The toy soldier
Jackie was given a toy solder for his birthday. He was delighted with his new toy and he called him ‘Sydney’. Sydney was dressed in uniform that looked so real. On his head he wore a peaked camouflage cap and he had a dark green and brown suit to match. He wore boots, a hat, a water-bottle, binoculars and a very dangerous looking rifle.
Jackie was a very tidy little boy and just before going to bed, he would put his toys away neatly. He would then place Sydney, who was his favourite, standing at attention like a sentry, on top of his toy box.
Not long after Sydney arrived, a strange thing happened. Jackie woke up one morning to find the lid of the toy box open and all his toys, scattered around the room. Sydney was most upset because he was sure that he had tidied them up as usual, the night before.
That night, Jackie very carefully replaced his toys with Sydney standing at attention, on top.
The next morning, the toys were even more scattered than before. Jackie’s mother was furious. She thought that he had been playing during the night without permission and had not bothered to tidy his toys. She warned him that if this happened again, he would be punished.
Jackie did not know what to do. He knew that he had not made the mess. He thought and thought and thought and, suddenly, he realized what he must do.
That night, after carefully tidying up, he went to sleep. But that night there was a difference. He had borrowed his mother’s alarm clock. At 12 o clock, it rang under his pillow – waking him up.
Jackie thought he was still dreaming. He rubbed his eyes in disbelief. He rubbed his eyes again, wiping away all the sleep, but the scene before his eyes, did not disappear.
Sydney had climbed off the lid of the toy box, opened it and told all the toys to climb out, pointing his gun at them. They were all so scared that they ran out in all directions. Sydney then began to play with them. He played with the electric train, the building blocks and even Jackie’s special crayons. After some time, Sydney became tired and stopped playing, leaving the toys scattered all over the room.
This was too much for Jackie. He jumped out and caught Sydney by the hand and told him to put all the toys away. Sydney was really frightened by the sudden arrival of his young master and did as he was told.
At last all the toys were back in the box and Jackie was still very cross with Sydney. He then decided to punish him by taking away his rifle and making him sleep inside the box with the other toys. Sydney was very upset, but he had to listen to Jackie.
The next morning, Jackie’s mother came into the room to find everything, in order. She and Jackie were both pleased.
That night, after he had finished playing with his toys, Jackie put them in the box – then he returned Sydney’s rifle and told him that he could stand on top of the box on condition that he guarded the toys like a real soldier and never made another mess.
Barbara Louise Gillman