A Cautionary Tale
Once there was a broken doll. She sat on a tall shelf in a big empty house at the edge of town. Many knew of the doll, they all came to see her; the broken doll that would be sitting on a different shelf every day. The towns people were perplexed. Was someone moving the doll, surely she couldn’t climb the shelves on her own?
As news will do, it traveled and soon reached the ears of a boy that lived in a neighboring village. Curious about the rumors he had heard of the broken doll, he set out to see for himself. He should have been disappointed with the tableau he found. But he wasn’t, instead he was fascinated. A broken, ragged doll slumped over in the center of a rack shelves that stretched from floor to ceiling.
Stuffing escaped from a rip in the side of the dolls soft body. Only one eye blinked, the other was wedged to stay open with a slender piece of wood. Her porcelain arms were covered with numerous cracks, it was a miracle they had not crumbled into fine dust. Her hair fell in soft ringlets that cascaded past her shoulder on one side of her head while the other side lay in a tangled matted ball as if someone had taken a match to it. The doll’s frilly dress was dirty and torn. A sock and shoe encased one foot, the other was bare.
The boy observed the doll for a long time and for no plausible reason fell in love with it. He walked up to the doll.
“Little doll,” he called. “Come down from that shelf. I wish to take you home with me.”
The broken doll looked down at the boy with her one blinking eye and replied. “No thank you, sir. I am quite happy where I am.”
A bit miffed and curious at the broken dolls refusal the boy persisted. “It must be lonely here. No one to take care of you or fix you. My home is warm and safe and I would never hurt you. “
The doll did not waver. “No thank you, sir. I am quite content in my solitude. I manage just fine and do not need to be fixed.”
The boy left, but he visited the doll several times. He pleaded with her to return home with him and each time she refused. Then one day, due to his myriad of chores the boy set out to see the broken doll later than usual. By the time he arrived it was well past dark, the only light that filtered through the rooms of the house was provided by the moon. And there he saw it, the little doll, he’d come to think of as his, was arduously attempting to climb the shelf above where he had seen her seated the previous day.
Amazed, the boy uttered a gasp, which startled the doll and caused her to lose her footing. She fell to the ground with a crack. The boy ran forward and scooped up the doll. One eye blinked rapidly while a tear escaped the eye with the long splinter. The single tear ran down the doll’s newly cracked cheek.
“I’m sorry, little doll. I didn’t mean to startle you. I will take you home and repair you.”
The doll could not open her mouth to protest due to her cracked cheek. She glared at the boy as he carefully placed her in his pocket and headed for home.