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Anna Bandanna

Anna Bandanna

			      Anna Bandanna

      		          by Karen Deal Robinson
e-mail for questions or comments.

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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		Chapter 1: Emily Meets Anna

	"What's the matter, honey?" said Grandma, as Emily flung
her backpack on Grandma's kitchen table and slunk into a chair.
	Emily scowled. "I don't have any friends."
	"I'm your friend."
	"I know," Emily said impatiently. "But you're family.
I'm talking about school. Everybody in the whole third grade
hates me."
	Grandma thought about that. Then she nodded. "Children
can be so awful sometimes."	
	Well, at least Grandma faced facts. Mom would have said,
"Oh, Emily, that can't be true. They couldn't hate a sweet
girl like you."
	Grandma sighed and went on. "It seems like everybody
has one year like that. Mine was fourth grade. And your
father's was seventh. Maybe you're lucky to be getting yours
out of the way so early."
	Emily sighed again. This was only October. June seemed
a lifetime away. "How did you ever live through it?"
	Grandma gave her a secret smile. "I had one very special
	"I wish I did. One friend is all I need."
	"Would you like to meet my friend?" said Grandma.
	Emily shrugged. Grandma's friend must be an old lady
by now. "Does she live around here?"
	"She lives in this house." For some reason Grandma laughed.
	"In this house! I thought you lived alone. Except for
Lloyd George." As Emily said the cat's name, Lloyd George jumped
onto her lap and began licking his black and white fur.
	"Oh, no. Anna Bandanna lives with us too. Come on,
I'll show you."
	Emily peeled herself and Lloyd George out of the chair
and followed Grandma down the hall to the bedroom. She felt
completely bewildered. She'd never seen anyone else living
at Grandma's house.
	Grandma opened a dresser drawer. "Emily, meet Anna
Bandanna. Anna, this is my granddaughter Emily." She held
out a little rag doll.
	The doll and her clothes seemed to be all made of the
same kind of cloth: green with a swirling gold pattern. She
wore a long skirt and a shawl over her head, like a goose-girl
in an old-fashioned fairy tale. Even her face was golden.
But Emily thought she saw the twinkle of black eyes. Or was
that just part of the pattern printed on the cloth?
	There was something about the little rag doll that made
Emily want to hug her. Still, she found herself asking, "Weren't
you too old to play with dolls in the fourth grade? I don't
play with them much anymore."
	Grandma pulled her glasses down her nose and looked at
Emily over the tops of them. "How old are you, Emily? Eight?
I'm eighty, and I still play with Anna Bandanna. I'll tell
you a secret: she's not just a doll. She's magic." She
put the doll into Emily's arms.
	Emily looked down into the little golden face. What
could be magic about a floppy old rag doll? Then she yelped.
"Grandma! She winked at me!"
	"I wouldn't be surprised," Grandma said calmly. "And
she can do more than wink. You'll see."
	"I will? will you let me play with her when I come to
visit you?" Emily forgot that she was too old to play with
a rag doll.
	"I'll do more than that. You can have her if you want."
	Emily looked down at the sweet little face. She thought
she could see more of it now, maybe the hint of a smile.
	"Are you sure, Grandma? You said you still play with her."
	"I do, honey. But that's all right. You see, Anna Bandanna
knows the secret of the transmigration of the soul."
	Emily loved the way Grandma wasn't afraid to use big
words with her. "The transmigration of the soul," she said
carefully. "What does that mean, Grandma?"
	Grandma looked over Emily's head, as though she saw
something far away. Then she looked back at Emily and smiled.
"Well, in this case it means I can give Anna Bandanna to you
without losing her myself. Maybe she can explain it to you."
	"Oh, Grandma, how could a doll explain anything? She
can't talk."
	Anna Bandanna lifted her head. "Can't I?" she said.

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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		Chapter 2: Emily and Anna meet Fatma

