Saturday’s Tales for Christmas, December 19, 2020
Shall we go back to our childhood days today? The mythical Santa Claus and his magical sleigh, a sweet babe in a manger who brings love to the world, bright star lights on evergreen trees, festive feasts of meats, sweets, and gingerbread houses, the lonely elf on the shelf, and perhaps a boozy eggnog. One more item we can’t forget are the Christmas legends and fairy tales that make our holidays so warm and memorable.
Who doesn’t remember The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen? If you’ve forgotten this sad but poignant story, you can read it here at American Literature. My mom used to tell us this story every Christmas Eve as we drove around town to see all the Christmas lights. And, this story is especially dedicated to Grandmas, Nanas, and Gramzies because this is a grandparent story too.
The audio is a real treat. The Little Match Girl was meant to be a read-aloud.
Read it here at American Literature:
Listen to the audio storybook read by Ewan McGregor, with page-turning illustrations. Beautiful!
There is another Christmas legend, less known and one you may not have read. The Christmas Spider (also known as The Spider’s Gift, The Spider’s Miracle, and other cultural variations), a folktale originally from the Ukraine.
I found this story in an old Christmas book. You will be pleasantly surprised how a story about a spider for Christmas will endear you to these odd little creatures.
Read it here, reproduced from my Christmas Book.
The gray spider worked very hard every day making long strands of silk that he wove into a web in which he caught troublesome flies. But he noticed that everyone turned away from him because, they said, he was so unpleasant to look at with his long crooked legs and furry body. Of course the gray spider didn’t believe that, because he had only the kindliest feelings for everybody.
One day when he was crossing the stream he looked into the water. There he saw himself as he really was. “Oh,” he thought, “I am very unpleasant to look at. I shall keep out of people’s way.” He was very sad and hid himself in the darkest corner of the stable.
There he again began to work as he always had, weaving long strands of silk into webs and catching flies. The donkey and the ox and the sheep who lived in the stable thanked him for his kindness, because now they were no longer bothered with the buzzing flies. That made the spider very happy.
One night, exactly at midnight, the gray spider was awakened by a brilliant light. He looked about and saw that the light came from the manger where a tiny Child lay on the hay. The stable was filled with glory, and over the Child bent a beautiful mother. Behind her stood a man with a staff in his hand, and the ox and the donkey and all the white sheep were down on their knees.
Suddenly a gust of cold wind swept through the stable and the Baby began to weep from the cold. The mother bent over Him but could not cover Him enough to keep Him warm.
The little spider took his silken web and laid it at Mary’s feet (for it was Mary) and Mary took up the web and covered the Baby with it. It was soft as thistledown and as warm as wool. The Child stopped His crying and smiled at the little gray spider.
Then Mary said, “Little gray spider, for this great gift to the Babe you may have anything you wish.”
“Most of all,” said the spider, “I wish to be beautiful.”
“That I cannot give you,” Mary answered. “You must stay as you are for as long as you live. But this I grant you. Whenever anyone sees a spider at evening, he will count it a good omen, and it shall bring him good fortune.”
This made the spider very happy, and to this day, on Christmas Eve, we cover the Christmas tree with “angel’s hair” in memory of the little gray spider and his silken web.
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays, the gift of love, the gift of peace, and the magic of Christmas stories!
For one more Christmas story—one of my own creations—stop by my December 7, 2017 blog post for Christmas River Ghost. A ghostly holiday story about family, celebration, coming home, and a Christmas peacock.
“They come—through the icy wind, between the naked trees, walking the bridge, by Eagle Hill River … on Christmas Eve … ”
Read the Christmas River Ghost:
Don’t forget to view the INDEX above of more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 200 short stories by more than 100 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, ‘quiet horror,’ crime, sci-fi, romance, and mainstream fiction.
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Comments are welcome!