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Toby's Box

Children's Story
Toby was playing with his favourite toy. His family's new television had come packed in a large cardboard box, and now the box was empty Toby loved playing with it. Today it was a bus. Since his family had a car, Toby had only once travelled on a bus. It had been the highlight of his life. Now his big cardboard box was a bus, and Toby was the proud driver. Sometimes he would allow it his baby sister Samantha to sit in his bus as a passenger. But if she started to cry he got fed up and turned her out.

Toby's dad offered to paint the box red, just like a real London bus. But Toby didn't care about the colour. He knew it was a bus and that was all that mattered. Toby played with his bus for several weeks. Then one day his mother found him underneath the box. "Why, Toby," she said, "I hope your bus hasn't had an accident. It seems to be a upside-down."

The box shifted, and Toby emerged. He stared at his mother in amazement. "This isn't a bus," he exclaimed. "It's a house."

"Oh!" said his mother. The she added, "If you put it on its side, perhaps you could use the flap as a door."

Toby considered his mother's suggestion, and turned the box on its side. He spent many happy hours crawling into and out of the box, and he even brought some of his toys into his new house, sitting them on a smaller cardboard boxes which had become chairs.

One day he brought Samantha into his house and gave her a tea-party with some of his toys. Samantha was very excited, but when she banged her spoon in the jam and it flew all over Toby's new house, she had to go out.

That weekend, Toby's uncle took him out on the boating lake in a rowing boat. It was the first time Toby had ever been in a boat, and he loved it. He loved leaning over the side and trailing his hand in the water. He loved trying to row, but his uncle had to rescue the oar when Toby dropped it in the water. And after a while, when a man on the edge of the pond shouted, "Come in No. 7" through a big metal cylinder, Toby's uncle rowed the boat back to shore and the outing was over.

After that, the box became a boat. Toby spent hours leaning over the side and trailing his hand along the carpet, which was blue and looked just like water. And sometimes he would leap out of the boat and shout through the cardboard tube which came from the middle of the paper towel roll in the kitchen, "Come in No. 7!"

When Toby grew too old to play in cardboard boxes, he used the box to store his favourite toys. And after that, it stored his homework and later, his college notes. Even after he was married, Toby kept the box. And one day, he's sure it will become the favourite plaything of his own family.
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