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by Fran Merrill
taken from A Story a Day ‘Til Christmas Volume 2

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My eyes must have been as big as the brightly colored balls in the store window as I gazed at all the toys.

Dolls stood in their cardboard boxes, reaching out delicately fashioned little hands and looking straight into my wondering eyes. There were playthings of every description Some I’d never even dreamed of.

Finally my eyes rested on a daintily dressed darling with a pixie face and shining curls. She stood beside a table with tiny cups and saucers with blu flowers.

“Oh!” I must have said aloud. “I love you, little Pixie Face.”
A man was standing there beside me when I finally turned to go.

“Who are you talking to?” he asked softy, smiling gently.

“Pixie Face,” I answered, smoothing out the worn skirt of my uniform. “I mean, the one with the pink organdy dress and bonnet and the white slippers.” I stopped and quickly looked down, embarrassed at saying so much.

He patted my head and I ran down the block towards the Home. I looked back once and he waved at me.

I stopped at the grocer’s and bought the can of baking powder that would make biscuits to fill thirty little tummies–plus the four people who took care of us, of course.

Mrs. Ledford met me at the door. “Hurry. We’ll trim our tree after supper.”

“A real Christmas tree? For us?”

“Yes. A nice man brought it. The other children are making decorations from colored paper and crayons. Would you like to help?”

I went into the hall and looked around. In the playroom the children were making ornaments, but I wanted to see the tree. Carefully I pushed open the parlor door. There it was, tall and beautiful, smelling of cedar and Christmas. I slipped in and sat beside the low fire burning in the hearth. A real Christmas tree. I reached out and touched it and watched the patterns its soft branches made on the wall in the flickering firelight.

I had only seen Christmas trees through other people’s windows. This one was ours. A part of it was mine.

“Little Pixie Face, maybe in the morning you’ll be under some other lucky girl’s tree, holding out your arms to her. But I’ll always love you, Pixie Face.”

The supper bell rang! I shouldn’t be here. How could I get out without the others seeing me? I opened the door a crack. Everyone was busy so I tiptoed out.

I was excited as I sat by my pal, Janie, and ate the biscuits, gravy and potatoes.

“It’s Christmas Eve!” Janie whispered.

“Yes, and we have a tree,” I whispered back.

“Does Santa Clause ever find orphan homes?” she wondered.

“Well, last year we got hair ribbons and combs,” I told her. “And we’ve been pretty good this year.”

“One time we did sneak that apple and took turns biting it.”

“Yeah,” I stifled a giggle as Mrs. Ledford looked my way.

Sometimes I envied my best friend a little. She at least remembered her mother and had once had a real home.

Trimming the tree was something I knew I was going to remember for a long time. Carolers came and I sat in awe while they sang to us. Then someone brought in a basket and we each had a whole apple.

When we ere shooed off to bed, I glanced under the tree where a few presents now rested. Oh, if just once I could unwrap a chocolate bar or a candy cane or book, just for me. Of course, I didn’t have anyone to think of me that I knew of, but I always dreamed that maybe there was someone, somewhere.

It took a long time to get to sleep, and I thought over and over of being handed a pretty ornament and climbing the ladder to hang it just where I wanted. What a wonderful Christmas.

Breakfast was early and then each girl received a pair of plaid knee-hi socks and cup with her name on it. Mine was white with my name in blue. It was the prettiest thing I had ever owned.

I watched some of the other girls open gifts and was happy for each one. There were scarves and stocking caps and books and a few small dolls. Janie got a small purse with a dime in it from her aunt.

We all crowded around as we always did when Suzy opened the larges gift of all from her uncle. Last year she got roller skates and promised that each of us could try them. But my turn never came. There were “ohs” and “ahs” as she unwrapped a m=big silver music box with a dainty fairy on top. She gave us all a piece of gum, too.

We all turned as Mrs. Ledford called, “A present just came for the little girl with the beautiful smile and brown curls.” Everyone looked at me. I stood frozen. She couldn’t mean me. Beautiful smile?

