Nicholas was a very bad little boy. He was always hiding away. When it was time to bath, Nicholas could not be found. When it was time to go to bed, no one knew where Nicholas was. He was a very hiding-sort of little boy.
You would not think it to look at him, because outside Nicholas was a very nice-looking little boy. But inside he was very bad indeed! He had learned that he could hide his badness out of sight.
Nicholas lived with his Daddy and Mommy, and brother and sister and Granny in an up-stairs-down-stairs house. At the bottom of the stairs going up, there stood a large, old cupboard, which no one ever used. In fact, everyone had forgotten about the old cupboard even being there, except Nicholas. One day Nicholas decided to open the door and look inside, and to his great surprise, he found it quite empty, and big enough to hold him! So he climbed inside and shut the door behind him. At first, it seemed too dark inside there to suit Nicholas, but the longer he stayed there, the more he liked it, and after a short while the darkness didn’t bother Nicholas at all. In fact, he rather liked it!
While he was sitting there thinking what to do next, Mommy called out, “Nicholas! Where are you?” But Nicholas kept perfectly still and very quiet, and Mommy soon went away, never knowing where he was! He thought to himself, ‘What a very clever boy I am, to have found such a good hiding place!’
(Was he clever? Oh, no! It is a very foolish thing to do to climb into a cupboard and close the door behind you, for you may never get out again!)
But Nicholas was a hiding sort of little boy, and he liked being there, all shut up in the dark, where no one could find him. When he came out at last, Mommy asked him where on earth he had been, but Nicholas did not tell her. He pretended that he could not remember a thing about it! He was bad!
One day Nicholas was playing with Martin’s telescope. Martin was Nicholas’ big brother, and he didn’t allow Nicholas to play with it, but Nicholas had waited until Martin was gone, and then took it! Well, Nicholas was very careless, as a rule, and of course, he broke it! And of course he did not go straight away to Martin to tell him what had happened, as he should have. No, Nicholas decided to hide it away instead.
But where? Of course! His cupboard! That was just the right sort of hiding place for it, he thought, and he ran there quickly and hid the telescope in the cupboard where no one would ever think to look for it. Poor Martin was terribly unhappy! He hunted high and low for the telescope, but couldn’t find it anywhere! Everyone thought that a thief might have taken it through the open window. It was a mystery to all, except Nicholas.
Another time, Karen, his little sister, wouldn’t play with him – she was too busy with her new doll to have time for Nicholas. He got really fed up with Karen, and when she went to bath, Nicholas took her doll and hid it in the cupboard!
“Now let her play with the silly thing!” said Nicholas crossly. “She’ll never find it there!”
And she never did! Poor Karen was heartbroken. She hunted high and low for her dear dolly, but in the end, Daddy said she might have left it outside, and perhaps the dog from next door had gotten hold of it. Karen cried for days.