The wooden horse had a queer voice; the dolls could hardly understand him at first, but when his bashfulness wore off, he talked quite plainly.
“It is the first time I have ever tried to talk,” he explained when he became acquainted, “and I guess I was talking down in my stomach instead of my head!”
“You will like it here in the nursery very much!” said Raggedy Andy. “We have such jolly times and love each other so much I know you will enjoy your new home!”
“I am sure I shall!” the wooden horse answered. “Where I came from, we—the other horses and myself—just stood silently upon the shelves and looked and looked straight ahead, and never so much as moved our tails.”
“See if you can move your tail now!” Henny, the Dutch doll, suggested.
The wooden horse started to roll across the nursery floor and if Raggedy Ann had not been in the way, he might have bumped into the wall. As it was, the wooden horse rolled against Raggedy Ann and upset her but could go no further when his wheels ran against her rag foot.
When the wooden horse upset Raggedy Ann, he stood still until Uncle Clem and Henny and Raggedy Andy lifted him off Raggedy Ann’s feet. “Did I frisk my tail?” he asked when Raggedy Ann stood up and smoothed her apron.
“Try it again!” said Raggedy Ann. “I couldn’t see!” She laughed her cheery rag doll laugh, for Raggedy Ann, no matter what happened, never lost her temper.
The wooden horse started rolling backward at this and knocked Henny over upon his back, causing him to cry “Mama!” in his squeeky voice.
Uncle Clem, Raggedy Ann, and the tin soldier all held to the wooden horse and managed to stop him just as he was backing out of the nursery door towards the head of the stairs.
Then the dolls pulled the wooden horse back to the center of the room. “It’s funny” he said, “that I start moving backward or forward when I try to frisk my tail!”
“I believe it is because you have stood so long upon the shelf without moving,” Raggedy Andy suggested. “Suppose you try moving forward!”
Uncle Clem, who was standing in front of the wooden horse, jumped to one side so hastily his feet slipped out from under him, just as if he had been sliding upon slippery ice.
[Illustration: The wooden horse rolled over Raggedy Ann’s foot]
[Illustration: The wooden horse and the dolls]
The wooden horse did not start moving forward as Uncle Clem had expected; instead, his silken tail frisked gaily up over his back.
“Whee! There, you frisked your tail!” cried all the dolls as joyfully as if the wooden horse had done something truly wonderful.
“It’s easy now!” said the wooden horse. “When I wish to go forward or backward I’ll try to frisk my tail and then I’ll roll along on my shiny wheels; then when I wish to frisk my tail I’ll try to roll forward or backward, like this!” But instead of rolling forward, the wooden horse frisked his tail. “I wanted to frisk my tail then!” he said in surprise. “Now I’ll roll forward!” And sure enough, the wooden horse rolled across the nursery floor.