O NCE upon a time on a quiet street in an old city there was a Toy Shop.
It was in a basement and you had to go down four steps to the door, but the shop window could be seen very plainly from the sidewalk. And there was never a day that some one did not stop to look at it.
One day it might be filled with bright balloons that were like great colored lights; and the next with jumping-jacks. Sometimes a toy farm with a little red house, and trees and horses and cows and chickens, were set out on the window shelf. Sometimes white woolly sheep stood there in green-paper grass; or perhaps there might be a long line of comical yellow ducks-on-wheels.
But no matter how the window was trimmed, it was as pretty as a picture in a storybook. No sooner had any one seen it than he wanted to go into the shop.
A little old lady with silvery hair and pleasant twinkling eyes kept the Toy Shop, and all the children called her the Toy-Lady. They were great friends with her, too. Nobody knew more about toys than she did, they thought.
She could spin the tops and run the trains and blow up the balloons and play on the doll-pianos. She knew all about children, too. If, as often happened, she were asked: "What would you buy for a little boy?" or "What do you think would please a little girl?" she could tell you the very thing.
Everybody liked to buy toys from her, and whoever went to the Toy Shop once was almost sure to go again.