Written by Laura Lee Hope.
Archie was so surprised at what happened that, for a moment, he could do nothing but stand and look at the stream of oats gliding down the wooden chute to the bin on the floor below.
“There goes your Elephant!” cried Elsie again. “He fell right into the oats, Archie!”
“Yes—yes—I—I see he did!” stammered the little boy.
“I’m glad my Doll didn’t go, too!” went on Elsie. “I guess I’d better take her away before she tumbles in.”
Elsie reached over to take her toy from the side of the oat bin where the Doll had been put.
But Elsie’s foot slipped on some hay on the floor, she tried to save herself from falling, her arm struck her Doll, and, a moment later, the Doll was sliding down the stream of smooth oats as the Elephant had done.
“Oh! No!” cried Archie. “Look at your Doll! She went down just like my Elephant!”
“Oh, No! Oh, dear!” wailed Elsie. “Where has she gone?”
“Down into the oat bin on the first floor,” explained Archie. “The oats go from this big bin to the little bin where Jake takes them out to give to the horses. Don’t cry, Elsie. We’ll get your Doll back.”
Archie had almost been going to cry himself when he saw his Elephant being buried in the rushing stream of oats. But when he heard his sister’s sobs he made up his mind to be brave and try to help her.
Archie was so excited that he still held up the sliding door of the oat bin, and the grains kept on sliding down the chute, carrying with them the Elephant and Doll, though now the toys were not in sight.
“Come on downstairs and get my Doll!” begged Elsie, tugging at her brother’s hand. “Come on and get your Elephant and my Doll.”
“Yup, we’d better do that,” Archie agreed.
Then he saw that he was still holding open the little door in the oat bin, so that pecks and bushels of the grains were still sliding down the chute.
“I’d better close that, or the Elephant and the Doll will be buried away down under so many oats they’ll never get out,” said the little boy.
He let go of the handle that they had pulled to raise the door, and it dropped shut, stopping any more oats from sliding down the chute. Then he took Elsie’s hand and hurried toward the stairs that led to the lower floor of the barn.
Meanwhile, as you probably have guessed, the Elephant and the Doll were not having a very good time. At first, when the Elephant felt himself fall in with the sliding oats, he did not know what had happened.
“I wonder what sort of adventure this is!” thought the Elephant. “It’s almost as bad as being thrown out into a snow drift, though I’m glad it isn’t cold. These oats are very scratchy, though, and they make me want to sneeze. But where am I going?”
The Elephant did not know. All he could tell was that he was being carried along in the dark with a lot of oats, for it was dark inside the grain chute.
Down, down, down went the Elephant, just as he had gone up, up, up on the rope.
“Where will I land?” thought the Elephant.
A moment later he found out, for he was shot from the chute into an almost empty grain bin on the lower floor. Out of the chute tumbled the Elephant, and he was very glad to be in an open space once more.
“But it is almost as dark as it was before,” he said and little light came from the top of the bin which did not close tightly, but it was only a little light.
But the Elephant’s troubles were not over. For no sooner had he been slid clear of the chute, landing on his feet, very luckily, than more oats poured out, for Archie was still holding open the door of the grain bin up above. So many oats came sliding down the chute that they rose all around the Elephant like rising water around a rock. The oats rose to his knees, to his stomach, where they tickled him a little, and then began to rise over his back.
“Oh!” he trumpeted, raising his trunk as high as he could. “I am going to be covered from sight in the oats!”
And then, when the oats almost covered his eyes, he had a glimpse of the Doll coming down the chute, in a shower of oats.
“Oh, you poor child!” called the Elephant.
“Yes, isn’t this terrible!” exclaimed the Doll. “Oh, how are we ever going to get out?”
The Elephant tried to answer, but now the oats rose over his mouth and he could not speak. Only the top of his head and the tip of his trunk stuck out above the oats.
The Doll, having come down a little later, was not so deeply covered by the grains. She tried to stand up, to keep her head as far above the oats as she could, but it was hard work. Around and around she slipped, from side to side.
More and more oats poured down, for Archie still held open the door, and at last the poor Doll was covered from sight, as was the Elephant.
And it was now that Archie and Elsie came racing down the stairs. Archie called:
“Jake! Jake! Where are you? Please, come here! Oh, my Elephant is in the oat bin, and so is Elsie’s Doll, and we’ve just got to get ’em out! We’ve just got to!”
“What’s that? Elsie is in the oat bin?” cried Jake, who had just come back to the barn.
“No, not Elsie, but her Doll!” shouted Archie. “And so is my Stuffed Elephant.”
“Well, that isn’t as bad as if one of you children were in the bin,” replied Jake. “I’ll help you, though. Show me which bin.”
Archie told him what he had done, and when Jake opened the bin on the lower floor it was full to the top and running over with oats.
“You surely let down enough grain,” said Jake.
“How are you going to get my Doll?” Elsie asked.
“And my Elephant?” added Archie.
“Oh, I’ll shovel them out,” said Jake. “Don’t be afraid. I’ll get the Doll and the Elephant.”
“Well, you’d better hurry, ’cause they might smother,” Elsie said.
“I’ll hurry,” promised Jake.
With a shovel he carefully took some of the oats from the bin, so that first Elsie’s Doll could be seen, and then the Elephant came into view.
“There you are!” said kind Jake, as he handed the toys back to the children.
“My, wasn’t that a terrible time?” said the Doll to the Elephant that night, when they were left by themselves in a closet.
“I should say so!” agreed the Elephant. “I never want anything like that to happen again! I hope I have no more adventures!”
But he was to have more.
For a time, however, nothing very exciting happened. Archie played with his Elephant and Elsie with her Doll, and their boy and girl friends brought over their toys to have fun with. Often they amused themselves in the big, warm barn, though Archie did not go near the grain bin again.
Sometimes Nip, the big dog, would go to the barn to play with the children, and once, though not meaning to, the Elephant gave the dog a fright. It happened like this.
Archie had set his elephant down on the barn floor, near a big box. Nip, the dog, coming suddenly around the corner of the box, did not know the Elephant was there until a draft of wind swayed the Elephant’s trunk, making it wiggle to and fro.
“Oh, my! A snake! A snake!” cried Nip, who was afraid of the crawling creatures. “It’s a big snake!”
“Nonsense! I’m not a snake,” said the Elephant, who could speak, since Elsie and Archie were in another part of the barn.
“What was it that looked like a snake?” howled Nip.
“It was my trunk. The wind blew it,” said the Elephant.
“Hum!” said Nip, who, now that he took a second look, saw that there was really no snake, and nothing to frighten him. “Hum! I think you did that on purpose, just to scare me!”
“No, really I didn’t!” said the Elephant.
“Yes, you did, too!” barked Nip. “And, just for that, I’m going to play a trick on you!”
“Please don’t!” begged the Elephant.
“Yes, I will!” growled Nip, who was a little angry, and not as kind as he might have been. “I’m going to carry you off!” he barked.
Then, before the Elephant could do anything to save himself, Nip, the big dog, caught the soft Stuffed Elephant up by his back and carried him into a dark and distant part of the barn.