Stories

Stories

Twas the Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter, I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter. Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow gave the lustre of midday to objects below, when, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen! To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

Santa Claus

He comes in the night! He comes in the night! He softly, silently comes; While the little brown heads on the pillows so white Are dreaming of bugles and drums. He cuts through the snow like a ship through the foam, While the white flakes around him whirl; Who tells him I know not, but he findeth the home Of each good little boy and girl.

His sleigh it is long, and deep, and wide; It will carry a host of things, While dozens of drums hang over the side, With the sticks sticking under the strings. And yet not the sound of a drum is heard, Not a bugle blast is blown, As he mounts to the chimney-top like a bird, And drops to the hearth like a stone.

The little red stockings he silently fills, Till the stockings will hold no more; The bright little sleds for the great snow hills Are quickly set down on the floor. Then Santa Claus mont to the roof like a bird, And glides to his seat in the sleigh; Not a sound of a bugle or drum is heard As he noiselessly gallops away.

He rides to the East, and he rides to the West, Of his goodies he touches not one; He eateth the crumbs of the Christmas feast When the dear little folks are done. Old Santa Claus doeth all tht he can; This beautiful mission is his; Then, children be good to the little old man, When you find who the little man is.

At Christmas

A man is at his finest towards the finish of the year; He is almost what he should be when the Christmas season's here; Then he's thinking more of others than be's thought the months before, And the laughter of his children is a joy worth toiling for. He is less a selfish creature than at any other time; When the Christmas spirit rules him he comes close to the sublime.

When it's Christmas man is bigger and is better in his part; He is keener for the service that is prompted by the heart. All the petty thoughts and narrow seem to vanish for awhile And the true reward he's seeking is the glory of a smile. Then for others he is toiling and somehow it seems to me That at Christmas he is almost what God wanted him to be.

If I had to paint a picture of a man I think I'd wait Till he'd fought his selfish battles and had put aside his hate. I'd not catch him at his labors when his thoughts are all of pelf, On the long days and the dreary when he's striving for himself. I'd not take him when he's sneering, when he's scornful or depressed, But I'd look for him at Christmas when he's shining at his best.

Man is ever in a struggle and he's oft misunderstood; There are days the worst that's in him is the master of the good, But at Christmas kindness rules him and he puts himself aside And his petty hates are vanquished and his heart is opened wide. Oh, I don't know how to say it, but somehow it seems to me That at Christmas man is almost what God sent him here to be.

Christmas Greeting

Sing hey! Sing hey!
For Christmas Day;
Twine mistletoe and holly,
For friendship glows
In winter snows,
And so let's all be jolly.

The Little Match Girl

One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin, and off he ran with it; he thought it would do capitally for a cradle when he some day or other should have children himself. So the little maiden walked on with her tiny naked feet, that were quite red and blue from cold. She carried a quantity of matches in an old apron, and she held a bundle of them in her hand. Nobody had bought anything of her the whole livelong day; no one had given her a single farthing.

She crept along trembling with cold and hunger--a very picture of sorrow, the poor little thing!

The flakes of snow covered her long fair hair, which fell in beautiful curls around her neck; but of that, of course, she never once now thought. From all the windows the candles were gleaming, and it smelt so deliciously of roast goose, for you know it was New Year's Eve; yes, of that she thought.

In a corner formed by two houses, of which one advanced more than the other, she seated herself down and cowered together. Her little feet she had drawn close up to her, but she grew colder and colder, and to go home she did not venture, for she had not sold any matches and could not bring a farthing of money: from her father she would certainly get blows, and at home it was cold too, for above her she had only the roof, through which the wind whistled, even though the largest cracks were stopped up with straw and rags.

Her little hands were almost numbed with cold. Oh! a match might afford her a world of comfort, if she only dared take a single one out of the bundle, draw it against the wall, and warm her fingers by it. She drew one out. "Rischt!" how it blazed, how it burnt! It was a warm, bright flame, like a candle, as she held her hands over it: it was a wonderful light. It seemed really to the little maiden as though she were sitting before a large iron stove, with burnished brass feet and a brass ornament at top. The fire burned with such blessed influence; it warmed so delightfully. The little girl had already stretched out her feet to warm them too; but--the small flame went out, the stove vanished: she had only the remains of the burnt-out match in her hand.

She rubbed another against the wall: it burned brightly, and where the light fell on the wall, there the wall became transparent like a veil, so that she could see into the room. On the table was spread a snow-white tablecloth; upon it was a splendid porcelain service, and the roast goose was steaming famously with its stuffing of apple and dried plums. And what was still more capital to behold was, the goose hopped down from the dish, reeled about on the floor with knife and fork in its breast, till it came up to the poor little girl; when--the match went out and nothing but the thick, cold, damp wall was left behind. She lighted another match. Now there she was sitting under the most magnificent Christmas tree: it was still larger, and more decorated than the one which she had seen through the glass door in the rich merchant's house.

Thousands of lights were burning on the green branches, and gaily-colored pictures, such as she had seen in the shop-windows, looked down upon her. The little maiden stretched out her hands towards them when--the match went out. The lights of the Christmas tree rose higher and higher, she saw them now as stars in heaven; one fell down and formed a long trail of fire.

"Someone is just dead!" said the little girl; for her old grandmother, the only person who had loved her, and who was now no more, had told her, that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.

She drew another match against the wall: it was again light, and in the lustre there stood the old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.

"Grandmother!" cried the little one. "Oh, take me with you! You go away when the match burns out; you vanish like the warm stove, like the delicious roast goose, and like the magnificent Christmas tree!" And she rubbed the whole bundle of matches quickly against the wall, for she wanted to be quite sure of keeping her grandmother near her. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety--they were with God.

But in the corner, at the cold hour of dawn, sat the poor girl, with rosy cheeks and with a smiling mouth, leaning against the wall--frozen to death on the last evening of the old year. Stiff and stark sat the child there with her matches, of which one bundle had been burnt. "She wanted to warm herself," people said. No one had the slightest suspicion of what beautiful things she had seen; no one even dreamed of the splendor in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year