Tales of the Toys (Little Book No. 5)
First edition: 1942
Publisher: Evans Brothers
Illustrator: Alfred Kerr
Category: Evans Little Books
Type: Short Story Series Books
Publisher: Evans Brothers
Illustrator: Alfred Kerr
Category: Evans Little Books
Type: Short Story Series Books
On This Page...
- The Land Of Wooden Horses
Story: Sunny Stories for Little Folks No.140 Apr 1932
- Go Away, Black Cat!
Story: Sunny Stories No.179 Jun 14, 1940
- The Sensible Train
Story: Sunny Stories No.174 May 10, 1940
- The Toy Sweet-Shop
Story: Sunny Stories No.173 May 3, 1940
- The Toy Zoo
Story: Teachers World No.1762 Mar 3, 1937
The person with more toys than anybody else in the street is a boy called Morris. He has a scooter and soldiers and spinning tops and puzzles and even a small sweet-shop. On Saturdays he tends to play with his two wooden horses that run on wooden wheels.
One day Morris has an idea. He takes the wooden cart outside, ties his two horses to the shaft, and then sits himself down. He wants the horses to pull him along ... and they actually do so when he jerks the reins. We might wonder how this is possible but upon learning the cart and horses are on a slope it all becomes clear. Away they go on a journey that lasts only until they reach a part where the ground levels out.
Morris is angry when they come to a halt and he jerks the reins to urge his horses on because he wants the other children to see him, but the horses won't budge. Morris takes up his whip and slashes them even though he knows they won't move and then a strange thing happens. The horses start neighing loudly and then leap right off their wooden stands to gallop away for all they're worth with Morris still in the cart being dragged along behind them! The passing children are astonished to see such a spectacle and they hear Morris yelling out,
"Stop! Stop! You'll upset the cart!"
The horses ignore his command however and continue hurtling along until Morris notices he's in unfamiliar surroundings where the houses, shops and people are very similar to the ones back in his nursery.
Surely, this must be Toyland!
The horses race along narrow streets and reach a setting of green fields that stretch for miles and contain all kinds of wooden horses. A few of the smaller ones wouldn't cost more than about sixpence in the toyshop back home. The panting horses finally reach a little market place where they come to a halt. One of them raises its head up to a great horn hanging down from a post and blows it loudly.
Next moment Morris receives a shock when a number of horses gallop up to learn of the disgusting way he treats his animals. Next moment the lad is subjected to a cruel, although some might say appropriate, punishment - but hear this - a revelation is in store for Morris before the story concludes.
A revelation that leaves him guessing no end!
Go Away, Black Cat!
There's a great big nuisance in the nursery and it goes under the name of 'Black Cat!' He's not very large and not all that noisy but he has a habit of taking the farmyard animals out of from wherever they might reside and abusing them. He slides them along the floor and then pounces on each one; all right, they're made of lead so there's no hurt involved, but that's not the point. None of the toys enjoy such treatment.
"Go away, Black Cat!" yell the pink pig and the cow and the lone sheep who're all sick and tired of being smacked around just to please the annoying invader.
Having begun this tale under an illusion that it's a toy moggy causing the annoyance, we now learn it's a real live kitchen cat who takes no notice of the angry shouts that greet him and we can understand why, seeing he's the genuine article.
Later on when they're all gathered together, the toy farmer expresses his (and everyone's) wish to stop the assaults and suddenly a voice is heard. It belongs to the sailor doll who sits in his small wooden boat.
"I know - I know what to do!"
The other toys never take much notice of him because, according to the bear he's always talking and anyway, a tiny person like him couldn't know better than the big toys. No way. The red-haired doll suggests it might be a good idea to let the toy dogs bark at the cat thus frightening him away. This idea is taken up and when the creature next appears it's greeted with some very loud barks that simply cause the cat to grin widely. He pounces on the dogs and throws them up into the air thus providing himself with another satisfying spell of mischief. Not so good for the dogs though.
When he 's gone, the sailor's voice is heard again,
"I know - I know what ..."
But it's no use. The bear tells him to shut up and then suggests they stand by the door and throw a pail of water over the offender when he next comes in. This sounds as if it might work so a bucket is filled and the toys wait for the critical moment. Unfortunately the black cat happens to jump in the window this time and, seeing the golly waiting with the pail of water, he runs up and tips the pail over so that it wets everyone's feet! He then commences his usual business of dealing to the farm animals, which results in the pig having one of his legs broken.
Enter the sailor doll again. This time he doesn't speak but just goes straight to Noah's Ark, lifts up the lid, and tells the boss to take his animals for a walk round the nursery.
"It will do them good," he ensures the owner.
The sailor's suggestion is obeyed for some reason and Noah's animals exit the ark to file round the room - two by two, of course. When the black cat appears again, the sailor doll begins to behave in a most peculiar manner. He starts scraping inside the ark as if he's gone mad, and then shouts out,
"A mouse! You naughty mouse, come out of the ark. You've frightened Noah and all his animals."
I can't quite figure out where this is heading but the words 'cat' and 'mouse' seem to go together with the operative word being 'together,' and the culmination of this tale results in the toys' problem being solved ... by none other than a tiny little sailor doll whose attempts the toys had initially belittled.
Not having read it to the very end, I'm still wondering exactly what happened.
The Sensible Train
Enid Blyton wants to tell us about something very surprising that happened to Susan-Mary.
Apparently her toys get up to all kinds of tricks in the nursery each night. The golliwog might build a tower with bricks and then push it down over the teddy-bear when he happens to pass by. The sailor-doll is prone to rolling a ball at the policeman-doll and downing him like a skittle at every attempt. The white dog once shut the black dog's tail in the cupboard door making him yell like anything, although I think a dog would 'bark' rather than yell, but one can get the drift and all this goes to show the toys are a lively lot.
