November 7, 2014 by genelup
Eugene Field wrote a touching poem about Little Boy Blue and his toys. Well, in addition, did you know Little Boy Blue also had a dog? A real, live one.
“That boy is spending a lot of time playing with his toy dog,” Boy Blue’s father commented to his wife one evening. “Maybe we should get him a real puppy. What do you think?”
“Sssh, don’t talk so loud, he may hear you from his bedroom.”
The next day Boy Blue and his parents drove to the dog shelter. Boy Blue jumped out of the car and ran to the shelter’s door.
“Not too fast,” Boy Blue’s dad yelled. “There are plenty of dogs to choose from. We’ll have plenty of time.”
They walked down the aisle, dogs in kennels on each side. Some of the dogs barked as they walked by; others just stared at the new visitors through the holes of the cyclone fence. Boy Blue’s head spin this way and that way as he looked at the dogs: big, small, brown, spotted, shaggy, short-haired, and white. In one kennel, way in the back, was a small puppy with huge, but sad eyes. Boy Blue stopped.
“Come on doggy, come here,” Boy Blue eyes widen. “Looky, daddy, he’s so pretty.”
Boy Blue named his puppy with the big eyes “Wonder.” They spent days playing outside their back yard down by the creek. Boy Blue would throw the stick into the water and Wonder would leap in and dog-paddle and retrieve the stick. Sometimes, the boy and his dog would wade across the creek to Molly’s house. Molly was a year older than Boy Blue. They were pals; they would walk into the woods, with Wonder following them, and they would climb trees and sometimes they would compete who could throw pine cones the farthest.
The days, and months and even a couple of years went by and Wonder and Boy Blue were inseparable. Wonder slept on the floor by Boy Blue’s bed. And Wonder would dream:
The little toy dog is covered with dust,
But sturdy and stanch he stands;
And the little toy soldier is red with rust,
And his musket moulds in his hands.
Time was when the little toy dog was new,
And the soldier was passing fair;
And that was the time when our Little Boy Blue
Kissed them and put them there.
Then one night Boy Blue put his toys on the little chair. Wonder walked to the chair and put his nose close to the toy dog, and the toy soldier. Boy Blue petted Wonder.
“Now, don’t you go till I come,” Boy Blue said,
“And don’t you make any noise!
So, toddling off to his trundle-bed,
He dreamt of the pretty toys;
And, as he was dreaming, an angel song
Awakened our Little Boy Blue—
Oh! The years are many, the years are long,
But the little toy friends are true!
Wonder woke to confusion; Boy Blue’s mother was crying, his dad was hysterical running his hands through his hair. People came in and out of the house. Someone put Wonder in the bathroom. He was there for a long time. When he was let out of the bathroom the house was full of people. He didn’t see Boy Blue.
Days went by, and weeks went by and Wonder didn’t feel too frisky. He spent most of the time in Boy Blue’s bedroom near the toy dog and toy soldier. One night, he dreamed about Molly. When he awoke he thought Boy Blue and Molly were playing in the woods throwing pine cones. When Boy Blue’s mother let him outside that morning, Wonder ran to the creek and jumped in. He began to paddle to the other side. The water was deeper and Wonder had a hard time keeping his nose above the water. His feet finally touched the sandy bottom and he crawled out of the creek, shivered hard like dogs do and droplets of water splattered on the grass. Wonder ran to Molly’s house.
Molly hugged Wonder. And for some reason Wonder was allowed to live with Molly. Maybe Boy Blue would show up.
The days, weeks and even years went by. One, two…maybe ten or eleven years. Wonder had a fun time living with Molly and memories of Boy Blue had faded, but he still wondered what happened to him. Wonder was slowing down; he wasn’t as active as he once was. He slept a lot.
One day Molly picked Wonder up and put him in the car. They drove to Boy Blue’s house. It had been a long time since he was there. Molly and Boy Blue’s parents talked. Wonder slowly walked down the hallway to Boy Blue’s door. It was partly open. Wonder walked in. In the corner was the small chair.
Ay, faithful to Little Boy Blue they stand,
Each in the same old place—
Awaiting the touch of a little hand,
The smile of a little face;
And they wonder, as waiting the long years through
In the dust of that little chair,
What has become of our Little Boy Blue,
Since he kissed them and put them there.
Wonder toddled to the chair and his nose rested on the chair near the little toy dog and the little toy soldier with his musket in his hands. Wonder stayed in Boy Blue’s bedroom for a long time. Then, he fell asleep…forever!