(Author: As I said, this is a short story -- and this is the final chapter!! I hope you like it and don't think it's too sappy at the end -- or stupid -- but if you do, WRITE A REVIEW!!)


It was yet another few days before the children were able to find food again. It came from a sweet old nanny lady who was traveling through. The two young girls who quite possessively claimed the dolls were walking hand-in-hand through the streets and, being quite adorable, the woman gave them a bit of money. They went to buy bread — what was stale was less expensive — and ran back to the home.

It was then that tragedy struck the poor home. While running back to the abandoned house, the poor Jester dropped his hat. The little girls didn't notice until later. After everyone had eaten, the poor flaxen-haired girl cried and cried at the loss of the Jester's hat. "'t was mine and I los' 't!" she sobbed.

The entire house quickly set to searching the streets between the abandoned home and the bread shop. One of the young, thieving boys found it. He cried with glee and ran to find the girl and return it.

The two dolls, left at the home alone, passed the time as they had before — scolding and laughing. "How could you drop your hat?" Mary Weather scolded. "What a dunce!"

"Better than you losing your whole body like you!" he cackled.

"You've lost your body, too!"

"Have not. I never had a body. I was made this way by your sweet old mum. She poured her love into me and brought me to life — and you tossed me in the closet! But I've wanted to be human, my whole life."

"How shall we get out of this, then?" she growled. "You spoke of a plan, did you not?"

"Did I? I can't quite remember."

"You've forgotten?!" she gasped with horror. "What a horrid boy, I knew I shouldn't have trusted you! Now I'm sullied, my clothes are ruined, my legs shall be chopped off, and you're—"

A rather large sound came from outside and the two dolls froze, as all dolls do in the presence of humans. A short, squat little dog with an angry bite entered first, attached to a long rope leading to a man's hand. Two were outside of the hole in the corner through which the children entered and exited.

"Aye, this be the place. I've seen them little rats crawling in and out 'o here from time to time."

The second man, a tall policeman, bent down to examine the other man's suspicion. "Looks like a bed. And that there's a dress. Aye, these rats are stealers!"

"Finally!" Mary Weather cried. "Now I shall be found and returned home!"

"What home? You mean, back to Mary Weather, the little girl who hasn't disappeared?" the Jester laughed.

"Oh, what do you know?"

The two men quickly retrieved the dog and left again, leaving Mary Weather's heart crushed. She begged for them to come back and fell from the slight loft in the process. Now her face was dirtied and she cried all the harder as the Jester laughed.

Only a few minutes later, the small children returned. The Jester's hat was placed on his head once more and though his mouth never changed, Mary Weather could tell he was smiling. The flaxen-haired orphan lifted him into her arms and snuggled him close, her cheeks rosy and happy. The raven-haired girl slowly picked up Mary Weather, shook her rather hard (for she had fallen in a puddle), and squeezed her just as tightly as she sucked her thumb.

The children — happy, warm under the quilt, and full of bread — and dreamed happily as the moon rose and they fell to sleep. Mary Weather pulled herself from the small girl's grip, wiggled her way out from the blankets, and headed for the door. "If you'll not come with me now," she told the Jester, "I shall leave you behind!"

The Jester had no time to answer. Just as Mary Weather was reaching the corner, the large, stout dog returned in the doorway. This time, his rope was not attached, and he growled inside.

The children did not wake until the beast was upon them. They screamed and ran around the dark building. Mary Weather's precious dresses were torn, her quilts ripped apart, and the dog was relentless to the small girls when it had been sent in for the two thieving boys.

At the entrance, ready in wait, were policemen — one for each child hiding inside. As one boy was captured, the bestial dog leapt at the small raven-haired girl. It pinned her to the ground, scratching at her back until blood stained her clothes.

"My wonderful dress!" Mary Weather cried. "You deserve this, girl, for stealing me!"

"NO!" the Jester cried. It was the first time Mary Weather had heard a sound from his mouth that was neither reproachful nor laughter. He flung himself at the beast. He had no claws with which to scratch nor teeth with which to bite, but he had cloth hands that he stabbed into the dog's eyes. The girl was quickly forgotten by the beast as it grabbed the Jester in its mouth. It shook its head this way and that, and Mary Weather could hear the cloth as it ripped.

A policeman, all but the raven-haired girl being rounded up, finally entered and whistled shrilly for the dog. It chomped on the Jester one last time and spat him out on the ground.

The six children were led away until only Mary Weather remained with the poor Jester. Stuffing and beads poured out from his wounds like blood; all seams below his neck ripped open, his body broken. Mary Weather crawled to him — on the verge of tears at such horror — and begged him to say something. He couldn't for the longest time, coughing when he tried. Beads and stuffing came from his throat when he did.

