Then one of the boys without any reason took the poor Soldier and flung him in- to the fire. I am sure it was the Goblin who made him do it. The Soldier stood still in the awful heat; the color of his coat melted away. He looked at the dear little lady and she looked at him. He felt as if he were melting but he stood firm. 

Then the wind caught the Dancing Lady, and she flew through the air like a bird and came right in the fire near the Tin Soldier. A flash, and she was gone into the blaze!

The Tin Soldier melted in a lump at first and then he melted into the shape of a heart. The little lady was all gone, only the rose she had worn was left, and that was black as the coal.

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