“Come on, Beth,” Mrs. Ledford said smiling.

“Me?”

“Yes. It’s yours.”

“But . . . but I don’t have anyone . . .”

“Come, Beth. Open it carefully.” She set the huge box on the table.

It was for me. Who . . . ? I touched my harelip almost reverently. The sender had made it wound almost beautiful. Never again would I put my hand over my lip or hide when a stranger came near.

My hands shook as I carefully untied the red ribbon and pushed back the wrapping paper. I opened the box and there she was–little Pixie Face.

The girls all gasped, and I just stood there gazing as tears streamed down my face.

“Hi,” I finally whispered to my doll.

“Pick her up,” Mrs. Ledford said softly.

“Oh!” I reached for my Pixie Face and held her close to my heart.

“There’s another box!” Janie said.

There was a small box inside the doll box. It was the set of dishes I had liked in the store window.

I stared to a corner with my treasures and the girls followed.

“Just leave her with her presents for awhile,” Mrs. Ledford told them. I was thankful for that.

I turned back to Janie and whispered, “You can hold her after awhile.”

Suzy said, “Oh, Beth, you can use my skates any time you want to.”

I sat with my Christmas presents all day. I had to be coaxed to put Pixie Face down so I could eat.

My life was never the same. Was it possible someone loved me? It must be. It was a brand new feeling.

Just as I drifted off to sleep that Christmas night, the face of the smiling man with the kind eyes floated toward me. I opened my eyes and threw a kiss toward Pixie Face as love flooded my heart.

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this story was written by George MacDonald in 1864. it is a parable. it is long, but it is also totally worth your time.

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On the top of a high cliff, forming part of the base of a great mountain, stood a lofty castle. When or how it was built, no man knew; nor could any one pretend to understand its architecture. Every one who looked upon it felt that it was lordly and noble; and where one part seemed not to agree with another, the wise and modest dared not to call them incongruous, but presumed that the whole might be constructed on some higher principle of architecture than they yet understood. What helped them to this conclusion was, that no one had ever seen the whole of the edifice; that, even of the portion best known, some part or other was always wrapped in thick folds of mist from the mountain; and that, when the sun shone upon this mist, the parts of the building that appeared through the vaporous veil were strangely glorified in their indistinctness, so that they seemed to belong to some aerial abode in the land of the sunset; and the beholders could hardly tell whether they had ever seen them before, or whether they were now for the first time partially revealed.

Nor, although it was inhabited, could certain information be procured as to its internal construction. Those who dwelt in it often discovered rooms they had never entered before—yea, once or twice,—whole suites of apartments, of which only dim legends had been handed down from former times. Some of them expected to find, one day, secret places, filled with treasures of wondrous jewels; amongst which they hoped to light upon Solomon’s ring, which had for ages disappeared from the earth, but which had controlled the spirits, and the possession of which made a man simply what a man should be, the king of the world. Now and then, a narrow, winding stair, hitherto untrodden, would bring them forth on a new turret, whence new prospects of the circumjacent country were spread out before them. How many more of these there might be, or how much loftier, no one could tell. Nor could the foundations of the castle in the rock on which it was built be determined with the smallest approach to precision. Those of the family who had given themselves to exploring in that direction, found such a labyrinth of vaults and passages, and endless successions of down-going stairs, out of one underground space into a yet lower, that they came to the conclusion that at least the whole mountain was perforated and honeycombed in this fashion. They had a dim consciousness, too, of the presence, in those awful regions, of beings whom they could not comprehend. Once they came upon the brink of a great black gulf, in which the eye could see nothing but darkness: they recoiled with horror; for the conviction flashed upon them that that gulf went down into the very central spaces of the earth, of which they had hitherto been wandering only in the upper crust; nay, that the seething blackness before them had relations mysterious, and beyond human comprehension, with the far-off voids of space, into which the stars dare not enter. Read the rest of this entry »