	Emily sat with her back to the big cottonwood tree and
ran her hand over the gravel beside her. She had tucked Anna
Bandanna into her jacket, where nobody else could see her.
She could just imagine how the other kids would tease her
if they saw her playing with an old rag doll. If it had been
an expensive new Curlie Carlie doll, of course that would 
be different.
	Anna Bandanna peeked out past Emily's jacket zipper.
"Who are the ones who pick on you?"
	"All of them," Emily said bitterly. She wasn't worried
that anyone would hear her talking by herself. They were
all over on the other side of the playground, playing some
noisy game. At least it wasn't Let's-Get-Emily.
	"Who's the worst?" Anna Bandanna persisted.
	"The girl with the brown pigtails. Her name's Logan.
She's always calling me awful names. And she gets the other
kids to chase me."
	"Hmmm." Anna Bandanna peered at Logan thoughtfully.
Then she turned her head. "And who's that girl sitting by
the wall?"
	Emily hadn't noticed the girl sitting there, bundled
in her strange long dress and the big scarf over her hair.
She looked a little like Anna Bandanna. "I don't know her.
She's new. She has a funny name. Fatma. But she's not really
fat at all. Logan says all foreigners have stupid names."
	"Why don't you go talk to her?" Anna Bandanna suggested.
	"Well, she hardly speaks English. And the other kids
would tease me if I talked to her. Besides, she probably
wouldn't like me either."
	Anna Bandanna ignored Emily's last sentence. She poked
her head right out of the jacket and frowned. "Don't they
tease you already? What have you got to lose? It'll be all
right. I promise."
	Emily shrugged. "All right." She stood up and walked
over to the girl by the wall. "Hey, Fatma, want to play with
	The girl looked up warily. "Play?"
	"Sure. My name's Emily."
	"Emily," Fatma repeated. "Yes, I will play. Thank you."
	Emily sat down beside her. "Want to see the doll I got
from my Grandma? She looks kind of like you."
	Fatma nodded.
	Emily took Anna Bandanna out of her jacket and made her
dance. Fatma laughed with delight.
	"Ohh," said a hateful voice. A black shadow fell across
the two girls. Emily looked up in alarm to see Logan standing
over them. "Look at the two babies playing dolly," Logan
said scornfully. "Didn't anybody ever warn you, Emily, about
playing with Iranians? They're all terrorists, you know.
She'll probably plant a bomb in your desk one of these days.
But you're so stupid, you won't even notice when it goes off."
	Fatma's black eyes flashed. "I am not Iranian. I am
from Turkey."
	"You are a turkey," Logan retorted. "Gobble gobble gobble.
Fatma's a big fat turkey."
	Emily jumped up. "Shut up, Logan. Nobody wants you
around. You're just a loud-mouthed bully." She'd never been
able to tell Logan off before. Having Fatma there to defend
made it easier.
	"Good girl, Emily!" cried Anna Bandanna.
	Logan snatched the doll out of Emily's arms. "Is this
the stupid doll you're playing with? It's not even a real
doll. It's just an old snot-rag tied in a knot."
	Emily blinked. Through her tears, Anna Bandanna did
look like nothing more than a bandanna tied into a knot.
	Anna Bandanna put her rolled-up cloth hands on her hips.
"You'd better watch your language, Logan."
	Logan put her face right next to Emily's. "And you'd
better watch your mouth, Emily. Pretending the snot-rag is
talking won't protect you."
	"Hi-yah!" Anna Bandanna slithered out of Logan's grasp
and climbed up to her shoulder. Her soft floppy arms flailed
like a propeller as she slapped Logan's face with them.
	It couldn't have hurt, but Logan still yelled. "Aaah!
Get it off me! What are you doing?"
	Anna Bandanna jumped onto one of Logan's pigtails and
slid down it like a firepole, unbraiding it on the way down.
She landed in Fatma's lap.
	Logan ran away, half her hair in a wild tangle and the
other still in a braid. "I'll get you, Emily, on the way
home from school!"
	Emily and Fatma hardly heard her, they were laughing
so hard.

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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		Chapter 3: Anna and the Bullies

	The walk home from school was more fun than it had been
all year. Not only was Anna Bandanna sitting jauntily on
Emily's shoulder, but Fatma walked beside her, shyly trying
to answer her questions about Turkey. The bright October
sun sparkled on the lake beside the sidewalk.
	"How do you say "turkey" in Turkish?" Emily asked. "The
bird, I mean, not the country."
	"Hindi," said Fatma .
	"Logan's the one who's a big fat hindi!" said Emily.
	Fatma and Anna Bandanna laughed.
	Emily laughed too. It felt so good to be laughing with
friends instead of walking along with her head down, hoping
no one would notice her.
	Then a cold wind blew up her neck. She heard a familiar
sound, lots of feet running up behind her. It was too late
to hide.
	"Hey, Emily!" Logan shouted. "Where are you going?
You and the big fat turkey girl going to play dolly some more?"
	The kids with Logan surrounded Emily and Fatma. Emily's
heart sank. There were too many of them; Anna Bandanna couldn't
fight them all off.
	Logan snatched Anna Bandanna again, and held her so tightly
that she couldn't get loose. As Emily spun around, Logan
gave a quick tug, and the green-and-gold bandanna fluttered
open like a flag. Logan waved it over Emily's head. "Here's
your stupid old bandanna. Come and get it."
	Emily's heart felt like a cinderblock inside her. There
was no point jumping for the bandanna now. "You murdered
her!" she shouted in a rage of tears. "You're a murderer."
	"Oh, grow up!" Logan laughed and picked a rock up from
beside the sidewalk. Emily was afraid Logan would throw the
rock at her or Fatma. But instead, she tied it inside the
bandanna, and threw the bandanna into the lake.
	Emily watched it soaring through the air like a
green-and-gold comet. Far, far out on the lake, a tiny white
splash jumped up. The ripples ran out across the water, but
long before they reached Emily they were lost in the October
	Emily couldn't move. She scarcely heard the laughter
around her. Anna Bandanna was gone. Grandma had treasured
her for seventy years, and now she was gone forever.

