Chapter VI. The Broken Leg
 

The White Rocking Horse stopped in the hall outside of Dorothy's room. The door was open, and in the dim glow of a night-light the Horse could see the Sawdust Doll on the bed.

"Hi there! Hist! Come on out here and have a talk!" called the Rocking Horse.

"What's that? Who is calling me?" asked the Sawdust Doll, for she had fallen asleep, being rather tired from having had so much Christmas fun that day.

"I am calling you," answered the White Rocking Horse. "Come on out into the hall. I don't want to come in, for fear some one might come along. And it would never do to let it be known that we toys can move and talk when no one sees us."

"Indeed, no; never!" exclaimed the Sawdust Doll. "Wait a minute and I'll come out to you. As you say, it would not do to be caught. I'll slip down and come out."

The White Rocking Horse waited in the hall. Soon he heard a little thud on the carpet. That was the Sawdust Doll sliding down out of Dorothy's bed to the floor. A moment later she stood beside the Rocking Horse in the hall.

"I hope you won't take cold," said the Horse softly. "It is breezy in this hall."

"Oh, no, I have a nice little warm shawl Dorothy made for me," answered the Sawdust Doll. "Thank you for thinking of me, though."

"Well, you see I want to be able to take a good report of you back to your friends in the toy store," neighed the Horse.

"Do you think you will ever get back there again?" the Doll asked, as she snuggled up in a corner, wrapping the shawl around her.

"I don't know," the Horse replied. "Of course I could rock back to the store if no one saw me, but it is a long way, and if I went through the streets I'd almost certainly be seen."

"I think so, too," said the Doll. "I'm afraid we shall just have to stay here together the rest of our lives."

"Well, I like it in this house since you are here," said the Horse. "And who knows, perhaps some of the other toys may join us here on some future Christmas or birthday."

"Wouldn't that be fine!" exclaimed the Doll, clapping her hands. "I'd dearly love to see the Bold Tin Soldier again, and the Calico Clown, the Lamb on Wheels, the Candy Rabbit and the Monkey on a Stick."

"I'd like to finish the race with the Elephant on his roller skates," said the Horse, laughing softly. "But I don't suppose I ever shall. He did look so funny when one skate came off!"

"I wish I had been there to see," said the Sawdust Doll. "Now tell me all that happened in the store after I left."

So the Horse told of the different happenings, how sometimes rough boys ran in and jumped on his back, and how one unpleasant chap punched the Calico Clown so hard that the cymbals were nearly broken, and how the Candy Rabbit had a bit of sugar chipped from one ear.

"Dear me! How exciting!" cried the Sawdust Doll.

"And now tell me about yourself," urged the White Rocking Horse. "Have you had any adventures??"

"Oh, I should say I had! Yes, indeed!" was the answer. "Did I tell you about the time Dick ran over me with the rocking chair, pretending it was a Horse like you? My sawdust ran out of a hole in my side, and I fainted!"

"No! Really? Did you?"

"Indeed I did. It was the strangest feeling!"

"But I should think, if all your sawdust ran out--and, really, how terrible that must have been--you wouldn't be here any more," said the Horse.

"Oh, it didn't all run out!" the Doll answered. "Dorothy's father hurried to the carpenter shop and got more sawdust, and Dorothy's mother sewed it, up in me so I was all right again."

"I'm glad of that," remarked the White Rocking Horse.

"So am I," said the Doll. "But do you know, since then, I have not been quite the same."

"In what way?" asked the White Rocking Horse.

"Well, I seem to have a little indigestion," went on the Sawdust Doll. "I think the carpenter shop sawdust they stuffed into me was not the same kind that was put in me when I was made in the North Pole shop of Santa Claus."

"Very likely not," agreed the Horse. "All sawdust is not alike. But still you are looking rather well."

"I am glad you think so," remarked the Doll. "But now let us talk of something pleasant. Tell me, again, about the race you had with the Elephant on his roller skates."

So the White Horse did, but as you know as much of that funny race as I do, there is no need of putting it in here again.

So the two friends talked together in the hall until, all of a sudden, the Doll exclaimed:

"Oh, it is getting daylight! We must go back to our places--you to Dick's room and I to Dorothy's. Quick!"

The White Rocking Horse galloped back down the hall, and the Doll made her way into the room of the little girl whose birthday present she was.

Now whether the carpenter shop sawdust was not the right kind to enable the Doll to move quickly enough, and whether the oil the clerk had rubbed on the side of the Horse made him a bit slow and slippery, I cannot say. Anyhow, daylight suddenly broke just as the Doll reached the side of Dorothy's bed, and before she had time to climb up into it by taking hold of the blankets.

As for the Horse, he was only half way inside Dick's room when the sun came up and awakened both children. And of course, their eyes being open, Dorothy looking at her Doll and Dick at his Horse, neither toy dared move.

"Oh! Oh!" cried Dick, when he saw that his White Rocking Horse was on the other side of the room from where he had left it when he went to sleep the night before. "Oh! Oh! Some one had my Horse!"

"What makes you think so?" asked his father, coming in to see what Dick was shouting about.

"Because he's moved," the little boy answered. "My Rocking Horse has moved!"

"I guess the wind blew him," said Daddy. "The wind from your open window blew on the horse, made him rock to and fro, and he moved in that way."

But Dick shook his head.

"Either my Horse moved by himself in the night when I was asleep," he said, "or else somebody was riding him."

And when Dorothy awakened and saw her Doll lying on the carpet just under the edge of the bed, the little girl cried out, as Dick had done:

"Oh! Oh! Oh!"

"What's the matter?" asked Mother, hurrying in.

"Somebody took my Doll out of bed, or else she got out herself in the night!" said Dorothy.

"She probably fell out," said Mother, with a laugh. "The Doll couldn't get out herself, and no one has been in your room."

But we know what happened, don't we?

One day, about a week after Christmas, there came a warm, sunny day.

"May I take my Rocking Horse out on the porch and ride him?" asked Dick of his mother.

"Yes," she answered.

"And I'll take my Sawdust Doll out there, and maybe Mirabell and Arnold will come over and we can have a play party," said Dorothy.

The children went out on the porch, and they could look over next door and see their two little friends.

"See how fast I can ride my horse!" called Dick to Arnold.

The boy got up on the back of the White Horse and rocked to and fro. And the Horse traveled across the porch, as a rocking chair sometimes travels across the room.

"Oh, he's a fine Horse!" cried Arnold, as he came over to play, bringing his toy train of cars with him. And Mirabell brought her wax doll. "Let me ride him, Dick, will you?"

After Dick and Arnold had taken turns riding on the White Horse, they left him on the edge of the porch to play with the toy train. Suddenly Carlo, the fuzzy dog that had once carried the Sawdust Doll out to his kennel, hiding her in the straw, ran around the corner of the house, barking loudly.

"Bow-wow! Bow-wow!" barked Carlo, and he ran straight for the White Rocking Horse.

How it happened no one seemed to know, but Carlo upset the Horse, which tumbled down the porch steps with many a bang and bump.

"Dear me!" thought the Horse, "This is not a pleasant adventure at all! What is going to happen?"

"Bang! Bump! Crack!" sounded he rolled over and over down the steps.

"Oh, what a pain in my leg!" said White Rocking Horse to himself.

Dick ran over to his toy, and when he saw his White Horse lying on the sidewalk at the foot of the steps, the little boy cried:

"Oh, his leg is broken! Oh, the leg of my White Rocking Horse is broken! I can never ride him again!"