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A WHIP-TOP and a Ball were together in a drawer among some other toys; and the Top said to the Ball,

“Shall we not be bridegroom and bride, as we live together in the same box?”

But the Ball, which had a coat of morocco leather,and was just as conceited as any fine lady, would make no answer to such a proposal.

Next day the little boy came to whom the toys belonged: he painted the top red and yellow, and hammered a brass nail into it; and it looked splendid when the top turned round!

“Look at me!”he cried to the Ball. “What do you say now? Shall we not be engaged to each other? We suit one another so well! You jump and I dance! No one could be happier than we two should be.”

“Indeed? Do you think so?”replied the Ball. “Perhaps you do not know that my papa and my mamma were Morocco slippers, and that I have a cork inside me?”

“Yes, but I am made of mahogany,” said the Top;“and the mayor himself turned me. He has a turning-lathe of his own, and it amuses him greatly.”

“Can I depend upon that?” asked the Ball.

“May I never be whipped again if it is not true!”replied the Top.

“You can speak well for yourself,”observed the Ball, “but I cannot grant your request. I am as good as engaged to a swallow: every time I leap up into the air it puts its head out of its nest and says, ‘Will you?’And now I have silently said ‘Yes,’and that is as good as half engaged; but I promise I will never forget you. ”

“Yes, that will be much good!”said the Top.

And they spoke no more to each other.

Next day the Ball was taken out by the boy. The Top saw how it flew high into the air, like a bird; at last one could no longer see it. Each time it came back again,but gave a high leap when it touched the earth, and that was done either from its longing to mount up again, or because it had a cork in its body. But the ninth time the Ball remained absent, and did not come back again; and the boy sought and sought, but it was gone.

“I know very well where it is!”sighed the Top. “It is in the swallow's nest, and has married the swallow!&rdqu............

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