'PRICES SLASHED,' said the gentleman. 'EVERYTHING MUST GO.'From The Mouse and his Child, Russell Hoban.
'You're quite right,' said the elephant. 'Everything must, in one way or another, go. One does what one is wound to do. It is expected of me that I walk up and down in front of my house; it is expected of you that you drink tea. and it si expected of this young mouse that he go out into the world with his father and dance in a circle.'
'But I don't want to,' said the mouse child, and he began to cry. It was an odd, little, tinny, rasping, sound, and father and son both rattled with it.
'There, there,' said the father, 'don't cry. Please don't.' Toys all around the shop were listening. 'He'd better stop that,' they said.
It was the clock that spoke next, startling them with his flat brass voice. 'I might remind you of the rules of clockwork,' he said. 'No talking before midnight and after dawn, and no crying on the job.'
Next on the list (not that one, but just on my reading one): The Lion of Boaz-Jachin and Jachin-Boaz.*
*It's taken me all this time, Cat. What can I say?