1. Once there was a little pink Rosebud, and she lived down in a little dark house under the ground. One day she was sitting there, all by herself, and it was very still. Suddenly, she heard a little TAP, TAP, TAP, at the door.
"Who is that?" she said.
"It's the Rain, and I want to come in;" said a soft, sad, little voice.
"No, you can't come in," the little Rosebud said.
2. By and by she heard another little TAP, TAP, TAP on the window pane.
"Who is there?" she said.
The same soft little voice answered, "It's the Rain, and I want to come in!"
"No, you can't come in," said the little Rosebud.
3. Then it was very still for a long time. At last, there came a little rustling, whispering sound, all round the window: RUSTLE, WHISPER, WHISPER.
"Who is there?" said the little Rosebud.
"It's the Sunshine," said a little, soft, cheery voice, "and I want to come in!"
"N--no," said the little pink rose, "you can't come in." And she sat still again.
4. Pretty soon she heard the sweet little rustling noise at the key-hole.
"Who is there?" she said.
"It's the Sunshine," said the cheery little voice, "and I want to come in, I want to come in!"
"No, no," said the little pink rose, "you cannot come in."
5. By and by, as she sat so still, she heard TAP, TAP, TAP, and RUSTLE, WHISPER, RUSTLE, all up and down the window pane, and on the door, and at the key-hole.
"WHO IS THERE?" she said.
"It's the Rain and the Sun, the Rain and the Sun," said two little voices, together, "and we want to come in! We want to come in! We want to come in!"
"Dear, dear!" said the little Rosebud, "if there are two of you, I s'pose I shall have to let you in."
6. So she opened the door a little wee crack, and in they came. And one took one of her little hands, and the other took her other little hand, and they ran, ran, ran with her, right up to the top of the ground. Then they said,--
"Poke your head through!"
So she poked her head through; and she was in the midst of a beautiful garden. It was springtime, and all the other flowers had their heads poked through; and she was the prettiest little pink rose in the whole garden!
For the next two years, exactly on the day the world had turned violet and then yellow, it turned new colors: first orange and then pink. Still the Blue Jay stayed blue, causing ever greater disagreement -- until in the fifth year the whole world turned blue.
It was exactly one year to the day after the world had turned violet that people awoke to find the world had turned yellow. All except the Blue Jay.
In some ways a yellow world isn't any different than a violet world. People simply said yellow instead of violet when they talked about things. Only now the Blue Jay was more important than ever because he alone had stayed the color blue and people argued about what that meant. They lined up for miles just to take a look at him.
The smartest scientists in the world gathered to figure it out. Was something wrong with people's eyes or was it a trick of nature? They did studies and tests and analyzed and evaluated and debated and wrote article after article, but couldn't explain it.
And no longer could people say they felt "blue" or were "green" with envy or had a "green" thumb. So what they said and how they said it began to change. Some people said violet was now the most important color in the world because it was everywhere. Others said that violet had no importance at all because there was too much of it. They discussed and argued, joined clubs, held debates, wrote books, and produced movies all about the issue of the importance or unimportance of the color violet.
The color of the Blue Jay became a big issue because he had such a little bit of blue and the world had such a whole lot of violet. People argued about the importance of that. Some said the Blue Jay must be a very special bird or maybe not a bird at all because he alone had kept his true color. Others said this was silly, that the Blue Jay ate bird seed and drank water and fluffed his feathers and that other than his special color he was still just a bird.
The first thing people asked was what about the Blue Jay. Had he stayed blue? Yes, he was still the same color. No longer were there two colors in the world, but just one -- the color blue. And because the Blue Jay was a color like everybody and everything else people began to lose interest. Now that he was neither more nor less important crowds stopped coming and one day, six months into the year that the world had turned blue, somebody let him out of his cage and he flew off looking happy to be free.
The very next morning the world regained its rainbow of colors as if nothing had ever happened. At first this was a novelty but soon people forgot the world had once been all violet. They forgot the world had once turned yellow, then orange, then pink, and then blue. They returned to saying they felt "blue" or were "green" with envy or had a "green" thumb.
Then one frosty evening when the stars were sparkling in the night sky and snowflakes were dancing past the windows, a little boy and his daddy came into the store.
