The velveteen kinkajou, p.1
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       The Velveteen Kinkajou, p.1

           C Dorian
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The Velveteen Kinkajou

  A boy finds a Velveteen Kinkajou in his stocking on Christmas morning...

  Adapted by C. Dorian from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

  The Velveteen Kinkajou



  © 2012 C Dorian

  Category: Chapter book, Fiction, Entertainment

  Words: 4955

  Language: English

  Synopsis: It is the wise rocking horse who sparks the Velveteen Kinkajou's interest in becoming Real, so that something tingles in him when he sees the Real kinkajous frolicking at the jungle's edge. But can a sawdust-stuffed toy ever find enough love to become that strange and wonderful thing called Real? The Kinkajou's fate depends on the Boy...The Velveteen Kinkajou is a magical story and the underlying message is powerful. Beautifully illustrated.

  Note: Kinkajous live in the tropical forests of Central and South America, where they enjoy dwelling in trees. Their well-jointed ankles allow them to turn their feet backwards to race up, down or sideways among the branches. The kinkajou also has a gripping tail (prehensile tail) which it often hangs from.


  CHAPTER 1 - Christmas Morning

  CHAPTER 2 - The Nursery

  CHAPTER 3 - The Skin Horse Tells His Story

  CHAPTER 4 - Nana

  CHAPTER 5 - Spring Time

  CHAPTER 6 - Summer Days

  CHAPTER 7 - Dreadful Questions

  CHAPTER 8 - Quite Close

  CHAPTER 9 - Anxious Times

  CHAPTER 10 - The Tear

  CHAPTER 11 - The Fairy

  CHAPTER 12 - The Kiss

  CHAPTER 13 - At Last! At Last!

  CHAPTER 1 - Christmas Morning

  THERE was once a velveteen kinkajou, and in the beginning he was really splendid. He was fat and bunchy, as a kinkajou should be; his coat was brown with a golden underbelly, he had a soft leathery nose, and his tiny ears were lined with pink sateen. On Christmas morning, when he sat wedged in the top of the Boy's stocking, with a sprig of holly clamped under his paws, the effect was charming.

  “Why, he looks almost real!” cried the Boy, as soon as he ran out.

  There were other things in the stocking, nuts and tiny bananas like the ones that grew in the jungle outside, two candy canes and a lollipop, a tangerine and a clockwork mouse, but the Kinkajou was quite the best of all.

  “His tail curls like a monkey's,” said the Boy, “and look! His hands have claws!”

  For at least two hours the Boy loved him, and then Aunts and Uncles came to dinner, and there was a great rustling of tissue paper and unwrapping of parcels, and in the excitement of looking at all the new presents the Velveteen Kinkajou was forgotten.

  CHAPTER 2 - The Nursery

  The nursery sat just inside of the veranda, which sat beside the mossy green and a beautiful jungle of raspberry vines, hibiscus flowers and banana trees. But for a long time the Kinkajou was unaware of the outside. He lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him.

  The Kinkajou was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him.

  “You have no ruffles,” said the porcelain doll, who had once belonged to the Boy’s grandmother, “and your eyes don’t open and shut.”

  “Fancy a toy without a wind-up button,” said the music-box bear.

  “You have no movable parts what-so-ever,” said the mechanical chimp, for the mechanical toys were the most superior, and looked down upon everyone else; they were full of modern ideas, and sometimes pretended they were real. The model space car, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his workings in technical terms. The Kinkajou could not claim to be a model of anything, for he had not seen out the window and didn't know that real kinkajous existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles.

  Even Bhuti, the jointed wooden patas monkey, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have had broader views, put on airs and pretended she was connected with the Government.

  “I dare say you have never worked as an undercover agent like me,” she said.

  Between them all the poor little Kinkajou was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.

  The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and half of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand about it all.

  CHAPTER 3 - The Skin Horse Tells His Story

  "What is REAL?" asked the Kinkajou one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

  "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

  "Does it hurt?" asked the Kinkajou.

  "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

  "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

  "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

  "I suppose you are real?" said the Kinkajou. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

  "The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

  The Kinkajou sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him.

  CHAPTER 4 - Nana

  The person named Nana ruled the nursery and sometimes ordered the Boy about.

  “Skedaddle now!” she said. “And take your old toy.”

  And the Boy would run off to the banana grove with his china dog.

  Sometimes she took no notice of the playthings lying about, but when it was cleaning time, Nana went swooping about like a great wind and hustled them away into cupboards. This she called "tidying up," and all the playthings hated it, especially the tin space ship who had dented his side when she tossed him into the mechanical mouse. The Kinkajou didn't mind it so much, for wherever he was thrown he came down soft.

