Chapter V. In Great Danger
 

"Look, Mirabell!" cried Arnold, pointing to the Lamb as she went down the ironing board. "Didn't I tell you she could coast without any snow?"

"Yes, you did, and she really is doing it!" laughed the little girl, clapping her hands. "Oh, isn't it nice? I never thought a Lamb could coast downhill!"

"I never did, either," said the woolly Lamb to herself. "This is the first time I was ever made to do a thing like this, and I hope it will be the last! Oh, how fast I am going!"

"It's the wheels on her that make her coast so nice," explained Arnold, when the Lamb was half way down the ironing-board hill. "If she didn't have them she wouldn't roll down at all. A Sawdust Doll can't do it, nor a Rocking Horse. It's got to be something with wheels."

When the Lamb heard this, as, of course, she did hear, having ears, she thought to herself:

"Well, maybe this will not be so bad, after all. I can do things, it seems, that the Sawdust Doll and Rocking Horse cannot do. Not that I am going to be proud, or stuck up," went on the Lamb to herself.

"Oh, look at her go!" cried Dick.

"Yes, but I hope she won't be hurt," said the little girl. "I wouldn't want my Lamb on Wheels that Uncle Tim just gave me to be hurt."

"I should say not!" thought the Lamb to herself. "Sliding down ironing- board hills may be something not many other toys can do, but I don't want anything to happen."

Faster and faster she went, and finally she reached the end of the board and came to the smooth oilcloth on the floor. Then the wheels carried her across that to the far side of the room, and the Lamb brought up with a little bump against the baseboard.

"Oh, I hope she isn't hurt!" cried Mirabell, as she ran to pick up her toy.

And the Lamb was all right--there was not even a kink out of place in her soft, woolly coat.

So Mirabell and Arnold had fun letting the Lamb on Wheels coast down the ironing-board hill. Again and again they gave her a nice, long slide across the smooth oilcloth on the kitchen floor.

"Now this is the last," said Mirabell, after a while. "I want to put her to sleep."

Once more the Lamb was lifted to the high part of the ironing board and allowed to coast down on her wheels. But, alas! this time, just as she was rolling over the kitchen floor, one of the wheels hit against Arnold's foot. Instead of going in a straight line the Lamb swung off to one side. Straight toward the outside door she rolled, and just then Susan, the cook, came in from out-of-doors.

Susan held the door open for a moment, and before either Mirabell or Arnold could stop the Lamb, out she rolled to the back steps.

"Oh, my Lamb! My Lamb!" cried Mirabell. "She'll break her legs if she falls down the steps!"

Down the back steps, bumpity-bump went the Lamb on Wheels. But she did not break any of her four legs, I am glad to say.

Just how it happened I do not know, but when Mirabell and Arnold ran out to pick up the Lamb on Wheels the children found that the toy was not in the least hurt, except, maybe, the wool was ruffled up a little.

"Dear me, what a lot of adventures I am having!" thought the Lamb, as Mirabell picked her up. "I wish I could tell the Calico Clown or the Bold Tin Soldier something about them. They are quite remarkable, I think!"

"Is she hurt?" asked Arnold, as he saw his sister holding her new toy.

"No, she seems to be all right," replied Mirabell. "But I'm not going to slide her down the ironing-board hill any more to-day. She must go to sleep."

So the board was hung away, and soon the Lamb was put in a little stable Mirabell made for her out of a pasteboard box. The stable was set in a corner of the playroom, near a little Wooden Lion that had once lived in a Noah's Ark. He was the only one of the Ark animals left. Arnold or Mirabell had lost all the others.

"Don't be afraid of me! I won't bite you," said the Wooden Lion to the Lamb on Wheels, when they were left alone in the playroom. The children had gone downstairs to supper with Uncle Tim, and the sailor was telling them many jolly stories of the sea.

"Oh, I'm not afraid of you," said the Lamb on Wheels to the Wooden Lion. "I am much larger than you, even if you are like the jungle animals."

"It isn't my fault that I am small," said the Wooden Lion, a little crossly, the Lamb thought. "I had to be made that way to fit in the Ark. You ought to see the Elephant. He isn't much larger than myself!"

"Did he have on roller skates?" asked the Lamb.

"Roller skates!" exclaimed the Wooden Lion. "Why! who ever heard of such a thing? A Noah's Ark Elephant on roller skates! The idea!"

"Oh, you needn't get so excited," said the Lamb, as she wiggled her short tail the least bit. "In the toy store, where I came from, we had an Elephant who put on roller skates and raced with a White Rocking Horse."

"I wish I could have seen that," said the little Wooden Lion. "It must have been funny."

