“It has teeth!” the French doll pointed out. “It may bite!”
“I do not believe it will bite,” Raggedy Andy mused, as he got down upon his hands and knees and looked up into the shell. “Marcella would not have it up here if it would bite!” And, saying this, Raggedy Andy put his rag arm into the lovely shell’s mouth.
“It doesn’t bite! I knew it wouldn’t!” he cried. “Just feel how smooth it is inside!”
All the dolls felt and were surprised to find it polished so highly inside, while the outside was so coarse and rough. With the help of Uncle Clem and Henny, Raggedy Andy turned the shell upon its back, so that all the dolls might look in.
The coloring consisted of dainty pinks, creamy whites and pale blues, all running together just as the coloring in an opal runs from one shade into another. Raggedy Andy, stooping over to look further up inside the pretty shell, heard something.
“It’s whispering!” he said, as he raised up in surprise.
All the dolls took turns putting their ears to the mouth of the beautiful shell. Yes, truly it whispered, but they could not catch just what it said.
Finally Raggedy Andy suggested that all the dolls lie down upon the floor directly before the shell and keep very quiet.
“If we don’t make a sound we may be able to hear what it says!” he explained.
So the dolls lay down, placing themselves flat upon the floor directly in front of the shell and where they could see and admire its beautiful coloring.
Now the dolls could be very, very quiet when they really wished to be, and it was easy for them to hear the faint whispering of the shell.
This is the story the shell told the dolls in the nursery that night:
“A long, long time ago, I lived upon the yellow sand, deep down beneath the blue, blue waters of the ocean. Pretty silken sea weeds grew around my home and reached their waving branches up, up towards the top of the water.
[Illustration: Everyone listens]
“Through the pretty sea weeds, fishes of pretty colors and shapes darted here and there, playing at their games.
“It was still and quiet ’way down where I lived, for even if the ocean roared and pounded itself into an angry mass of tumbling waves up above, this never disturbed the calm waters down where I lived.
“Many times, little fishes or other tiny sea people came and hid within my pretty house when they were being pursued by larger sea creatures. And it always made me very happy to give them this protection.
“They would stay inside until I whispered that the larger creature had gone, then they would leave me and return to their play.
“Pretty little sea horses with slender, curving bodies often went sailing above me, or would come to rest upon my back. It was nice to lie and watch the tiny things curl their little tails about the sea weed and talk together, for the sea horses like one another and are gentle and kind to each other, sharing their food happily and smoothing their little ones with their cunning noses.