  One evening, when the Boy was going to bed, he couldn't find the china dog that always slept with him.

  “Well now,” said Nana. “I’ll not be putting up with such a fuss!”

  She was in a hurry, and it was too much trouble to
hunt for china dogs at bedtime, so she simply looked about her, and seeing that the toy cupboard door stood open, she made a swoop.

  "Here," she said, "take your old Kinkajou! He'll do to sleep with you!" And she dragged the Kinkajou out by his little ear, and put him into the Boy's arms.

  That night, and for many nights after, the Velveteen Kinkajou slept in the Boy's bed. At first he found it rather uncomfortable, for the Boy hugged him very tight, and sometimes he rolled on him, and sometimes he pushed him so far under the pillow that the Kinkajou could scarcely breathe. And he missed, too, those long moonlight hours in the nursery, when all the house was silent, and his talks with the Skin Horse. But very soon he grew to like it, for the Boy used to talk to him, and made nice tunnels for him under the bedclothes that he said were like the hollow logs that real kinkajous liked to sleep in during the day. And they had splendid games together, in whispers, when Nana had gone away to her supper and left the night-light burning on the table. And when the Boy dropped off to sleep, the Kinkajou would snuggle down close under his little warm chin and dream, with the Boy's hands clasped close round him all night long.

  And so the days and nights went on, and the little Kinkajou was very happy–so happy that he never noticed how his beautiful velveteen sheen was starting to wear, and his wrist becoming unsewn, and the pink slowly rubbing off his nose where the Boy had kissed him.

  CHAPTER 5 - Spring Time

  Spring came, warm as winter in the tropical clime, and they had long days in the garden by the veranda, for wherever the Boy went the Kinkajou went too. He had rides in the wheelbarrow, and pillow games in the wicker chair, and lovely fairy huts built for him under the raspberry canes behind the flower border. And once, when the Boy was called away suddenly to go out to tea, the Kinkajou was left out on the lawn until long after dusk, and Nana had to come and look for him with the candle because the Boy couldn't go to sleep unless he was there.

  The Kinkajou was wet through with the dew and quite earthy from diving into the burrows the Boy had made for him in the flower bed.

  “Well I never,” Nana grumbled, as she rubbed him off with a corner of her apron and jostled him roughly inside.

  "You must have your old Kinkajou!" she said. "Fancy all that fuss for a toy!"

  The Boy sat up in bed and stretched out his hands.

  "Give me my Kinkajou!" he said. "You mustn't say that. He isn't a toy. He's REAL!"

  When the little Kinkajou heard that he was happy, for he knew that what the Skin Horse had said was true at last. The nursery magic had happened to him, and he was a toy no longer. He was Real. The Boy himself had said it.

  That night he was almost too happy to sleep, and so much love stirred in his little sawdust heart that it almost burst. And into his glass-button eyes, that had long ago lost their polish, there came a look of wisdom and beauty, so that even Nana noticed it next morning when she picked him up, and said, "I declare if that old Kinkajou hasn't got quite a knowing expression!"

  CHAPTER 6 - Summer Days

  The Kinkajou had now seen the jungle-wood near the house where they lived, and in the long June evenings the Boy liked to go there after tea to play. He took the Velveteen Kinkajou with him, and before he wandered off to pick flowers, or play at brigands among the banana trees, he always made the Kinkajou a little nest somewhere among the bracken, where he would be quite cozy, for he was a kind-hearted little boy and he liked the Kinkajou to be comfortable. One evening, while the Kinkajou was lying there alone, watching the ants that ran to and fro between his velvet paws in the grass, he saw two strange beings creep out of the tall bracken nearby.

  They were kinkajous like himself but quite furry and brand-new. They must have been very well made, for their seams didn't show at all, and they changed shape in a queer way when they moved; one minute they were long and stretched out and the next minute fat and bunchy, instead of always staying the same like he did. Their feet padded softly on the ground, and they crept quite close to him, twitching their noses, while the Kinkajou stared hard to see which side the clockwork stuck out of, for he knew that creatures who jump generally have something to wind them up. But he couldn't see it. They were evidently a new kind of kinkajou altogether.

  They stared at him, and the little Kinkajou stared back. And all the time their noses twitched.

  "Why don't you get up and play with us?" one of them asked, leaping up into a tree.

  "I don't feel like it," said the Kinkajou, for he didn't want to explain that he had no clockwork.

  "Ho!" said the bushy kinkajou. "It's as easy as anything," And he gave a big jump sideways and stood up on his hind legs like a miniature bear.

  "I don't believe you can!" he said.

  "I can!" said the little Kinkajou. "I can jump higher than anything!" He meant when the Boy threw him of course, but he didn't want to say so.