"It was," said the Lamb on Wheels. "The Elephant wanted to race with me, after the Horse was taken away. But I was sold, too, and brought here."

"I am glad to see you," said the Noah's Ark Lion. "I have been quite lonesome. There used to be a number of us--there was a Tiger, a Camel, a Monkey, a Hippopotamus, and, oh! ever so many others, besides the Elephant. But we are all scattered. I am the only one left. Tell me, were you ever in a Noah's Ark?"

"I never was," admitted the Lamb. "Is it nice?"

"Well, yes, only it's a bit crowded," answered the Wooden Lion. "But it has to be that way, I suppose. I like it better in this playroom, as I can move about more. But still I was lonesome until you came. Let us be friends, and tell each other our adventures."

So the Lamb told of the fun she had had in the toy store with the Bold Tin Soldier, the Calico Clown, and the others. She told of having been taken away by the jolly sailor, and how afraid she was that she would be seasick.

"But it was all right when I found he was bringing me to a home on shore with Mirabell," said the Lamb. Then she told of her slide down the ironing board.

"Now I will tell you some of the things that happened to me," said the Wooden Lion. So he related his adventures--how once he and the other animals had been jumbled together and piled into the Ark.

"And then, all of a sudden, that boy Arnold took the Ark and dropped it in the bathtub full of water, with all us animals inside!" said the Lion.

"Good gracious! why did he do that?" asked the Lamb, in surprise.

"Oh, he said he was pretending there was another flood, and he wanted to see if any of us could swim," the Lion answered.

"Could you?" the Lamb wanted to know.

"Well, those of us who couldn't swim could float, so none of us was drowned," the Lion answered. "Only being soaked in the water, as I was, made some of the paint come off my tail. I really haven't been the same Lion since," he added, with a sorrowful sigh.

"That is too bad," said the Lamb sympathetically.

"Of course Arnold was smaller than he is now, and he was not so kind to his toys as he has since learned to be," resumed the Wooden Lion. "He really meant no harm. But, as I say, I am the only one of the Noah's Ark animals left, and really I am very glad to have you to talk to."

The two new friends spent some time together telling each other their different adventures, and then, suddenly, the door of the playroom opened and Mirabell came in.

"Hush! Not another word!" said the Wooden Lion in a whisper.

"Well, I guess my Lamb has slept long enough," said Mirabell, picking up her new toy. "I'll have some fun with her before I go to bed."

She petted her Lamb, and took off the blue ribbon from the woolly creature's neck.

"I must smooth it out and tie a better bow," said Mirabell. "It got all mussed when you slid down the ironing board."

So Mirabell played with her Lamb until it was time for the little girl to go to bed. Uncle Tim came up to see Mirabell and Arnold to say good- bye, for he was going on a sea voyage.

"And bring me a parrot when you come back!" begged Arnold.

"Would you like a monkey, Mirabell?" asked the jolly sailor.

"No, thank you," she answered. "A monkey is nice, but he might pull the wool off my Lamb."

"That's so--he might!" laughed the jolly sailor. "Well, good-bye, Mirabell, Arnold, and the Lamb on Wheels."

Then Uncle Tim went away and the children went to bed, while the Lamb on Wheels was put in the pasteboard box stable, near the Wooden Lion. And in the night they played together and had a fine time.

The Lamb on Wheels, in the days that followed, began to feel quite at home in Mirabell's house, and she liked her little girl mistress better and better, for Mirabell was very kind.

"Some day, when it gets warmer, I'll take my Lamb over to Dorothy's house and let her see the Sawdust Doll," said Mirabell to her brother.

"And I'll take my fire engine over and I'll ride on Dick's Rocking Horse," said Arnold. "But it is so cold now the water in my engine might freeze if I took it over to Dick's house."

"Yes, it is cold," agreed Mirabell. "I guess I'll take my Lamb down to the sitting room, where there's a fire on the hearth."

"I'll come too," said Arnold. "I'll bring my little fire engine."

Soon the two children were having a good time with their toys in front of the fireplace in the sitting room. On the hearth blazed a snapping, crackling warm fire of logs.

"Now you can get nice and warm," said Mirabell to her Lamb, as she set her down close to the fireplace. "You stay here and get warm, and I'll go and ask Susan for some cookies to eat."

Arnold also went to the kitchen with his sister, and when the two children came back to the sitting room they saw a dreadful sight. A spark had popped out from the hearth and set fire to a piece of paper on the floor near the Lamb on Wheels.

"Oh, she'll burn! My Lamb on Wheels will burn!" cried Mirabell, as she rushed forward.