“Whee! It’s good to be back home again!” said Raggedy Andy to the other dolls, as he stretched his feet out in front of the little toy stove and rubbed his rag hands briskly together, as if to warm them.
All the dolls laughed at Raggedy Andy for doing this, for they knew there had never been a fire in the little toy stove in all the time it had been in the nursery. And that was a long time.
“We are so glad and happy to have you back home again with us!” the dolls told Raggedy Andy. “For we have missed you very, very much!”
“Well,” Raggedy Andy replied, as he held his rag hands over the tiny lid of the stove and rubbed them again, “I have missed all of you, too, and wished many times that you had been with me to join in and share in the pleasures and frolics I’ve had.”
And as Raggedy Andy continued to hold his hands over the little stove, Uncle Clem asked him why he did it.
Raggedy Andy smiled and leaned back in his chair. “Really,” he said, “I wasn’t paying any attention to what I was doing! I’ve spent so much of my time while I was away drying out my soft cotton stuffing it seems as though it has almost become a habit.”
“Were you wet most of the time, Raggedy Andy?” the French doll asked.
“Nearly all the time!” Raggedy Andy replied. “First I would get sopping wet and then I would freeze!”
“Freeze!” exclaimed all the dolls in one breath.
“Dear me, yes!” Raggedy Andy laughed. “Just see here!” And Raggedy Andy pulled his sleeve up and showed where his rag arm had been mended.
“That was quite a rip!” he smiled.
“Dear! Dear! How in the world did it happen? On a nail?” Henny, the Dutch doll, asked as he put his arm about Raggedy Andy.
“Froze!” said Raggedy Andy.
The dolls gathered around Raggedy Andy and examined the rip in his rag arm.
“It’s all right now!” he laughed. “But you should have seen me when it happened! I was frozen into one solid cake of ice all the way through, and when Marcella tried to limber up my arm before it had thawed out, it went, ‘Pop!’ and just burst.
“Then I was placed in a pan of nice warm water until the icy cotton inside me had melted, and then I was hung up on a line above the kitchen stove, out at Grandma’s.”
“But how did you happen to get so wet and then freeze?” asked Raggedy Ann.
“Out across the road from Grandma’s home, ‘way out in the country, there is a lovely pond,” Raggedy Andy explained. “In the summertime pretty flowers grow about the edge, the little green frogs sit upon the pond lilies and beat upon their tiny drums all through the night, and the twinkling stars wink at their reflections in the smooth water. But when Marcella and I went out to Grandma’s, last week, Grandma met us with a sleigh, for the ground was covered with starry snow. The pretty pond was covered with ice, too, and upon the ice was a soft blanket of the white, white snow. It was beautiful!” said Raggedy Andy.
“Grandma had a lovely new sled for Marcella, a shiny red one with runners.
“And after we had visited Grandma a while, we went to the pond for a slide.
“It was heaps of fun, for there was a little hill at one end of the pond so that when we coasted down, we went scooting across the pond like an arrow.
“Marcella would turn the sled sideways, just for fun, and she and I would fall off and go sliding upon the ice upon our backs, leaving a clean path of ice, where we pushed aside the snow as we slid. Then Marcella showed me how to make ‘angels’ in the soft snow!”
“Oh, tell us how, Raggedy Andy!” shouted all the dollies.
“It’s very easy!” said Raggedy Andy. “Marcella would lie down upon her back in the snow and put her hands back up over her head, then she would bring her hands in a circle down to her sides, like this.” And Raggedy Andy lay upon the floor of the nursery and showed the dollies just how it was done. “Then,” he added, “when she stood up it would leave the print of her body and legs in the white, white snow, and where she had swooped her arms there were the ‘angel’s wings!'”
“It must have looked just like an angel!” said Uncle Clem.
“Indeed it was very pretty!” Raggedy Andy answered. “Then Marcella made a lot of ‘angels’ by placing me in the snow and working my arms; so you see, what with falling off the sled so much and making so many ‘angels,’ we both were wet, but I was completely soaked through. My cotton just became soppy and I was ever so much heavier! Then Grandma, just as we were having a most delightful time, came to the door and ‘Ooh-hooed’ to Marcella to come and get a nice new doughnut. So Marcella, thinking to return in a minute, left me lying upon the sled and ran through the snow to Grandma’s. And there I stayed and stayed until I began to feel stiff and could hear the cotton inside me go, ‘Tic! Tic!’ as it began to freeze.
“I lay upon the sled until after the sun went down. Two little Chickadees came and sat upon the sled and talked to me in their cute little bird language, and I watched the sky in the west get golden red, then turn into a deep crimson purple and finally a deep blue, as the sun went farther down around the bend of the earth. After it had been dark for some time, I heard someone come through the snow and could see the yellow light of a lantern. It was Grandma.
“She pulled the sled over in back of her house and did not see that I was upon it until she turned to go in the kitchen; then she picked me up and took me inside. ‘He’s frozen as stiff as a board!’ she told Marcella as she handed me to her. Marcella did not say why she had forgotten to come for me, but I found out afterwards that it was because she was so wet. Grandma made her change her clothes and shoes and stockings and would not permit her to go out and play again.
“Well, anyway,” concluded Raggedy Andy, “Marcella tried to limber my arm and, being almost solid ice, it just burst. And that is the way it went all the time we were out at Grandma’s; I was wet nearly all the time. But I wish you could all have been with me to share in the fun.”
And Raggedy Andy again leaned over the little toy stove and rubbed his rag hands briskly together.
Uncle Clem went to the waste paper basket and came back with some scraps of yellow and red paper. Then, taking off one of the tiny lids, he stuffed the paper in part of the way as if the flames were “shooting up!”
Then, as all the dolls’ merry laughter rang out, Raggedy Andy stopped rubbing his hands, and catching Raggedy Ann about the waist, he went skipping across the nursery floor with her, whirling so fast neither saw that they had gone out through the door until it was too late. For coming to the head of the stairs, they both went head over heels, “blumpity, blumpity, blump!” over and over, until they wound up, laughing, at the bottom.
“Last one up is a rotten egg!” cried Raggedy Ann, as she scrambled to her feet. And with her skirts in her rag hands she went racing up the stairs to where the rest of the dollies stood laughing.
“Hurrah, for Raggedy Ann!” cried Raggedy Andy generously. “She won!”