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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		Chapter 4: The Transmigration of the Soul

	"I'm sorry, Grandma," Emily sobbed. She sat on the big
blue stuffed couch, shivering in Grandma's arms. "I should
never have taken her to school. Now she's gone forever."
	Grandma stroked Emily's hair. "Of course she's not gone
forever. Didn't she explain to you about the transmigration
of the soul?"
	Emily sobbed harder. "I forgot to ask her. And now
it's too late!"
	"It's not too late. We can always make another. It's
a shame to lose that old bandanna, but I have lots of
handkerchiefs. I think I will call the principal, though.
Even if it was only an old bandanna, stealing shouldn't be
	"Mom already did," Emily snuffled. "Logan's going to
kill me for snitching. Anyway, it wouldn't do any good to
make another doll. It wouldn't be Anna Bandanna."	
	"But it would," said Grandma. "That's what the
transmigration of the soul means. What do you think it was
that made that bandanna come alive?"
	Emily wiped her eyes. "Magic."
	Grandma nodded. "That's one name for it. But it was
really just love, first mine and then yours. A doll or a
stuffed animal is really just cloth until you love it. Nothing
more than a rag or a pillow. But when you put your love and
your imagination into it, you're putting part of yourself
into it, and so you can never really lose it. We'll make
a new Anna Bandanna out of another handkerchief, and she'll
be the same one because she's really part of you. In fact,
I'll show you how to make her, and then you can re-create
her out of a handkerchief any time you want."
	Emily jumped up, suddenly happy. "Does it work with
people too?"
	"Does what work?"
	"The transmigration of the soul. Dying and then being
the same person in a new body."
	Grandma kissed her on the forehead. "I don't know, honey.
That's the great mystery." She sat still a moment, lost in
thought. Then she stood up. "Come on, let's find a
handkerchief. More than one; you can make dolls for your
friends too."
	"I don't have any--" Emily started to say. Then she
remembered. "Fatma would love a doll like Anna Bandanna."
	Grandma didn't look surprised. She only nodded. Emily
followed her down the hall to the bedroom. Grandma opened
a little dresser drawer full of bandannas. "What color would
you like?"
	"Here's a green-and-gold one like the one I lost. And
this brown-and-gold one would be good for Fatma. It would
look just like her."
	"Take a few more," said Grandma.
	"Why? I only have one friend."
	"That's one more than you had yesterday. Who knows what
the next few days may bring." Grandma spread the green-and-gold
bandanna on the bed, and showed Emily how to make a doll by
rolling and tying it.
	"How did you learn how to do this?" asked Emily, as
she carefully rolled up the sides of the brown-and-gold bandanna
until they met in the middle. "It looks like a scroll."
	Grandma nodded. "My grandmother showed me how. I grew
up during the Depression, and there wasn't any money for toys.
I had a bear my mother knitted for me, and a wooden horse
my father carved. But my favorite was Anna Bandanna. Here's
the hard part, now. Twist the middle of the scroll all the
way around, and fold the top part down behind the bottom part.
The twist makes her scarf."
	Emily tried to twist her bandanna the same way, but Grandma
had to help her a little.
	"Anyway, there was a terrible tornado. We were all safe
down in the cellar, but we lost the house and everything we
owned. But I didn't lose Anna Bandanna, because she wasn't
really a thing. She was something I knew how to do." Grandma
pulled at the back ends of the scroll. "Now pull the ends
around in front and tie them. See? There she is. People
can always take things away from you, Emily. But no one can
take away knowledge. If you know how to do something, you
have that forever."

