The Sweethearts; or, The Top and the Ball
A top and a ball were lying together in a drawer among a lot of other toys. The top said to the ball, "Since we live in the same drawer, we ought to be sweethearts."
But the ball, which was covered with a morocco leather, and thought as much of itself as any fine lady, would not even answer such a proposal.
The next day the little boy to whom the top belonged took it out, painted it red and yellow, and drove a brass nail into it; so that the top looked very elegant when it was spinning around.
"Look at me!" it said to the ball. "What do you think? Shall we be sweethearts now? We are just made for each other! You bounce and I dance. None could be happier than we two."
"That's what you think!" said the ball. "You evidently don't realize that my father and my mother were a pair of morocco slippers, and that I have a cork in my body!"
"Yes, but I am made of mahogany!" said the top. "The mayor himself turned me on his own lathe and had a lot of fun doing it."
"Am I supposed to believe that?" said the ball.
"May I never be whipped again if I'm lying!" answered the top.
"You speak very well for yourself, but I'm afraid it's impossible. I'm almost engaged to a swallow. Whenever I bounce up in the air, it puts its head out of its nest and says, 'Will you be mine? Will you be mine?' And to myself I've always said 'Yes.' But I promise I shall never forget you."
"That will do me a lot of good," said the top, and that ended their conversation right then and there!
The next day the ball was taken out, and the top saw her flying high up into the air, just like a bird; so high that you could hardly see her. And every time she came back, she bounced up again, as soon as she touched the ground. That was either because she was longing for the swallow or because she had cork in her body. At the ninth bounce the ball disappeared; the boy looked and looked, but it was gone. The top sighed; "I know where she is: she's in the swallow's nest and has married the swallow."
The more the top thought of this, the more infatuated he became with the ball.