The Little Engine that Could
by Watty Piper
Chug chug chug. Puff puff puff.
The little train ran along the tracks. She was a happy little train. Her cars were full of good things for boys and girls. There were all kinds of toy animals. Giraffes with long necks, teddy bears with no necks, and even a baby elephant. There were all kinds of dolls. Dolls with blue eyes and yellow hair, dolls with brown eyes and brown hair, and the funniest toy clown you ever saw. There were toy trucks, airplanes, and boats. There were picture books, games, and drums to play. The little train carried every kind of toy that boys or girls could want.
But that was not all. The little train carried good thing to eat, too. Big, round oranges…fat, red apples…long, yellow bananas…fresh, cold milk…and lollipops to eat after dinner. The little train was taking all these good things to the other side of the mountain.
“How happy the boys and girls will be to see me!” said the little train. “They will like the toys and good food that I am bringing.”
But all at once the train came to a stop. She did not move at all.
“Oh, dear,” said the little train. “What can be the matter?”
She tried to start up again. She tried and tried. But her wheels just would not turn.
“We can help,” said the toy animals.
The clown and the animals climbed out of their cars. They tried to push the little train. But she did not move.
“We can help, too,” said the dolls. And they got out and tried to push. Still the little train did not move. The toys and dolls did not know what to do.
Just then a shiny new engine came puffing down another track.
“Maybe that engine can help us!” cried the clown. He began to wave a red flag. The Shiny New Engine slowed down. The dolls and toys called out to him. “Our engine is not working,” they said. “Please pull our train over the mountain. If you do not, the boys and girls will not have any toys or good food.
The Shiny New Engine was not friendly. “You want me to pull you?” he asked. “That is not what I do. I carry people. They sit in cars with soft seats. They look out the windows. They eat in a nice dining car. They even sleep in a fine sleeping car. I pull the likes of you? I should say not!” Off went the Shiny New Engine without another word. How sad all the toys and dolls felt!
Then the toy clown called out, “Here comes another engine. A big, strong one. Maybe this engine will help us.” Again the clown waved his flag. The Big Strong Engine came to a stop. The toys and dolls called out together, “Please help us, Big Strong Engine. Our train is not working. But you can pull us over the mountain. You must help us. Or the boys and girls will not have any toys to play with or good food to eat.”
But the Big Strong Engine did not want to help. “I do not pull toys,” he said. “I pull cars full of heavy logs. I pull big trucks. I have no time for the likes of you.” And away puffed the Big Strong Engine without another word.
By this time the little train was no longer happy. And the dolls and toys were ready to cry. But the clown called out, “Look! Look! Another engine is coming. A little blue engine. A very little one. Maybe this engine will help us.”
The Little Blue Engine was a happy engine. She saw the clown waving his red flag and stopped at once. “What is the matter?” she asked in a kind way.
“Oh, Little Blue Engine,” cried the dolls and toys. “Will you pull us over the mountain? Our engine is not working. If you do not help, the boys and girls will have no toys or good food. Just over the mountain. Please, please help us.”
“Oh, my,” said the Little Blue Engine. “I am not very big. And I do not pull trains. I just work in the yards. I have never even been over the mountain.”
“But we must get there before the children wake up,” said the toys and dolls. “Please?”
The Little Blue Engine looked at the dolls and toys. She could see that they were not happy. She thought about the children on the other side of the mountain. Without toys or good food, they would not be happy either.
The Little Blue Engine pulled up close. She took hold of the little train. The toys and dolls climbed back into their cars. At last the Little Blue Engine said,
“I think I can climb up the mountain. I think I can. I think I can.”
Then the Little Blue Engine began to pull. She tugged and she pulled. She pulled and she tugged. Puff puff, chug chug went the little engine.
“I think I can. I think I can,” she said.
Slowly, slowly, the train started to move. The dolls and toys began to smile and clap. Puff Puff, chug chug. Up the mountain went the Little Blue Engine. And all the time she kept saying,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”
Up, up, up. The little engine climbed and climbed. At last she reached the top of the mountain. Down below lay the city.
“Hurray! Hurray!” cried the dolls and animals. “The boys and girls will be so happy,” said the toy clown. “All because you helped us, Little Blue Engine.”
The Little Blue Engine just smiled.
But as she puffed down the mountain, the Little Blue Engine seemed to say…
”I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could.”