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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		Chapter 5: Logan Cries

	"Oh, Emily!" Fatma hugged the brown-and-gold doll.
"She is beautiful! I will call her Yasemin."
	They came to the playground and sat together under the
cottonwood tree. Soon a group of kids came walking by. Logan
turned and walked toward the tree. "You got me in a lot of
trouble, Emily," she said.
	For a minute Emily felt like running and hiding. Then
she raised her head. "You got yourself in trouble, Logan.
I didn't ask you to throw my grandmother's doll in the lake."
	"I don't see what a big deal it was. Looks like you
got another one."
	Emily looked into Logan's eyes. To her surprise, she
saw angry tears there. Anna Bandanna whispered in Emily's
ear, "Make a doll for her."
	Emily took one of the extra bandannas from her pocket.
It was blue with pink flowers. "Want me to make one for you?
I will if you'd like one."
	Logan did the last thing Emily ever would have expected.
She sat down on the gravel and burst into tears. Imagine
Logan crying! Logan had always made Emily cry.
	"What's the matter?" Emily felt almost scared.
	"My mom threw away all my toys," Logan cried. "Even
the Curlie Carlie. She got mad at my dad and went through
the whole house throwing away things. She said my room was
a dump, and she got a big trash bag and threw away all my
favorite toys. She was sorry later, but by then the trash
men had come. She said she'd buy me some more when the next
paycheck comes. But they won't be the same. And now that
I'm in trouble at school she probably won't."
	Emily felt the hair standing up on her arms and her scalp.
She'd never heard such a horrible story. "You should have
called the police!"
	"What good would that do? My mom has the right to throw
away my stuff if she wants to. I think she'd like to throw
me away, too, but then the police would come."
	"Well," said Emily, "that's the good thing about Anna
Bandanna. Nobody can ever take her away from you, because
you can always make her again." She held up the bandanna.
"Is this color OK? I've got a purple one if you'd rather."
	Logan ran her jacket sleeve over her eyes. "Blue's
OK. Will this one talk too?"
	Yasemin, the brown-and-gold doll, said,"She will if
you love her."
	Emily showed Logan how to roll up the sides into a scroll,
and twist the scroll and fold it in half. Carefully she pulled
the ends around and tied them. "There you go, Logan."
	Logan hugged the doll and dried her eyes on its scarf.
"I don't suppose she'll mind. After all, she is a handkerchief."
	"Of course I don't," said the blue doll.
	Logan looked at Emily. "I'm sorry I threw your other
one in the lake."
	"That's all right," said Emily. "What kind of trouble
did you get in?" she added uncomfortably.
	"Not that bad, really. I have to stay after school for
a couple of days. And I have to apologize to you." She laughed.
"I guess I did that already. I didn't think I was going to
mean it, but I did." She turned and called to some of the
other kids. "Hey, Tiffany! Jessica! Come see what Emily
showed me how to do. It's really cool!"

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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				Chapter 6

