|THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER|
Once there was a toy maker who made the most beautiful, original toys in the world. He made them so tragically beautiful in the way that they had very humanistic flaws. The Porcelain Doll so fragile that one unkind word would shatter her into a million milky white pieces.
The Wind-up Ballerina Doll who danced so beautifully, but always by herself. She longed for a partner to ease her loneliness.
The Jack-in-the-Box who was clever, but made with out kindness so he was selfish and cruel.
The three of them lived together, being watched over by the toy maker. One day the Toy Maker created a group of Tin Soldiers for a little boy. The Toy Maker had made twelve Tin Soldiers, but after the eleventh Soldier the Toy Maker ran out of bravery so he replaced it with loyalty. The twelfth soldier did not go with his brother's he stayed behind out of loyalty to the Toy Maker and became simply known as Steadfast.
As soon as Steadfast saw the Ballerina Doll, he was in love, but couldn't bring himself to talk to her. And while Steadfast was watching the Ballerina, the Jack-in-the-Box was watching the two of them. Waiting and watching. The Jack-in-the-Box was also in love with the Ballerina, but whenever he tried to tell her the words came out wrong he found that what ever he said would bring her to tears.
Without kindness he couldn't express his feelings for her which only made him angrier and more withdrawn . And so he sat in his box thinking terrible thoughts, making terrible plans.
The Ballerina Doll had also noticed Steadfast. She noticed how kind he looked, if not a bit shy. The Ballerina wanted him to talk to her, but he always stayed at his end of the toy box. Feeling dejected the Ballerina spoke to her friend the Porcelain Doll.
"I don't understand why he won't speak to me? Am I that terrible?" The Ballerina asked.
"I don't think that's it," replied the Porcelain Doll, "I think he's just shy. Why don't you go talk to him?"
"Can I do that?"
"You can do what ever you want."
With a new resolve the Ballerina set out to speak to Steadfast. She found him in his usual spot. Her stomach was in knots as she approached. But finally a word came out of her mouth, just one word.
"Hello," she said
Steadfast looked up with a start. He hadn't expected this at all, and very quickly he responded back with a meek, "Hello,"
The Ballerina continued, "I noticed that you don't have many friends here, and I just thought you could use someone to talk to."
"Thank you." Steadfast wanted to say more but the words weren't coming.
"I was also wondering if you dance, I like to dance..."
"I know, I like to watch you,"
"That sounded much creepier than I meant it too, I meant you're so graceful. I could never move like that, I just like the way you move."
"Thank you. Would you like to dance with me?"
"I couldn't, it's not that I don't want to, but I wasn't made to dance. I wasn't made for any purpose it seems. I had eleven brothers, we were an entire battalion. But when the boy who bought us came to pick us up I was too scared to go and I hid so I could stay here. Now I'm the only one. It can be very lonely being a soldier without courage."
"It can also be lonely to be a Ballerina without a partner."
"I suppose I could try to dance with you. I'm sure I'll be very bad at it and..."
"You'll be amazing."
And so Steadfast and the Ballerina shared a dance. But it was more than a dance really. There was that feeling that things were going to be different now, all because they had found something they needed desperately. Each other.
"Thank you," The Ballerina Doll said, " I don't suppose you'd like to try this again tomorrow?"
"More than anything." Steadfast replied as he started to leave.
"You were wrong about one thing though," The Ballerina called after him.
"You were made with a purpose. You make me happy." And both the Ballerina and Steadfast smiled.
The Jack in the Box had seen all of this, and wasn't going to stand for it. Years of loving the Ballerina Doll, years of trying to tell her how he felt and in one afternoon she falls in love with this insignificant tin soldier. He was going to have his revenge.
That night while Steadfast was asleep in his box dreaming lovely dreams of dancing he felt it rattling and shaking. He pushed open the lid to find Jack tearing his way in.
"She was mine!" Jack yelled "She was mine and you took her from me!"
"I didn't take anything, she can make her own choices."
"I have loved her for as long as I can remember, and now you're going to pay and so is she!"
For the first time since he had been made something stirred inside of Steadfast. He wanted to protect the Ballerina. Somewhere deep inside Steadfast found the courage so he took his sword and fought back.
"Steadfast! Come quickly!"
Steadfast heard her cry and came running, "What is it? What's wrong?"
"Jack's taken The Ballerina Doll."
"To the fireplace, you have to stop him."
"What about you?"
"Never mind me, it's too late for me. But you can still save her."
And with that the Porcelain Doll shattered leaving Steadfast alone to save the Ballerina Doll.
Jack was dragging her off when Steadfast found them. The Ballerina Doll yelled to him and Steadfast grabbed her hand.
Steadfast had never felt more alone. He hadn't been brave enough to go with his brothers, nor could he save the Porcelain Doll, and now he couldn't save the Ballerina Doll. Once again, Steadfast's fear turned to anger, and that anger turned to something rather like courage. Steadfast ran to the fireplace to stop the Jack in the Box, but it was too late. The Jack in the Box had started a fire and the flames were to high for the Ballerina to get out. Steadfast jumped in the fire after her.
"No!" The Ballerina yelled, "There's no way out we're both trapped."
"I know," Steadfast said solemnly.
"Then why did you do this, you could've saved yourself."
"I don't want to exist if you're not there."
The Ballerina said nothing else, there were no more words. She and Steadfast just clung to each other as the flames ate them away.
The next morning the Toy Maker looked around his work shop at the destruction. The broken Porcelain Doll, the toy boxes opened and flung around the room. He also couldn't find the Ballerina Doll or the Tin Soldier. Then he noticed a flash of light from as the sun glistened on something in the ashes of the fireplace. He walked over, and there in the debris was The Ballerina Dolls beautiful tiara intertwined with melted tin. From that day on the Toy Maker never made another toy again, and the Jack in the Box due to his treachery lived the rest of his days in lonely solitude slowly going mad.