Effie had been playing with her dolls one cold December morning, and Lill had been reading, until both were tired. But it stormed too hard to go out, and, as Mrs. Pelerine had said they need not do anything for two hours, their little jaws might have been dislocated by yawning before they would as much as pick up a pin. Presently Lill said, “Effie, shall I tell you a story.”
“O yes! do!” said Effie, and she climbed up by Lill in the large rocking-chair in front of the grate. She kept very still, for she knew Lill’s stories were not to be interrupted by a sound, or even a motion. The first thing Lill did was to fix her eyes on the fire, and rock backward and forward quite hard for a little while, and then she said, “Now I am going to tell you about my thought travels, and they are apt to be a little queerer, but O! ever so much nicer, than the other kind!”
As Lill’s stories usually had a formal introduction she began: “Once upon a time, when I was taking a walk through the great field beyond the orchard, I went way on, ’round where the path turns behind the hill. And after I had walked a little way, I came to a high wall—built right up into the sky. At first I thought I had discovered the ‘ends of the earth,’ or perhaps I had somehow come to the great wall of China. But after walking a long way I came to a large gate, and over it was printed in beautiful gold letters, ‘Santa Claus Land,’ and the letters were large enough for a baby to read!”
How large that might be Lill did not stop to explain.