As I write this, I have before me on my desk, propped up against the telephone, an old rag doll. Dear old Raggedy Ann! The same Raggedy Ann with which my mother played when a child.
There she sits, a trifle loppy and loose-jointed, looking me squarely in the face in a straightforward, honest manner, a twinkle where her shoe-button eyes reflect the electric light. Evidently Raggedy has been to a “tea party” today, for her face is covered with chocolate. She smiles happily and continuously.
True, she has been nibbled by mice, who have made nests out of the soft cotton with which she has been stuffed, but Raggedy smiled just as broadly when the mice nibbled at her, for her smile is painted on.
What adventures you must have had, Raggedy! What joy and happiness you have brought into this world! And no matter what treatment you have received, how patient you have been!
What lessons of kindness and fortitude you might teach could you but talk; you with your wisdom of fifty-nine years. No wonder Rag Dolls are the best beloved! You are so kindly, so patient, so lovable. The more you become torn, tattered and loose-jointed, Rag Dolls, the more you are loved by children.
Who knows but that Fairyland is filled with old, lovable Rag Dolls — soft, loppy Rag Dolls who ride through all the wonders of Fairyland in the crook of dimpled arms, snuggling close to childish breasts within which beat hearts filled with eternal sunshine. So, to the millions of children and grown-ups who have loved a Rag Doll, I dedicate these stories of Raggedy Ann.
Marcella liked to play up in the attic at Grandma’s quaint old house, ‘way out in the country, for there were so many old forgotten things to find up there.
One day when Marcella was up in the attic and had played with the old spinning wheel until she had grown tired of it, she curled up on an old horse-hair sofa to rest. “I wonder what is in that barrel, ‘way back in the corner?” she thought, as she jumped from the sofa and climbed over two dusty trunks to the barrel standing back under the eaves. It was quite dark back there, so when Marcella had pulled a large bundle of things from the barrel she took them over to the dormer window where she could see better. There was a funny little bonnet with long white ribbons. Marcella put it on.
In an old leather bag she found a number of tin-types of queer looking men and women in old-fashioned clothes. And there was one picture of a very pretty little girl with long curls tied tightly back from her forehead and wearing a long dress and queer pantaloons which reached to her shoe-tops. And then out of the heap she pulled an old rag doll with only one shoe-button eye and a painted nose and a smiling mouth. Her dress was of soft material, blue with pretty little flowers and dots all over it.
Forgetting everything else in the happiness of her find, Marcella caught up the rag doll and ran downstairs to show it to Grandma. “Well! Well! Where did you find it?” Grandma cried. “It’s old Raggedy Ann!” she went on as she hugged the doll to her breast. “I had forgotten her. She has been in the attic for fifty years, I guess! Well! Well! Dear old Raggedy Ann! I will sew another button on her right away!” and Grandma went to the machine drawer and got her needle and thread. Marcella watched the sewing while Grandma told how she had played with Raggedy Ann when she was a little girl.
“Now!” Grandma laughed, “Raggedy Ann, you have two fine shoe-button eyes and with them you can see the changes that have taken place in the world while you have been shut up so long in the attic! For, Raggedy Ann, you have a new playmate and mistress now, and I hope you both will have as much happiness together as you and I used to have!” Then Grandma gave Raggedy Ann to Marcella, saying very seriously, “Marcella, let me introduce my dear friend, Raggedy Ann. Raggedy, this is my grand-daughter, Marcella!” And Grandma gave the doll a twitch with her fingers in such a way that the rag doll nodded her head to Marcella.
“Oh, Grandma! Thank you ever and ever so much!” Marcella cried as she gave Grandma a hug and kiss. “Raggedy Ann and I will have just loads of fun.” And this is how Raggedy Ann joined the doll family at Marcella’s house, where she began the adventures of Raggedy Ann, told in the following stories.