: Stories To Tell Children

Across the North Sea, in a country called Germany, lived a little boy

named Gottlieb. His father had died when he was but a baby, and although

from early morning till late at night his mother sat plying her needle,

she found it difficult indeed to provide food and clothing and shelter

for her little boy and herself.

Gottlieb was not old enough to work, but he would often sit on a small

stool at his mother
s feet and dream about the wonderful things he would

do for his dear mother when he grew to be a man, and she was comforted

as she looked upon her boy, and the thought that she was working for him

often gave strength to her tired fingers.

But one night Gottlieb saw that his mother was more than usually

troubled. Every now and then she would sigh, and a tear would trickle

down her cheek. The little boy had grown quick to read these signs of

distress, and he thought, "Christmas will be here soon, and dear mother

is thinking of what a sad time it will be."

What would Gottlieb have given to be able to comfort his mother! He

could only sit and brood, while his young heart swelled and a lump rose

in his throat at the thought that he could do nothing.

Presently, however, a happy fancy came to him. Was not the Christ Child

born on Christmas Day, and did not He send good gifts to men on His

birthday? But then came the thought, "He will never find us. Our home is

so mean and small." It seemed foolish to hope, but a boy is not long

cast down, and as Gottlieb sat dreaming, a happy inspiration came to

him. Stealing softly from the room he took paper and pen, for he had

learnt to write, and spelt out, word after word, a letter which he

addressed to the Christ Child.

You may be sure that the postman was puzzled what to do with this letter

when he sorted it out of the heap in the letter-box. Perhaps the

Burgomaster would know the right thing to do? So the postman took the

letter to the great burly man who lived in the big house and wore a gold

chain round his neck. The Burgomaster opened the envelope, and as he

read the letter written in the trembling hand of a child, tears came

into his eyes. But he spoke gruffly enough to the postman, "This must

be a foolish boy; a small one, I have no doubt."

Soon Christmas morning dawned, and Gottlieb woke very early. But others

were up before him, for, to his surprise, he saw a strange gentleman

with his mother. His wondering eyes soon perceived other unusual

objects, for the hearth was piled with wood, and the table was loaded

with food and dainties such as he had never even imagined.

Gottlieb entered the room just as his mother threw herself at the

stranger's feet to bless him for his generous goodness to the widow and

orphan. "Nay, give me no thanks, worthy dame," said the visitor. "Rather

be grateful to your little son, and to the good Lord to whom he wrote

for aid."

Then he turned to Gottlieb with a smile, "You see that although you

wrote to the Christ Child, your prayer for aid came only to the

Burgomaster. The gifts you asked for are here, but they come from my

hand." But Gottlieb answered him humbly, "Nay, sir, the Christ Child

sent them, for He put the thought in your heart."