Pretty Tales


5. The Thief In The Dolls' House

Lucy and Kate had a kind aunt; and one very cold day, when the snow was on the ground, she sent them a New Year's Gift. It was a little house for dolls to live in, and there were four rooms in it, and tables and chairs. Two of the rooms were below, and two of them were above. In each of the two rooms that were above, there was a little wooden frame for a bed to lie on, but there was no bed on it, and no pillow, and there were no sheets, nor anything else of the kind. Their aunt sent word that Lucy and Kate must make the things that were wanted, and it would help them to learn to sew.

Their aunt also sent two little wax dolls to be in the house. One of the dolls had on a pink silk frock, and the other had on a blue frock.

So their mother gave them some linen to make the sheets, and to make a case for each of the beds, and for the pillows. Lucy and Kate said to each other, "What shall we put into the beds, to make them soft, like the bed in baby's cot?" And Lucy said, "Nurse has got some bran in a bag; I will ask her to give us some to put into the beds." Then Kate said that bran would do very well.

They went to ask nurse, and she was very kind, and she said, "I think it would be better to stuff the beds with wool." The little girls said, "Yes, give us some bran, if you please, nurse. We have not any wool, and we do not want to wait till we can get some, for we do not like our dolls to sit up all night."

For a long time after this, Lucy and Kate played with their dolls, and the pretty house, and every night they took off the silk frocks, and put on the white caps and the night-gowns, and laid each doll in its own little bed. And then they shut the door of the house. But one night they were in a hurry, for their aunt was come to see them, and they did not shut the door quite fast.

The next day, when play-time came, the little girls went into the room where all their toys were kept. Kate went up to the corner where the dolls' house stood, for they had a place for everything, and tried to keep everything in its place. But the door of the house stood open, and as soon as Kate looked in, she called for Lucy in great haste. "O Lucy! come, quick! quick! There has been a thief in our dolls' house, and here are our poor dolls lying on the floor!"

Lucy ran to look, and she saw the two dolls, each lying on the floor in its own room, and the rooms in a litter with bits of bran. Lucy and Kate lifted up the dolls with great care, but they were not hurt, for the beds were not far from the floor, and so they had not had a very bad fall. It was plain that some thief had been in the house, for the chairs and tables were not in their right places, and nearly all the bran that had been in the beds was gone away. As for the bed-rooms, they were in such a litter that they were not fit to be seen. Then Lucy and Kate said, "Who could the thief have been? And how did he get in?"

Now nurse had begun to dress the baby in the nest room, but when she heard Lucy and Kate call to each other, she laid the baby in his cot, and came to see what was the matter. The little girls each laid hold of her hand, and cried out, "O nurse! there has been a thief in our dolls' house!" So nurse looked in, and when she saw the rooms in a litter, and the bran lying about on the floor, she began to laugh. And she said, "Yes, there has been a thief. I can see that some poor little hungry mouse has been in your house, and has ate up the bran that was in the beds."

The little girls then began to laugh too, and Lucy said, "How could the mouse get in?" And nurse told them that the door could not have been shut close the night before, and so the mouse pushed it quite open, and went in.

Then Lucy and Kate ran to tell their mother, and she came to look at the dolls' house, and to see the litter that the thief had made with the bran upon the floor. So she gave them some more linen to make new cases for the beds, and they set to work again that same day. But they took care this time to stuff the beds and the pillows with nice soft wool, that the hungry mouse might not eat them up when next he wanted a supper.