"Hey look at this," said the daddy when he noticed Wolstencroft’s name tag. "This teddy bear has the same name as you! Only you’re called Sten for short and he’s called Woolly."
"What?" The boy called out in surprise. "I didn’t think anyone else in the whole great big world was called Wolstencroft."
And just like Wolstencroft the bear, he was beginning to hate his name.
"Why don’t you two get to know each other?" the daddy suggested as he lifted Wolstencroft down from the shelf.
And the little boy wrapped his arms around his namesake, which means someone who has the same name as yourself, and stroked his soft fur. And they both loved each other from that moment on.
"I love him daddy, can I have him for Christmas?" he asked hopefully. And when his daddy said yes, danced around the store with Wolstencroft, almost colliding with other shoppers as he did so.
Wolstencroft really wasn’t such a bad name after all they both decided as they whirled around the Christmas tree at the front of the store. In fact, it was starting to sound better all the time now that they had found each other in this wonderful way.
Wolstencroft the bear had never remembered feeling this happy before. Indeed, he felt so chock-full of joy that he thought he just might burst. He was going to a new home at last. And he knew that this little boy, who was called Sten, would be his very best friend forever.
Then Sten gave him a hug so big that his tummy was squished. But, of course, Wolstencroft didn’t care. Because no hug is too big for a teddy bear.
But finally, just before the dawn rose in the eastern sky, Rita had convinced him that Woolly was the best choice.
"You're right," Wolstencroft said as he closed his eyes and prepared to sleep. "It's nice to be dignified, but not to be stuffy."
And so it was that Wolstencroft became known as Woolly for short.
"I bet someone will come along and buy you tomorrow," Rita predicted as she fetched a black felt pen from the stationery department and underneath Wolstencroft, wrote Woolly for short.
But Rita was wrong. It was she, and not Wolstencroft, who went to a new home the next day.
Nobody bought Wolstencroft that day. Or the next day. Or the day after that.
In fact, all through that entire year, which felt very long indeed to Wolstencroft, nobody took him home to love and to hug him. And by this time he longed to be hugged so badly that sometimes he thought he just couldn't stand it any longer. Because, of course, no hug is too big for a teddy bear.
Soon it was almost Christmas time again. And the tinsel and the holly were decorating the drug store. And the shoppers were all very merry and wearing gaily colored scarves and mittens. But still no one bought Wolstencroft, who was feeling extra sad and lonely sitting there all by himself high above the Christmas cards and wrapping paper.
It's my name he decided sadly, as a tear rolled down his furry cheek. I hate it. And so does everyone else. I wish I were called anything but Wolstencroft. Even though it's now Woolly for short.
And here she stopped because the names beginning with X, Y and Z: Xavier, Yves and Zachary, were too difficult to pronounce. There was no sense in taking a name that was even harder to say than the one he already had.
But Wolstencroft didn't like any of the names she suggested. At least not for himself.
"They're all fine names," he said, popping a piece of chocolate into his mouth then dabbing his mouth with a napkin. "But, they're just not me."
Rita stayed lost in thought for a very long time, tapping her cheek with her finger. And it wasn't until the big clock behind the pharmacy counter struck ten that she finally spoke.
"I think I have the answer," she said. "You could have a name that's easy to say and keep your name at the same time."
Wolstencroft looked puzzled. "That doesn't make sense," he replied.
"Oh, but it does," Rita insisted. "You only have to shorten the name you have."
Wolstencroft began to look interested. "You mean I would still be Wolstencroft, but I'd have a shorter, easier to pronounce name for those who preferred it."
"That's right," she cried excitedly. "And you have such a long name that there are several choices." And she began ticking them off on her fingers.
"Woolly, Wolsten, Sten or Croft. Which one do you like best?"
Wolstencroft thought very carefully, mulling over each name in his mind.
"I like Croft," he decided at last. It's very dignified.
Rita looked disappointed. "I like Woolly best," she said. "It's so cuddly and friendly. And you are woolly, you have a lovely thick coat."
Wolstencroft looked uncertain.
"You would still be Wolstencroft," Rita reminded him. "And that's a very dignified name indeed. Woolly would be a nice contrast."
They talked it over for well into the night as this was a very important decision. There are very few things as important as one's name.