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Poppy’s Pranks
by [?]

She wasn’t a wilfully naughty child, this harum-scarum Poppy, but very thoughtless and very curious. She wanted to see every thing, do every thing, and go every where: she feared nothing, and so was continually getting into scrapes.

Her pranks began early; for, when she was about four, her mamma one day gave her a pair of green shoes with bright buttons. Poppy thought there never was any thing so splendid, and immediately wanted to go to walk. But mamma was busy, and Poppy couldn’t go alone any farther than the garden. She showed her shoes to the servants, the cat, the doves, and the flowers; and then opened the gate that the people in the street might see the trim little feet she was so proud of. Now Poppy had been forbidden to go out; but, when she saw Kitty Allen, her neighbor, playing ball down the street, she forgot every thing but the desire to show her new shoes; and away she went marching primly along as vain as a little peacock, as she watched the bright buttons twinkle, and heard the charming creak. Kitty saw her coming; and, being an ill-natured little girl, took no notice, but called out to her brother Jack:

“Ain’t some folks grand? If I couldn’t have red shoes for my best, I wouldn’t have any, would you?”

They both laughed, and this hurt Poppy’s feelings dreadfully. She tossed her head, and tried to turn up her nose; but, it was so very small, it couldn’t be very scornful. She said nothing, but walked gravely by, as if she was going on an errand, and hadn’t heard a word. Round the corner she went, thinking she would wait till Kitty was gone; as she didn’t like to pass again, fearing Jack might say something equally trying. An organ-man with a monkey was playing near by; and Poppy was soon so busy listening to the music, and watching the sad-looking monkey, that she forgot home, shoes, and Kitty altogether.

She followed the man a long way; and, when she turned to go back, she took the wrong street, and found herself by the park. Being fond of dandelions, Poppy went in, and gathered her hands full, enjoying herself immensely; for Betsy, the maid, never let her play in the pond, or roll down the hill, or make dirt-pies, and now she did all these things, besides playing with strange children and talking with any one she pleased. If she had not had her luncheon just before she started, she would have been very hungry; for dinner-time came, without her knowing it.

By three o’clock, she began to think it was time to go home, and boldly started off to find it. But poor little Poppy didn’t know the way, and went all wrong. She was very tired now, and hot and hungry, and wanted to see mamma, and wondered why she didn’t come to the brown house with the white garden-gate. On and on she went, up streets and down, amusing herself with looking in the shop-windows, and sitting to rest on doorsteps. Once she asked a pleasant-faced little girl to show her the way home; but, as she didn’t know in what street it was, and said her father’s name was “papa,” the girl couldn’t help her: so she gave her a bun and went away. Poppy ate her bun, and began to wonder what would become of her; for night was coming on, and there didn’t seem to be any prospect of finding mamma or home or bed. Her courage was all gone now; and, coming to a quiet place, she sat down on some high steps, and cried till her little “hankchif,” as she called it, was all wet.

Nobody minded her: and she felt very forlorn till a big black dog came by, and seemed to understand the matter entirely; for he smelt of her face, licked her hands, and then lay down by her with such a friendly look in his brown eyes that Poppy was quite comforted. She told him her story, patted his big head; and then, being fairly tired out, laid her wet cheek on his soft back, and fell fast asleep.