by Adelaide Shaw -
China Blue was a white porcelain cat with very blue eyes. Sometimes when the sunlight shone on her or when the firelight glowed her porcelain sides became flecked with pink and gold. In the moonlight her blue eyes almost looked alive. She was a truly wonderful cat.
Timothy gave the porcelain cat to Caroline when she was a young bride. She was very happy and dusted the porcelain cat every day. Once a week she washed China Blue.
China Blue leaned against the door and watched the people, the horses, and carriages. As time passed she watched the cars and trucks and bicycles. She liked to watch the children the best.
The children would come up to her and pet her and poke her, but they did not harm her. She always felt safe. But, one day she didn’t feel safe at all.
Caroline’s little boy and girl, Benny and Maggie, were playing train. Benny had a new red wagon. He and Maggie pulled it up and down the sidewalk.
"This is an animal train," Benny said.
"Here are my Teddy and Giraffe," said Maggie, putting them in the wagon.
Bobby and Alice, the neighbor children, put a monkey doll and a real puppy in the wagon. After a while Benny went up to the door and picked up China Blue and took her outside.
Oh, thought China Blue. Where is Benny taking me? I don’t think I want to go.
Benny put the porcelain cat in the wagon between Teddy and Giraffe.
"All aboard for the animal train," Benny said. He pulled the wagon along the sidewalk and over the grass and gravel driveway.
Rickety-rack, rickety-rack, bounce, bounce, bounce went the red wagon. Poor Giraffe fell over with the first bounce. Teddy began to sway back and forth. Monkey looked to be all right, but the puppy yipped and yapped. He leaned his head over the side and tried to jump out.
China Blue was scared. Oh, dear. Oh, dear. I don't know for how long I can keep from falling and breaking, she thought.
"Benny! Maggie!" called Caroline. She quickly ran down the porch steps and lifted the porcelain cat out of the wagon with her steady hands.
"That was very naughty," she said to the children."You must never play with China Blue. She's much too fragile. She could have been smashed beyond repair."
"We're sorry, Mama," Benny and Maggie said. "We promise never to do it again."
That was lucky for me that Caroline came outside, thought China Blue. She was very happy to be back in front of the door without a crack or even a scratch. The children kept their promise and never bothered the porcelain cat again. China Blue felt safe.
Benny and Maggie grew up and married and brought their children to visit. Once again sticky little hands stroked China Blue's sides and tiny fingers poked her eyes and ears. And a day came when China Blue did not feel safe again.
Andy and Mary, Caroline’s grandchildren, were visiting. Andy picked up China Blue and took her outside. Mary followed behind Andy.
“Put China Blue down,” Mary told her brother. “Grandma said not to play with her.”
“I just want to see if Rollo barks at her,” Andy said. “Dogs don’t like cats, you know.”
Andy ran to the neighbor’s yard, carrying China Blue. Mary went with him.
I don’t like this, thought China Blue. I don’t like this at all.
“Here Rollo, here Rollo,” Andy called.
“Woof.”A big, brown shaggy dog came bounding over to Andy.
“Look, Rollo. This is a cat.” Andy put China Blue down on the sidewalk. “Aren’t you going to bark at it?” he asked Rollo.”You’re supposed to bark.”
Oh, dear. Oh, dear, thought China Blue. What is that big dog going to do?