"Do you know what?" Raggedy Ann asked as she smoothed out the wrinkles in her pretty white apron and stood before the other dolls in the nursery.
"Oh! Tell us, Raggedy Ann!" Beloved Belindy cried as she snuggled the two little china penny dolls in her lap. "Is it a nice secret?"
"Oh, no, Beloved Belindy!" Raggedy Ann replied as she wiggled a shoe-button eye at Uncle Clem, the Scotch doll. "It is not a secret to be kept. 'Cause why? If it was really and truly a secret, then I would not tell!"
"'Course not, Raggedy Ann!" Raggedy Andy said. "We know it is wrong to tell a secret, but do tell us what surprise you have!"
All the dollies gathered close to dear old Raggedy Ann and could hardly be still, they were so anxious to hear what Raggedy Ann had to tell.
There was Beloved Belindy, a nice soft cuddly doll with lovely shiny pearl-button eyes and a wide smiling mouth. There was Raggedy Andy, of course, with his cheery grin painted on and his soft loppy legs.
There were Frederika and Henny, both Dutch dolls, who, while very new, when they were tilted forward and back would cry, "Mama" in clear sweet voices. Frederika's "voice" had been broken, so that she could not say "Mama." She just made a tiny, quavery squeak when she was tipped. But Henny's voice was still as good as new.
There was Uncle Clem, with a nice brown yarn mustache; Cleety, the clown, made of wood with rubber joints in his arms and legs; Susan, the doll without a head; the French doll, a lovely creature with yellow curls; Rosa and Sarah, two pretty dolls with china heads.
Then, there was the Little Brown Bear, Sunny Bunny, Eddie Elephant, Johnny Mouse and all the other animals from the toy box in the corner.
"Hurry! Hurry, Raggedy Ann!" they all cried as they crowded around. "Tell us what it is!"
"We are all going on a picnic!" Raggedy Ann said. "A real-for-sure picnic! When I was down in the kitchen this evening with Marcella, her mama was making the nicest cookies and getting everything ready for an early start tomorrow morning. And," continued Raggedy Ann as she held up her rag hand for all the dollies to remain quiet, "Marcella asked her mama if she could take all of us with her!"
"All of us?" Henny, the Dutch doll, asked. "Even Eddie Elephant and the Little Brown Bear and everyone?"
"Of course, Henny," Raggedy Ann replied with a soft chuckle 'way down in her cotton-stuffed body, "of course!"
"I don't see why she should wish to take them!" Henny growled, meaning Eddie Elephant and Sunny Bunny and the other Raggedy Animals.
"Why, Henny!" Frederika said. "I'm s'prised at you! The Raggedy Animals enjoy going with Marcella just as much as any of us do!"
"But they are not dolls!" Henny said. "They are just animals -- almost like the wooden horses and the moo-cow and the tin things in the toy box."
All this time, Eddie Elephant and Sunny Bunny and the Little Brown Bear and Johnny Mouse had remained silent, but when Henny said this, Eddie Elephant said, "I 'spect Henny is right. We are just Raggedy Animals and not as nice as you dolls, so we had better stay at home with the toys in the toy box!"
Raggedy Ann took her little pocket hanky and wiped Eddie Elephant's shoe-button eyes and, as she looked around at the Little Brown Bear and Sunny Bunny and Johnny Mouse, standing so quietly and not saying a word in reply to Henny's rudeness, she almost had to stamp her rag foot.
"No sir!" Raggedy Ann cried. "Marcella will wish to take everyone and besides, Mister Henny, the Raggedy Animals are just as good as any of us dolls. We are all made of cloth and stuffed, either with sawdust or cotton, and if some of us have animal heads, that makes no difference."
"Santa Claus made most of us and we all can enjoy pleasures the same as any real-for-sure live person. It is not nice for you to wish to go and not care to have these dear Raggedy Animals go and share all our pleasures."
Then turning to Uncle Clem, Raggedy Ann asked, "Don't you think so, Uncle Clem?"
"Indeed, I do think the Raggedy Animals should go! And, I should be very much ashamed of myself if I were Henny," Uncle Clem replied.
Henny jumped to his feet so suddenly it made his quavery, squeaky voice cry, "Mama," and he walked away from all the dolls.
Not a word was said until Henny, shuffling his feet, went over and sat down behind the toy box in the corner.
Then Uncle Clem said, "I do not know why Henny is so rude."
"Henny is selfish!" Raggedy Andy said. "I could hardly keep from giving him a thump with my rag hand."
Just then there were heavy steps on the stairway, so all the dolls who were standing up sat down and, of course, every one of them was very, very quiet.
The footsteps were Daddy's, and he came right into the nursery, gathered all the dolls into a bundle and carried them downstairs.
Daddy was getting everything ready for the picnic in the morning, so he carried all the dolls out to the garage and piled them on the rear seat of the car. "Now," he said, with a chuckle, "you dolls are all ready to start in the morning, so you had better get a good night's sleep!"
Then with a laugh to himself, Daddy closed the car door and the dolls could hear his steps as he returned to the house.