	Emily sat outside the principal's office, kicking her
heels against the legs of the plastic chair. She'd never
been sent to the principal's office before. Her teacher had
explained that Emily's mother wanted to pick her up. But
Emily still wondered if she was in trouble. Maybe it was
against the rules to give bandanna dolls away.
	The glass door opened. "Mom?" said Emily.
	Her mother knelt before her and hugged her. To Emily's
alarm, she saw tears in her mother's eyes. Whatever she had
done wrong must be pretty bad to make her mother cry."
	"I'm sorry!" Emily snuffled. "I won't do it anymore."
	"Do what?"
	"I--I don't know. Whatever I did wrong."
	Her mother's tears overflowed. "Oh, sweetheart, you
didn't do anything wrong. Didn't they tell you I was coming
to pick you up? I came because Grandma is very sick. She's
in the hospital. I came to take you to see her. Dad's waiting
for us."
	Emily felt dizzy. She wasn't in trouble after all.
But she'd rather be in trouble than have Grandma be sick.
"Is she going to die?"
	Emily's mother hugged her again, so Emily couldn't see
her face. "She might," she whispered. "I'm sorry, sweetheart.
I know you love her very much. So do I. And this is going
to be really hard for Dad."
	Emily walked with her mother out to the car, and sat
in silence during the ride to the hospital. Maybe it was
her fault Grandma was sick. Maybe she shouldn't have gone
over to Grandma's house so much, when Grandma was so old and
tired. She held Anna Bandanna to her face and wiped her eyes
on the doll's bandanna skirt.
	"I know you're afraid," Anna Bandanna whispered. "I'll
stay with you. It's not your fault Grandma's sick."
	They came to the hospital, and rode the elevator up to
the fourth floor. The hospital smells made Emily want to
throw up.
	Grandma lay in a bed with rails on it like a baby's crib.
She looked tiny, as though she'd shrunk two or three feet
since Emily had last seen her, when she'd shown Emily how
to tie a doll from a handkerchief. Now she looked like a
little doll herself.
	Grandma looked up with half-open eyes. "Is that my Emily?"
she said, in a strange whispery voice.
	"Yes, Grandma."
	"Come here, honey, and hold my hand. Don't be afraid.
How is it at school? Do you have friends?"
	Emily was crying hard now. "Yes, "Grandma, lots of friends,
thanks to you and Anna Bandanna."
	Grandma smiled. "I'm glad. Listen, now, honey. Part
of me is in you, did you know that? You carry some of my
genes, so as long as you live I will too."
	Emily nodded, not even bothering to dry her eyes. "I
know. But it's not the same as being able to visit you."
	"Well, now, listen again. It's not just genes we share.
Because we love each other, part of our spirits are mingled.
As long as you remember me, I will always be with you."
	"You mean like Anna Bandanna?"
	Grandma smiled and closed her eyes. "Like Anna Bandanna."
	Emily laid the doll in Grandma's arms. She knew now
that she could give Anna Bandanna away and still not lose
	Emily felt her mother gently pull her away. As she tiptoed
out of the room, she looked over her shoulder. She saw Grandma's
frail hand holding Anna Bandanna close to her heart.

copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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				Chapter 7

	Emily climbed the stairs to the worn oak stage. She
knew that once upon a time Grandma had directed plays in this
old community theater, but that was before Emily had been
born. Now the theater was full of people who were here, not
to see a play, but to remember Grandma. One after another
they had come forward to tell stories about Grandma. Now
it was Emily's turn.
	She stood on a stool behind the wooden lectern. She
held Anna Bandanna in her arms. Anna Bandanna was made of
a black bandanna this time, printed with leaves and roses
that gleamed like stained glass against the black background.
Emily's father had given her all of Grandma's scarves and
bandannas and handkerchiefs.
	"I want to tell you about Anna Bandanna," Emily said
into the microphone. "Grandma showed me how to make her.
She told me that Anna Bandanna knows the secret of the
transmigration of the soul. If anything happens to her, I
can make another one, and,it will still be the same Anna
Bandanna, because it's my own love and imagination that makes
her live. So I can never lose her, as long as I remember
her." She wasn't sure whether that last sentence was about
Anna Bandanna or about Grandma. Maybe it was about both of
them. After all, it was Grandma's love and imagination that
had made Anna Bandanna live in the first place.
	Later, when the memorial service was over, Emily rode
in the back seat of the car, with Anna Bandanna on her lap.
"Does it work with people too, Anna Bandanna?"
	"What do you mean?" said Anna Bandanna.
	"The transmigration of the soul."
	Anna Bandanna leaned back and looked up at her. "You
mean, will Grandma be born in another body? I don't know
about that. But I do know your love and imagination will
keep her with you. If you listen with your heart, you'll
hear her voice as clearly as you hear mine."
	"Can you speak with her voice? It would be easier to
hear that way, I think."
	Anna Bandanna smiled. In a voice that sounded just like
Grandma's, she said, "I love you, Emily. And I always will."
				The End


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How to Make Anna Bandanna

Step 1: Roll two opposite edges of the bandanna together
to form a scroll.

How To-Step 1

Step 2: Twist the scroll in the middle.
Make one complete twist.

How To-Step 2

Step 3: Fold the top half toward you, just above the twist.

How To-Step 3

Step 4: Let the front (top) half of the scroll unroll a little.

How To-Step 4

Step 5: Turn the bandanna over. Pull the arms out,
away from the middle.

How To-Step 5

Step 6: Continue pulling the arms out, unrolling the ends
as you go.

How To-Step 6

Step 7: Tie the arms in a half knot around the waist.
This completes Anna Bandanna.

How To-Step 7

If you enjoyed this, you may also want to see instructions on making Anna Bandanna's pet kitty Hanky Kitty.

You may also want to see instructions for making a baby doll from two pillowcases or two handkerchiefs: Hanky Baby.

That page also includes instructions for making another version of the Anna Bandanna doll:

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copyright 2002 by Karen Deal Robinson
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