In one of the nicest nurseries in the world there were beds for three young people called John Napoleon, and Wendy Moira Angela, and Michael, the children of Mr. and Mrs. Darling. The nursery was wide and airy, with a large window, and a bright fire with a high fire-guard round it, and a big clock, and prettily-coloured nursery-rhyme pictures over the walls. It was in many ways a most interesting household. For one thing, although there was a pretty little parlour-maid called Liza, the children were bathed and dressed by a big dog called Nana, whose kennel was kept in the nursery.
On the evening on which our story begins, Nana was dozing peacefully by the fireside, with her head between her paws. Mr. and Mrs. Darling were getting ready to go out to dinner and Nana was to be left in sole charge of the children. Presently the clock went off with a whirr, and struck—one, two, three, four, five, six—time to begin to put the children to bed.
Nana got up, and stretched herself, and carefully switched on the electric light. You would have been surprised to see how cleverly she managed to do that with her mouth. Then she turned the bedclothes neatly down and hung the little pyjamas over the fire-guard. She then trotted up to the bathroom and turned on the water; after feeling it with her paw to make sure that it was not too hot, she went off to look for Michael, who, being the youngest of the three children, must go to bed first. She returned immediately with him sitting astride on her back as though she were a pony. Michael, of course, did not want to be bathed, but Nana was firm and, taking him to the bathroom, shut the door so that he should not be in a draught. Then Mrs. Darling came to peep at him as he splashed about in the nice warm water.
Whilst Mrs. Darling was in the nursery she heard a wee noise outside the window, as a tiny figure, no bigger than a little boy, tried the window-latch, and vanished suddenly at her cry of surprise. She flung the window open, but there was nothing to be seen, nothing but the dim roofs of the neighbouring houses, and the deep blue sky above. She began to frighten herself with eerie bogie tales, for the same thing had happened the day before, when Nana had gone to the window and shut it down so quickly that she had cut off the boy’s shadow. Mrs. Darling had found it in Nana’s mouth, and had carefully folded it and put it away. But she soon felt reassured when her children came in together in answer to her call.
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