“Hullo, hullo, here I am again!” cried Mister Jack-in-the-box, as he sprang up in a great hurry one day.
Then he looked all round him. He was wondering what could have happened to all his friends.
“This is very funny,” he said to himself. “I wonder where they can all be; they can't have gone to a party and left me behind. Besides, they have not had time to put on their best clothes, for I have only been having forty winks.”
That was what he thought, but he had really been asleep for a long time, and a great many things had happened which he knew nothing about.
Presently, Dobbin, the big wooden horse, came walking slowly by.
“Hullo,” cried Mister Jack-in-the-box, “How are you, my fine friend?”
“I am looking for a hairy skin,” said Dobbin, sadly. “Every horse is wearing one now; the fashion has changed since you went to sleep.”
“But I have only been having forty winks,” cried Mister Jack-in-the-box.
“Forty hundred,” corrected Dobbin. “Here comes Mister Zebra, he will tell you I am right in what I say.”
And Mister Zebra did.
“I don't know what will happen next,” he said, tearfully. “I am told that Teddy Bears are always asked for now that no one cares for zebras. I do think it is a little hard. I know Teddy Bears are hairy, but not one of them has a striped coat like mine.”
“Look at my legs,” said Dobbin. “No hairy horse ever had legs like mine.”
“I passed a whole new family on my way here,” sighed the Zebra. “There was an elephant that walked without wheels, a boat with sails, a doll with a voice, crackers with toys inside them, a Father Christmas with a real beard, and——”
“A hairy horse!” cried Dobbin.
“A hairy horse,” answered Mr. Zebra.
“Cheer up, cheer up, you boys,” chuckled Mister Jack-in-the-box. “There is plenty of room for us all in the world. Suppose we make a family all to ourselves, just we three old friends.”
And that is what they did.