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The Top That Could Sing
by [?]

Once upon a time there was a little painted tin top that lay in a toy shop window. It was a most beautiful tin top with a painted stripe of red, and a painted stripe of yellow, and a painted stripe of green. The tin of which it was made was as bright and shining as silver, and it had one little pointed toe upon which it could dance most merrily when its string was unwound.

But more wonderful than the colors of the tin top, or the shine of it, or its one little tin toe, was its voice. The very moment that it began to dance it began, too, to sing in a sweet, cheerful humming kind of way. And it kept on singing as long as it kept on dancing, and its voice was never less sweet or less cheerful.

One day Gerald came to the toy shop with his mother because it was his birthday and he was to select a new toy. A boy who is to have a new toy should smile, but Gerald frowned. He had so many toys at home that he could not decide which new one to choose.

“Will you have a box of toy soldiers?” asked his mother.

“No, I’m tired of soldiers,” Gerald said crossly.

“Will you have a new ball?” asked the toy man.

“I don’t want any more balls,” Gerald replied quite crossly.

“Oh, see this game!” said his mother.

“Games are stupid,” Gerald answered most crossly.

“Then, listen!” said the toy man taking the little tin top from its place, winding it up, pulling off the string and then setting it down upon the floor. Away danced the bright little top upon its one little tin toe and as it danced it sang its sweet, cheerful, humming song.

Gerald listened. Then the ugly frown left his face and in its place there came a happy smile. He clapped his hands as the little tin top circled, and whirled, and tripped, and hopped around his feet.

“May I buy the top that sings?” he asked and his mother said that he might. So they paid a bright ten cent piece for it and the toy man put the little tin top into Gerald’s hands. As they left the toy shop, Gerald still smiled and he hopped along beside his mother as he remembered how the little tin top had hopped. And his mother made up a song about it that they hummed softly together:

“To and fro, on its little tin toe,
Singing and dancing the top will go.
Spinning and singing it seems to say,
‘Children should always be glad and gay.'”

So they went on until they came to a big building that was a hospital, and at one of the front windows a sick-a-bed child was propped up on pillows and looking out. Gerald looked in; then he motioned for the nurse who stood near to open the window, and he wound the little tin top and started it spinning on the sidewalk. It could spin and sing indoors or outdoors. Round and round it danced and it seemed to be saying:

“To and fro on my little tin toe,
Singing and spinning, oh, see me go!
This is the song that I sing to-day,
‘Children should always be glad and gay.'”

The sick-a-bed child watched the little tin top, its whirling colors looking like a rainbow in the sunlight. She listened to its sweet, cheerful, humming song. Then her sick-a-bed, tired face changed to a happy, smiling face, and she clapped her hands and laughed so loudly that Gerald could hear her, for she had heard what the little tin top sang.

Then they went on a little farther and they came to a boy who sold newspapers on the street corner. He had just seen another boy who sold newspapers coming and he had decided to have a fight with him, for he did not want him to sell his papers on that corner. An ugly frown covered his face, but suddenly he saw Gerald with his little top in his hands.