"Well!" Uncle Clem laughed in his sawdusty way. "Here we all are, ready to start on the picnic tomorrow. Now we must all try to be ever and ever so nice when Marcella takes us places, because that makes it so much easier for her to take care of us!"
"We always try to be nice, Uncle Clem," Frederika laughed. "You know we just pretend that we cannot walk, or talk, or do anything."
"I know it!" Uncle Clem laughed again in reply. "But sometimes, you know, Henny forgets that grown people do not know that dolls can walk and talk and do everything and he wiggles and falls off his chair!"
"Right in front of everybody!" Raggedy Andy added.
"I do hope Henny behaves himself tomorrow," Raggedy Ann said.
"I guess he will," Raggedy Andy laughed. "'Cause why? 'Cause he was left behind, up in the nursery, pouting behind the toy box."
"It serves him right, too!" the French doll said. "When one is selfish, one always loses a lot of nice things."
Now Sunny Bunny and the Little Brown Bear and Eddie Elephant and Johnny Mouse were very quiet. They were sitting on the back seat thinking just as hard as a cotton-stuffed animal can think, and they were all sorry that Henny had been rude to them. "For," thought Eddie Elephant, who was really a very kind little creature, "if Henny had not grown peevish at us, he would not have hidden behind the toy box, and if he had not been in hiding, Daddy would have picked him up with the rest of the dolls!"
And Sunny Bunny and the Little Brown Bear and Johnny Mouse were thinking just about the same thing, so, when all the other dolls had settled down for the night, Eddie Elephant nudged Sunny Bunny and Sunny Bunny nudged the Little Brown Bear and the Little Brown Bear nudged Johnny Mouse. Then, very cautiously, they opened the door of the car, climbed to the windowsill and jumped to the ground.
As they ran across the yard, the puppydog saw them and started to bark, thinking at first it must be lots of cats.
But when they came up close, he saw that it was his old friends the Raggedy Animals. "You had better stay in the car where Daddy put you," Hairy Puppydog said. "We are starting on the picnic early in the morning and if any of you are missing from the car, we shall surely leave without you!"
"That is just why we are not in the car, Hairy," Eddie Elephant said. "When Daddy carried us out to the car, he forgot to bring Henny, so we are going to bring Henny ourselves!"
"How can you ever climb up to the nursery window, though? Just answer me that!" the puppydog chuckled. "Besides, Henny is such a selfish doll I am sure everyone will have a better time if he is left at home!"
Then Eddie Elephant explained to the puppydog just why Henny was up in the nursery behind the toy box.
"So you see," Eddie Elephant explained, "we wish Henny to go on the picnic, even if Henny did not wish us to go!"
"I see," Hairy Puppydog said, scratching his ear with his hind foot. "And because you wish to be nice to Henny even after he has been rude to you, I will help you. Just run around and sit under the bushes beneath the nursery window, and wait. I'll bark to get in the house and then I'll help you!"
So Eddie Elephant, Sunny Bunny, Johnny Mouse and the Little Brown Bear ran around the house and hid beneath the nursery window.
The puppydog barked and scratched upon the screen door until he was let in the house. Then he ran upstairs to the nursery and picked up Henny by the back of his coat. "You really do not deserve this!" he growled as he carried Henny to the window.
Henny cried, "Mama," in his thin, quavery voice as he turned over and over in the air, and when he hit the ground with a hard thump, he gave a loud squeak.
The Raggedy Animals picked up Henny and ran with him to the garage and lifted him into the car; then they all settled down and in a few moments were as fast asleep as any of the dolls.
Bright and early in the morning Daddy brought out the lunch baskets and placed everything in the back of the car and when Marcella and Mama came out there was nothing to do but climb into the car and start on the picnic.
As they rolled through the lovely country with the birds singing along the roadside, Marcella sat upon the back seat with all the dolls beside her -- all except Eddie Elephant, Sunny Bunny, the Little Brown Bear and Johnny Mouse. These she held upon her lap.
"I'm so glad you thought to bring the Raggedy Animals, Daddy!" Marcella said after a while. "They stay at home so much, they must enjoy being out in the country on a lovely picnic like this!"
And Raggedy Ann winked her shoe-button eyes at Henny as if to say, "There, Henny! Don't you see? Real-for-sure people know it is lots more fun when we share our pleasures with others!"
And Henny just stared straight before him with his little pale blue eyes and never so much as wiggled one of his moth-eaten fingers. He realized how sad he had been when he was left alone sitting behind the toy box in the nursery. And he felt ashamed to think he could ever have been ill-mannered and rude to the little kindly Raggedy Animals who had rescued him from a very lonesome day.
He made up his mind that, hereafter, he would love the Raggedy Animals just as he really and truly loved all the dolls.
"For," Henny thought, "after all, dolls, or animal dolls we are all the same, and beneath our little rag bodies, Santa Claus has filled us all with the same magic medicine!" And although Henny felt very happy in his thoughts, he never wiggled, or twisted, or fidgeted once.
Copyright © 1929 by John B. Gruelle
Copyright © renewed 1956 by Myrtle Gruelle