The China Doll


(A true pioneer story)

1 Eight-year-old Lou had mixed feelings. She was excited about her family moving to Arizona, but a little twinge of worry gnawed at her. She knew that only essential items could be taken in their covered wagons.

Will Annabelle be considered essential? she wondered. Will there be room for her?

2 Annabelle was a beautiful china doll, a special birthday gift that still filled Lou with wonder whenever she took Annabelle down from her place on Mama’s bureau, where the doll was safely out of the reach of her little brothers.

3 Lou asked her father if there would be room for Annabelle in the covered wagon. He promised to find a special place for her.

4 As the covered wagon was loaded, Lou kept a careful watch. When everything else was put into it, Lou could not see a safe place left for her doll.

5 The night before the start of their journey, Lou and her brothers took their last baths in their old home. Very little was left in their house; everything had been either packed in the wagon or given away to friends.

6 That night the family slept in beds made up on top of boxes in the covered wagon.

7 The next morning as they were getting ready to leave, Papa showed Lou a little hammock hanging from one of the wagon bows. Annabelle was inside. Papa had found a place where Annabelle could ride up high, out of the reach of her brothers and safe from bumps and jolts.

8 All during the long weeks of travel, Annabelle left her hammock only when Lou held her. When they arrived in Arizona, Annabelle was still with them, a treasured friend for Lou.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Robyn S. Officer