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Nursery Rhymes . . . for children.

Once upon a time . . . . .  from our fabulous collection of Fairy Tales for children . . .  they lived happily ever after . . .

The Money-box

IN a nursery where a number of toys lay scattered about, a
money-box stood on the top of a very high wardrobe. It was
made of clay in the shape of a pig, and had been bought of the
potter. In the back of the pig was a slit, and this slit had
been enlarged with a knife, so that dollars, or crown pieces,
might slip through; and, indeed there were two in the box,
besides a number of pence. The money-pig was stuffed so full
that it could no longer rattle, which is the highest state of
perfection to which a money-pig can attain. There he stood
upon the cupboard, high and lofty, looking down upon
everything else in the room. He knew very well that he had
enough inside him to buy up all the other toys, and this gave
him a very good opinion of his own value. The rest thought of
this fact also, although they did not express it, for there
were so many other things to talk about. A large doll, still
handsome, though rather old, for her neck had been mended, lay
inside one of the drawers which was partly open. She called
out to the others, 'Let us have a game at being men and women,
that is something worth playing at.'

Upon this there was a great uproar; even the engravings,
which hung in frames on the wall, turned round in their
excitement, and showed that they had a wrong side to them,
although they had not the least intention to expose themselves
in this way, or to object to the game. It was late at night,
but as the moon shone through the windows, they had light at a
cheap rate. And as the game was now to begin, all were invited
to take part in it, even the children's wagon, which certainly
belonged to the coarser playthings. 'Each has its own value,'
said the wagon; 'we cannot all be noblemen; there must be some
to do the work.'

The money-pig was the only one who received a written
invitation. He stood so high that they were afraid he would
not accept a verbal message. But in his reply, he said, if he
had to take a part, he must enjoy the sport from his own home;
they were to arrange for him to do so; and so they did. The
little toy theatre was therefore put up in such a way that the
money-pig could look directly into it. Some wanted to begin
with a comedy, and afterwards to have a tea party and a
discussion for mental improvement, but they commenced with the
latter first. The rocking-horse spoke of training and races;
the wagon of railways and steam power, for these subjects
belonged to each of their professions, and it was right they
should talk of them. The clock talked politics- 'tick, tick;'
he professed to know what was the time of day, but there was a
whisper that he did not go correctly. The bamboo cane stood
by, looking stiff and proud: he was vain of his brass ferrule
and silver top, and on the sofa lay two worked cushions,
pretty but stupid. When the play at the little theatre began,
the rest sat and looked on; they were requested to applaud and
stamp, or crack, when they felt gratified with what they saw.
But the riding-whip said he never cracked for old people, only
for the young who were not yet married. 'I crack for
everybody,' said the cracker.

'Yes, and a fine noise you make,' thought the audience, as
the play went on.

It was not worth much, but it was very well played, and
all the characters turned their painted sides to the audience,
for they were made only to be seen on one side. The acting was
wonderful, excepting that sometimes they came out beyond the
lamps, because the wires were a little too long. The doll,
whose neck had been darned, was so excited that the place in
her neck burst, and the money-pig declared he must do
something for one of the players, as they had all pleased him
so much. So he made up his mind to remember one of them in his
will, as the one to be buried with him in the family vault,
whenever that event should happen. They all enjoyed the comedy
so much, that they gave up all thoughts of the tea party, and
only carried out their idea of intellectual amusement, which
they called playing at men and women; and there was nothing
wrong about it, for it was only play. All the while, each one
thought most of himself, or of what the money-pig could be
thinking. His thoughts were on, as he supposed, a very distant
time- of making his will, and of his burial, and of when it
might all come to pass. Certainly sooner than he expected- for
all at once down he came from the top of the press, fell on
the ground, and was broken to pieces. Then the pennies hopped
and danced about in the most amusing manner. The little ones
twirled round like tops, and the large ones rolled away as far
as they could, especially the one great silver crown piece who
had often to go out into the world, and now he had his wish as
well as all the rest of the money. The pieces of the money-pig
were thrown into the dust-bin, and the next day there stood a
new money-pig on the cupboard, but it had not a farthing in
its inside yet, and therefore, like the old one, it could not
rattle. This was the beginning with him, and we will make it
the end of our story.



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