One night the they climb up to view the goldfish swimming round in their bowl although the inhabitants find it a little disconcerting to see noses pressed up against the glass and rude faces being made at them.
Not nice at all.
The yellow-haired doll wants to look into the bowl so she stands up and leans over just as the necklace she's wearing breaks. Gravity comes into play and all the beads end up wet, resulting in cries and squeals from the doll. The chivalrous golliwog endeavours to retrieve them but one of the goldfish swims up and bites the intrusive arm causing him to fall headfirst into the water.
"Pull him out!" yells the teddy but when they try, the frightened toys almost tip the bowl over. What can they do? Nothing it seems, so they climb down from the table in a terrible state leaving the golliwog drowning whilst the fish nibble at his hair. The railway train who's a good friend of the golliwog is quite frantic with worry and he decides that Susan-Mary must be fetched. I don't think that what follows could be classed as normal procedure in any story involving nursery toys and their owners but there seems no alternative because a rescue must be performed.
Before anyone can prevent it, the train tears off down the passage to the nearby bedroom where it enters to rush round and round whistling loudly. As soon as Susan-Mary sits up in her bed, the train races off to join the waiting toys once again.
Susan-Mary wipes her eyes and jumps out of bed to follow what appears to have been her toy train. Did it really come into her bedroom? Perhaps she's dreaming. Who wound it up?
Questions, which might never be answered!
The Toy Sweet Shop
Annabel's toy sweet-shop arrived as a birthday present and what a lovely one it is. There are tiny bottles of lollies, scales with which to weigh them, and paper bags for packing the goodies. It's Annabel's favourite gift and her second favourite is a big white dog. If the animal was real I suppose it would qualify as of higher rank than a sweet-shop, but it's one of those novelties that has a zip in its tummy for storing night attire.
Every morning Annabel, who sleeps in the nursery, places her nightie inside the dog and leaves it on her cot all day long - his big brown eyes watching everything that goes on. One day an incident occurs involving the golliwog who's a greedy little fellow. When he discovers the toy sweet-shop he begins helping himself to pear drops and peppermints every night despite the other toys' remonstrations. They can't stop the plundering because Golly is strong and his smacks are hard, yet if nothing's done there'll soon be no sweets left for Annabel. The teddy comes up with a suggestion,
"Let's hide the sweets! We can put them under Annabel's pillow and the dog can guard them."
This seems a good idea so they do exactly that and when Golly comes near the bed he's met with fierce growls from the dog, but it's no use. A black hand slips under Annabel's pillow and pulls the sweet bottles out. The toys then hide them in the brick-box, but Golly guesses where they are when he hears the lid shutting. Next the confectionery is hidden in a trunk packed with dolls' clothes but once again their hiding place is discovered, and the golliwog nearly becomes ill with the amount of sweets he eats that night.
Another idea is imperative and it's the dog himself who comes up with a plan that's put into action immediately - and it's successful.
No more can the golliwog help himself to forbidden fruit.
The Toy Zoo
No one under eleven is allowed to take part in a trip to the Zoo so the smaller children are disappointed. Miss Brown tells them they'll get their turn when they're a little older but in the meantime why don't they make their own Zoo this very afternoon with everyone contributing by bringing a toy animal from home.
It's really a pity we couldn't have been there to see the procession of animals that pass through the school gates that afternoon. Elsie brings her monkey, Peter a white bear, Molly a penguin, Amy a tiger, Billie a lion cub, Jim a camel, Tom a rabbit ... there are twenty-four children in total so that means the same number of toys all crowding into Miss Brown's classroom. First thing on the list is to make cages for the animals by turning chairs upside down so that each child can place his or her toy inside the space where chair meets floor. Perhaps this setup wouldn't be entertained by older pupils due to the fact there are openings on each side of the chairs, but as the animals can't move under their own steam, none can escape.
The children are thrilled with their 'Zoo' and as the elephant is too large to fit under a chair, Annie is instructed by Miss Brown to lead it round for people to have rides on ... as happens in normal Zoos. They're still at school of course so there's a little work to do and that involves creating name cards for the various animals, and some students who enjoy writing even put down the type of food their particular animal eats.
What an exciting afternoon. Jim's the gatekeeper because he's best at sums and Miss Brown gets the children to act as Zoo visitors, which means there has to be an admission fee charged. The cardboard money is hauled out so that each and every child can be admitted to the Zoo. There are three other 'staff' (Annie, Tommy, and Elsie) who escort the 'visitors' everywhere and answer any questions that might come their way. In the middle of it all, the door opens and in steps the headmaster.
To everyone's delight the day ends with an unexpected surprise.
Sixpence? Easy to look up; it's an obsolete silver coin that looks as if it would equal more than a pound or two in today's currency.
The book is another that gives a one-sentence synopsis at the top of each page. In this particular story, the first three are: "Morris Has A Surprise," "Morris In Toyland," and "The Toy's Revenge."
A red-haired doll features in this story and a yellow-haired one appears in 'The Sensible Train.' The Blyton dolls are often named according to their hair colour.
It's obvious that toys can wind up a railway train.
Amongst Annabel's sweets are some that are described, rather than named: - " ... tiny mauve sweets that look like little satin cushions." Could these have been a type of sweet from the author's childhood?
Miss Brown has graced several classrooms in the Enid Blyton tales.
There are seven full-page, fairly basic illustrations, plus one inside the cover.