A LITTLE boy six years old wanted the green wagon with red wheels as soon as he saw it in the Toy Shop, and when he told Mother about it she said that she thought a good plan would be to save the money to buy it for himself.
"So do I," said the little boy, and he began to save that very day.
He had birthday money that Uncle George had sent him. Father always gave him a dime on Saturday to spend as he pleased; Mother sometimes paid him for running errands. And when Grandmother heard what he was trying to do she gave him as many quarters as there were wheels on the wagon.
"You must have something to keep your money in," said Mother; and the next time she went shopping she bought him a bank, the largest one that the Toy-Lady had.
"When this is full, I believe you will have enough money for the wagon," she told him.
"Oh, yes," said the little boy; "and if I get it by Christmas I can go with Father to buy our Christmas tree and bring it home myself."
When he got the wagon, he was going to bring Mother's groceries from the store, and take Grandmother's bag to the station whenever she went to see Aunt Alice; and haul dirt for his garden when spring came; and play expressman and milkman and everything.
But it took a long time to fill the bank. Whenever the little boy shook it, the money inside would dance up and down, and Mother said, "As long as the money dances, there's room for more."
It was easier to spend pennies than to save them. The baker, whose shop was just around the corner, had gingerbread cats and dogs to sell; the apple-man with his cart full of red and yellow apples went up and down the street; there was barley-sugar candy, the nicest that ever was, at the candy store and the popcorn-man had his stand right where the little boy had to pass it whenever he went on an errand for Mother. And he liked popcorn and candy and apples and gingerbread.
But he saved more than he spent, and by and by the bank began to grow heavy. When he shook it there was not much dancing inside.
Christmas was coming and Mother had many errands for the little boy to run. She paid him every time, though, of course, he would have gone, anyway.
"This is to help buy the green wagon," she told him whenever she gave him a penny or a nickel. He went to the grocer's for sugar and spice and raisins for the Christmas cake, and to the dry-goods store for ribbons to tie on Christmas presents. He dropped Christmas letters in the mail-box, and once he went to the Post Office with a Christmas package that was almost as large as he was, though it wasn't heavy.
"When I get my wagon I can carry packages or anything in it," he told the man at the Post-Office window.
"Oh," said the man, "is Santa Claus going to bring you a wagon?" When he heard that the little boy was going to buy it for himself he was astonished.
"Well, you are getting to be a big boy," he said. And that is just what the milkman and the postman and the big jolly policeman said when they heard about the wagon and the bank, and the dancing money.
The Toy-Lady said the same thing when the little boy stopped to look at the wagon and told her he was going to buy it; and she said she hoped the bank would be full by Christmas.
"I do, too," said the little boy, and he ran every step of the way home; he was in such a hurry to shake the bank once more. Chink, clink, the money scarcely stirred.
"When you put another dime in, I believe it will be full," said Mother; and when Father came home with the Saturday dime the little boy could only just get it into the bank.
Then Mother opened the bank and all the money came tumbling out; the nickels and pennies that he had earned, and the dimes that he had saved instead of spending; the four bright quarters that Grandmother had given him and the birthday money that Uncle George had sent. When the money was counted there was enough to pay for the wagon and one penny more.
The little boy bought the wagon that very day; and I wish you could have seen the beautiful tree that he brought home in it at Christmas time.
I wish you could have seen the beautiful tree he brought home.