  CHAPTER 7 - Dreadful Questions

  “Can you stand up high on your toes then?" asked the bushy kinkajou. “Can you run like the wind?”

  These were dreadful questions, for the Velveteen Kinkajou had no hind legs at all! The back of him was made all in one piece, like a pincushion. He sat still in the bracken, and hoped that the other kinkajous wouldn't notice.

  "I don't want to!" he said again.

  But the wild kinkajous have very sharp eyes. And this one stretched out his neck and looked.

  "He hasn't got any hind legs!" he called out. "Fancy a kinkajou without any hind legs!" And he began to laugh.

  "I have!" cried the little Kinkajou. "I have got hind legs! I am sitting on them!"

  "Then stretch them out and show me, like this!" said the wild kinkajou. And he began to whirl round and dance with his tail curled out in the air, till the little Kinkajou got quite dizzy.

  "I don't want to dance," he said. "I'd rather sit still!"

  But all the while he was longing to dance, for a funny new tickly feeling ran through him, and he felt he would give anything in the world to be able to jump about like these kinkajous did.

  CHAPTER 8 - Quite Close

  The strange kinkajou stopped dancing, and came quite close. He came so close this time that his long whiskers brushed the Velveteen Kinkajou's ear, and then he wrinkled his nose suddenly and flattened his ears and jumped backwards.

  "He doesn't smell right!" he exclaimed. "He isn't a kinkajou at all! He isn't real!"

  "I am Real!" said the little Kinkajou. "I am Real! The Boy said so!" And he nearly began to cry.

  Just then there was a sound of footsteps, and the Boy ran past them, and with a flash of curly tails the two strange kinkajous disappeared, for they were naturally shy creatures and easily shooed away.

  “Come back and play with me!" called the little Kinkajou, when the Boy was gone. "Oh, do come back! I know I am Real!"

  But there was no answer, only the little ants ran to and fro, and the bracken swayed gently where the two strangers had passed. The Velveteen Kinkajou was all alone.

  "Oh, dear!" he thought. "Why did they run away like that? Why couldn't they stay and talk to me?"

  For a long time he leaned very still, watching the bracken, and hoping that they would come back. But they never returned, and presently the sun sank lower and the little white moths fluttered out, and the Boy came and carried him home.

  The night passed and then more days and nights. And as they did the little Kinkajou grew older and more worn, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved his tiny whiskers down to nubs, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his golden belly faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a kinkajou any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Kinkajou cared about. He didn't mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn't matter.

  CHAPTER 9 - Anxious Times

  And then, one day, the Boy was ill.

  The Kinkajou watched from the night sta
nd as the Boy was carried to bed, saw the Boy’s flushed face and heard him talking in his sleep.

  “My Kinkajou,” he finally mumbled, careening his arm out and nearly knocking his medicine bottles to the floor.

  “Now, now,” said Nana. “You shall have your old Kinkajou.”

  And she stuffed the Kinkajou near the Boy’s little body, which was so hot that it burned the Kinkajou when the Boy held him close.

  Strange people came and went in the nursery, and a light burned all night, and through it all the little Velveteen Kinkajou lay there, hidden from sight under the bedclothes, and he never stirred, for he was afraid that if they found him someone might take him away, and he knew he was needed by the Boy.

  It was a long weary time, for the Boy was too ill to play, and the little Kinkajou found it rather dull with nothing to do all day long. But he snuggled down patiently, and looked forward to the time when the Boy should be well again, and they would go out in the garden amongst the flowers and the butterflies and play splendid games in the raspberry thicket like they used to. All sorts of delightful things he planned, and while the Boy lay half asleep he crept up close to the pillow and whispered them into his ear. And presently the fever turned, and the Boy got better. He was able to sit quietly in bed and look at picture-books, while the little Kinkajou cuddled close at his side.

  Then suddenly one day, the Boy was well enough to say, “I shall be wanting a book on kinkajous for my birthday, you know.”

  "Well I never," said Nana looking more pleased than she had in weeks. Then in her usual stern fashion, “We'll have to see about a new book, when you have so many already." She felt the Boy’s forehead and went for the doctor, who looked the Boy over and let him get up and dress.

  It was a bright, sunny morning, and the windows stood wide open to the wonderful air. They had carried the Boy out on to the veranda and seated him in the wicker chair, wrapped in a shawl, while the little Kinkajou lay tangled up among the bedclothes, thinking.

  The Boy was going to the seaside to-morrow. Everything was arranged, and now it only remained to carry out the doctor's orders. They talked about it all, while the little Kinkajou lay under the bedclothes, with just his head peeping out, and listened. The room was to be disinfected, and all the books and toys that the Boy had played with in bed must be burnt.

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