"No, please, Jester, you have to stay! I won't know what to do — I don't want to be alone!" Mary Weather cried.

"All I wanted," he whispered, "was to be human." And with that, the gleam in his glassy eyes died away.

Mary Weather remained in the empty room for quite some time after that. Though she had no needle or thread, she tried desperately to keep the Jester's stuffing inside of him. She could not.

She woke strangely on the ground as the sun rose. The hair on her cheek felt strange to her, her fingers more nimble, her sight more magnified. She looked down at herself and found her body human.

With delight she leapt to her feet and danced around. She had no cares that her dress and her stockings were clean again, she was just happy to be alive. She grabbed the Jester from the floor to wake him, but remembered with tears that he had died. She held his small, clothy corpse in her hands and cried. "My poor Jester…," she sobbed.

Then she heard a chuckle from the corner. She turned to see a wizened old woman. For once in her life, she remembered who this was. "You're the old woman who gave me the dress!" she gasped. "This is all your fault! You know magic, don't you? Of course you do! Use your magic — heal my friend, he's hurt!"

"He's dead. He was never meant to be human, child."

"But he wanted to be!"

"What do you care? You hated him. Didn't you say you wished you were rid of him? Now you are. You should be celebrating!"

Mary Weather pinched her lips together and stifled a sob. "But he should be human! He saved that girl's life, he deserves it!"

"Do you really think so?"

"Yes!" She looked down at her friend in her arms. She lifted him into her hands and his beads fell out. She gasped and tried to gather them back together. "Please, change him! Hurry, before it's too late!"

"It is already too late. He's dead."

"No! No, he can't be! Please, change him back!"

"He was brought to life by the love of your mother, and you tossed him aside. Why should I bring him back only to suffer through your tantrums again?"

"I won't toss him away! Please, I promise I'll love him forever if you'll only bring him back!"

"Mary Weather, do you know how you changed back into a human?"

She paused from her outcries and sniffled. "Because you felt sorry for me?"

"Only love can break the spells I place. You finally admitted to yourself that you loved him. Had he still been alive, he would have woken a human, as well."

Mary Weather slunk to the cold ground and hugged her dear friend and cried. The tears were no longer imaginary. They flowed down her cheeks and wetted her dress. She rubbed her eyes with dirty hands that left dark marks on her pale skin.

"But it's not fair! He should be the one who's human! I-I've been so horrible to him and now he's gone!"

"Do you really think that?" the old woman smiled.

Mary Weather nodded, wiping her eyes.

"There is… one thing I can do, but it requires a great sacrifice — one greater than you may be willing to give."

"No! I'll give anything!"

News of the raid of the small orphan's home passed by word of mouth around the town, eventually falling to the ears of dear Mr. Henry. The children were all held in a cell at the jail until they could pay bail or die. He quickly hatched a plan and went to retrieve them.

By the end of the week, all six children lived under the roof of Mr. Henry or his neighbors. His closest neighbor, the Lockleys, were happy to take the two rambunctious boys, leaving all four girls to Mr. Henry. They adored wearing his wife's clothing and he doted on them as if they were his own.

Years passed. The dear raven-haired girl, named Raven, and the flaxen-haired girl, Bridget, were now ten each. They often sat in the playroom and reminisced together of the old days and how much happier they were now.

"Of course, I always wonder what happened to my poor jester doll," Bridget confessed.

"You know, I had the queerest dream about him the other night!" Raven gasped. "I remember being attacked by that awful dog, the one that gave me the scars, but then I dreamed that your jester doll ran at it and started poking it in the eye! Silly, isn't it?"

"I wonder if they're still there?"

"The house hasn't been demolished, or sold," Raven noted. Being the more mischievous of the two, Raven conclusively decided that they should sneak away before dinner and peek back at their old home in search of their dolls. "They're sure to have been taken by others," but they still agreed to go.

The two, holding hands, skipped down the streets together. The people in the stores no longer hid their food from them, but as they saw children on the street, the girls gave them money to buy food with. They were all richly loved.

It took them longer than they expected to find their old home, as it had been nearly four years since and they had been quite young, but Raven asked a small boy living on the street and he showed them. The girls gasped with delight at the sight of the old entrance hole and ran at full speed in their dresses.

"Why, I'll be!" Bridget gawked. "Raven, they're still here!"

On what once had been the orphan's quilt now sat two dolls, hand in hand. They were quite a bit bigger than the girls remembered, and the most adorable smiles were painted on their faces.

"I told you they'd come back," Mary Weather beamed in doll speak. For once, the Jester did not argue. He merely laughed as he had so many times before.

The two girls scooped them up and carried them back to their home where they all remained happily for quite a long number of years.

The End.

(Author: And so, the story of Mary Weather has ended. PLEASE let me know what you think, and thank you for reading this far!! ADIEU!)