Gateway to the Classics: Firelight Stories by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
Firelight Stories by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

How Sugardolly Found Nutcracker

E VERY evening Sugardolly, Queen of the Dwarfs, counted the little men, as they sat about the fire, to see if they had all come home, and one night a little dwarf was missing. So Sugardolly counted them all over again—one, two, three; yes, one was certainly missing. Then all the other dwarfs ran about crying, and wringing their hands, and looking under the beds and beneath the tables, and, as they looked, the door opened and in ran the little lost dwarf, very much out of breath and tired.

He had a bundle of moss upon his back, which he dropped upon the floor, and he told them all how he had been gathering the moss from a castle hedge, and how he had been attacked by a cat which charged upon him from the castle kitchen, and the cat was driven by none other than Nutcracker, their old king.

"Oh," cried Sugardolly, "may I not go to the castle? May I not see my dear Nutcracker? I have been your queen for a long time. May I not be released?"

So the dwarfs saw that Sugardolly would be no longer happy with them, in spite of the honey, the gold furniture, and the stories, so they bowed their heads sadly and said, "Yes," to her.

"But you must not go alone," they said; "we will take you as far as the castle hedge, and guard you from the cat and leave you there, Sugardolly."

So, early in the morning, a wonderful procession set out for the castle. At the head marched the dwarf who knew the way to the place where Nutcracker had been seen. Behind marched four other dwarfs, carrying Sugardolly on their shoulders, and last of all came the rest of the dwarfs with their swords at their sides ready to attack the fierce cat.

But they did not meet the cat, and they reached the lodge in safety. There they set Sugardolly down, very carefully, and said, "Good-by," to her very sadly, for they were sorry indeed to lose their queen.

Then Sugardolly crept under the castle hedge, and hurried across the garden to the kitchen, and tried the kitchen door, but it was locked. So she went in the cellar window, and climbed the cellar stairs, and many more stairs until she found herself in a great, warm room. There was a wide fireplace, and a white bed where a little girl lay fast asleep, as it was still early morning. In the corner of the room there rose a little figure wearing a hussar's jacket and having a huge and wide mouth.

"Ah, my dear Nutcracker," said Sugardolly, running over to him with her arms spread wide.

"My dear little Sugardolly," cried Nutcracker taking her tenderly in his arms.

Just then the little girl awoke, and sat up in bed, and rubbed her eyes to see the little lady in her silk skirts and dancing shoes. Sugardolly began to dance for joy, and the little girl clapped her hands to see the little creature bobbing about the room.

"Such a tidy, pretty little thing," said the little girl. "You shall live with us, and be my doll." So that is how Sugardolly found Nutcracker and they began living in the same house once more.

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