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sailed down the gutter, and the two boys ran beside him and clapped their hands. How the waves rose in that gutter and how fast the stream ran! But then it had been a heavy rain. The paper boat rocked up and down, and sometimes turned round so rapidly that the Tin Soldier trembled; but he remained firm, and never changed countenance, and looked straight before him, and shouldered his musket.
All at once the boat went into a long drain which was as dark as his box had been.
“Where am I going now?” he thought. “Yes, yes, that's the Goblin's fault. Ah! if only the little Lady sat here with me in the boat, it might be twice as dark for all I should care.”
Suddenly there came a great Water Rat, whose home was under the drain.
“Have you a passport?” said the Rat. “Give me your passport.”
But the Tin Soldier kept silence, and held his musket tighter than ever.
The boat went on, but the Rat came after it. Hu! how he gnashed his teeth, and called out to the bits of straw and wood:
“Hold him! hold him! He hasn't paid toll—he hasn't shown his passport!”
But the stream became stronger and stronger. The Tin Soldier could see the bright daylight where the arch ended; but he heard a roaring noise, which might well frighten a bolder man. Only thinkjust where the tunnel ended, the drain ran into a great canal; and for him that would have been as dangerous as for us to be carried down a great waterfall.
Now he was already so near it that he could not stop. The boat was carried out, the poor Tin Soldier stiffening himself as much as he could, and no one could say that he moved an eyelid. The boat whirled round three or four times, and was full of water to the very edge—it must sink. The Tin Soldier stood up to his neck in water, and the boat sank deeper and deeper, and the paper was loosened more and more; and now the water closed over his head. Then he thought of the pretty little Dancer, and how he should never see her again. A snatch of song sounded in the Soldier's ears: “Farewell, farewell, thou warrior brave,
For this day thou must die!” And now the paper parted, and the Tin Soldier fell out; but at that moment he was snapped up by a great fish.
Oh, how dark it was in that fish's body! It was even darker than in the drain tunnel; and then it was very narrow, too. But the Tin Soldier remained unmoved, and lay at full length shouldering his musket.
The fish swam to and fro; he made the most wonderful movements, and then became quite still. At last something flashed through him like lightning. The daylight shone quite clear, and a voice said aloud, “The Tin Soldier!” The fish had been caught, carried to market, bought, and taken into the kitchen, where the cook cut him open with a large knife. He seized the Soldier and carried him into the room, where all were anxious to see the remarkable man who had traveled about in the inside of a fish; but the Tin Soldier was not at all proud. They placed him on the table, and there-
no! What curious things may happen in the world! The Tin Soldier was in the very room in which he had been before! He saw the same children, and the same toys stood on the table; and there was the pretty castle with the graceful little Dancer. She was still balancing herself on one leg, and held the other extended in the air. She was hardy, too. That moved the Tin Soldier; he was very nearly weeping tin tears, but that would not have been proper. He looked at her, but they said nothing to each other.
Then one of the little boys took the Tin Soldier and flung him into the stove. He gave no reason for doing this. It must have been the fault of the Goblin in the snuffbox.
The Tin Soldier stood there quite illuminated, and felt a heat that was terrible; but whether this heat proceeded from the real fire or from love he
did not know. The colors had quite gone off from him; but whether that had happened on the journey, or had been caused by grief, no one could say. He looked at the little Lady, she looked at him, and he felt that he was melting; but he still stood firm, shouldering his musket.
Then suddenly the door flew open, and the draught of air caught the Dancer, and she flew like a sylph just into the stove to the Tin Soldier, and flashed up in a flame, and then was gone. Then the Tin Soldier melted down into a lump; and when the servant-maid took the ashes out next day, she found him in the shape of a little tin heart. But of the Dancer nothing remained but the tinsel rose, and that was burned as black as a coal.
THE BAT AND THE TWO WEASELS
hard for his life. “No, no,” said the Weasel; “I give no quarter to birds.”
“Birds!” cried the Bat. “I am no bird. I am a mouse. Look at my body.”
And so she got off that time.
A few days afterward she fell into the clutches of another Weasel, who, unlike the former, had a stronger antipathy to mice than to birds. The Bat cried for mercy.
“No,” said the Weasel; “I show no mercy to a mouse.”
“But,” said the Bat, "you can see from my wings that I am a bird.”
And so she escaped that time as well.
By Robert Louis STEVENSON Bring the comb and play upon it!
Marching, here we come! Willie cocks his Highland bonnet,
Johnnie beats the drum.
Mary Jane commands the party,
Peter leads the rear;
Each a Grenadier!
All in the most martial manner
Marching double-quick; While the napkin like a banner
Waves upon the stick!
Here's enough of fame and pillage,
Great commander Jane! Now that we've been round the village,
Let's go home again.