Louise was just going out of the door with her sled when her mother called to her. Louise hesitated, for she knew that her mother was calling her to make her play-room tidy and she wanted to go coasting with the other kids.
She went back slowly and asked, “What is it, mother?”
“Your play-room must be put in order before you can go out to play,” her mother replied. “You have had plenty of time this week to do it, but you have neglected it, and now you cannot put it off another day.”
“Why can’t Jane do it?” asked Louise.
“Jane will clean the room,” her mother replied, “but it is your duty to pick up the books and toys that are thrown around.”
Louise pouted, but she knew that she must do as her mother said, and she took off her hat and coat and went up to her play-room. She went in and closed the door. It certainly was a very messy-looking room. Books were on the floor and games were on the table, doll clothes were thrown in all parts of the room.
Louise had picked up most of the things when she saw from the window her little friend Clara passing the house. “Clara!” she called, “wait for me, I have to put my play-room in order before I can go coasting.” But Clara would not wait.
Louise closed the window, threw herself on the couch, and began to cry, saying she thought it was mean everyone was going coasting but her.
All at once she saw two little girls walking toward her. They looked just like her dolls–Bella and Emily–only they were as large as herself.
Louise tried to get up, but she was unable to move.
“Let us undress her,” said Bella Doll, coming over to Louise and lifting her by one arm.
“Yes,” said Emily Doll, “and comb her hair.”
Then Louise knew what had happened–she had turned into a doll and the dolls had become little girls.
The doll girls undressed Louise and put on her nightdress, pulling it over her head in the most careless manner, Louise thought. Then they combed her hair, pulling it terribly.
“I wonder how she likes to have her hair pulled,” said Bella Doll.
“She knows how it feels, now,” said Emily.
“I think she better go out,” said Bella Doll, “instead of going to bed,” and they dressed her in a thin white dress. “Now we will take her out in the cold; that is the way she does with us.”
They fastened her clothes with pins and pushed them right through her body, and after she was dressed they changed their minds about taking her out and threw her on the floor and began playing games.
“I wonder if they are going to leave me here,” thought Louise. “Someone will be sure to step on me.” Just then she saw a Teddy Bear lying on his side under the couch. “Why are you under there?” Louise asked.
“The little girl who was playing with me dropped me back of the couch a week ago,” he said, “and I have been here ever since, and you will probably remain on the floor where you are now, for she never picks up her toys. She is a very careless girl.”
Louise did not reply, for just then Emily Doll came over to the couch for a book and pushed Louise out of the way with her foot. Bella Doll set out a croquet set and one of the balls hit Louise on the head. Then Emily dropped her book and said: “Come along, Bella, let us go outdoors.”
Louise watched them as they went out. “Oh, this is the way she always leaves her room,” said Teddy Bear, for he could not see from under the couch there were two little girls, and thought it was Louise who went out of the door. “She never thinks of us,” the Teddy Bear continued, “or how uncomfortable we may be, for she is very careless and an untidy girl.”
The door opened and Bella Doll came in. She went over to the couch for her hat and Louise saw her foot over her head. “She will break me if she steps on me,” cried poor Louise, and she jumped up as she cried aloud.
There she was on the couch. She had been asleep. She got up and finished her work, when suddenly she thought of the Teddy Bear, and looked under the couch. There he was on his side just as she had seen him in her dream.
Louise picked him up and set him in a chair; then she looked at Bella’s clothes to make sure there were no pins pricking her, and after looking at Emily also she put both of them in a comfortable place.
Her books were put on a shelf, and she resolved never again to let her room get so untidy or to let her dolls or Teddy Bear suffer from neglect. “Perhaps they do feel things,” she said. “Anyway, I’ll be sure not to hurt them or let them be in uncomfortable positions, for I was very miserable lying on the floor thinking I might be stepped upon.”