What Happened Christmas Eve
by Oliver Herfold
It was Christmas Eve and the frost fairies were busy getting
ready for Christmas Day. First of all they spread the loveliest
white snow carpet over the rough, bare ground; then they hung
the bushes and trees with icicles that flashed like diamonds
in the moonlight. Later on, they planned to draw beautiful frost
pictures on the window panes, to surprise the little children
in the morning.
The stars shone brightly and the moon sent floods of light in
every nook and corner. How could any one think of sleeping when
there was such a glory outside!
Jessie and Fred had gone to bed very
early so they might be the first to shout "Merry Christmas!" but
their eyes would not stay shut.
"Oh dear! It must be 'most morning," said Fred; "let
us creep softly down stairs and maybe we'll catch Santa Claus
before he rides off."
Hand in hand they tiptoed to the dining-room
and peeped out the big window - surely, surely, that was
something climbing up the roof of cousin Nellie's house; it
must be old Santa. Fred gave a chuckle of delight; to be sure
the reindeer were very queer looking objects, and the sleigh
such a funny shape, but the children were satisfied.
The old fir tree, whose high branches almost touched the roof,
knew all about those shadows, but it was so old no one could
ever understand a word of the many tales it told.
"There's something scratching on the door," whispered
Jessie; but it was only a mouse, who had sniffed the delightful
odors of the Christmas goodies and was trying his best to find
a way into the pantry and test them with his sharp teeth.
"Come," said Jessie, "we'll turn to icicles if
we stay here much, longer"; so up-stairs they quickly scampered.
Papa had been to town on an errand, so it was quite late when
he came home. As he was hunting in his pockets for his key, he
heard a pitiful cry, and looking down he saw a big, white cat
carrying a tiny kitten in her mouth.
"Poor thing," said papa, "you
shall come inside till morning."
Santa Claus had been there with the nicest wagon for Fred and
a warm, seal-skin cap that lay right in the middle of it. When
papa left the room, puss and her kitty were curled up comfortably
on the rug singing their sleepy song.
The sun was shining brightly in the dining-room window when
Jessie and Fred made their appearance; then Fred just laughed
with delight, for right in the crown of his new cap lay the cutest
white kitten, with big, blue eyes and wee pink nose, while standing
close by as if to guard her darling from danger, was good old
"I never had a live Christmas present before," said
Fred, "now I know Santa Claus read the letter I threw up
the chimney because I told him to bring me a kitten and here
Papa smiled and looked at mamma, and
then everybody said "Merry
Christmas" at once.