The wind was howling, the snow was still falling after last night’s blizzard.
A little cottage was almost buried under a pile of snow. Smoke was coming out of its chimney. Inside, an old man was seated in a rocking chair with a little boy on his laps. The child was almost asleep. He was spending his seventh christmas with his beloved uncle. He loved his uncle’s stories, they were adventurous and magical.
– Uncle Sid, tell me one more time the story of you and dad when you were in Paris.
– Ohhhhhh! Shouldn’t you be in bed now?
– Noooooo. Please let me hear it again, then I’ll go to sleep.
– Alright! promise?
– Promised, said the boy with a huge smile.
Uncle Sid gathered his thoughts and started the tale one more time:
It was a long long time ago. We were barley adults back then. We left our home to see the world and have new stories to tell. We’ve crossed deserts and seas, we’ve fought dragons and vicious men. We spent days without seeing any food and days having our pockets full of nuts and cakes. Oh little one…. you don’t know the hardship we’ve been through. Finally in a winter day, we arrived in Paris on a snowy morning. There were lots of carriages, women in long skirts, women in very short dresses selling their bodies for a few coins, stools selling only bread and cakes, drunken men sleeping in taverns till they were kicked out, priests in long dark robes walking up and down the streets…. all kind of stuff that we weren’t used to see during our journey. Your dad was so happy to find himself in a such big town but it was very cold for us, we didn’t have any warm clothes.
– Oh Sid! We’re so lucky to have come this far.
– Let me tell ya, I’m sure that this is the city is going to be called “the city of lights” one day.
We spent the day walking and looking around. We haven’t eaten anything all day as we didn’t have any money left. Our stomach were aching, we’ve seen kids stealing stoles but none of us was expert in stealing. We knew too well the we would have been caught if we tried. So we’ve kept on walking to forget our hunger and to keep warm. At night the temperature dropped a lot, and we were freezing.
-Damn! I wish we were smarter not to come in winter, I said.
The moon shone its pale light on the snowy path, we could only hear the noise of our footsteps and occasionally some laughter in the homes we passed by. It must have been after midnight, we couldn’t keep on walking. We arrived at a bridge. I told your dad that we could as well spend the night under the bridge. He agreed. We lied there back. to back, on the cold stone, without a blanket, without a coat, nothing just the warmth of our back. We were freezing. In the middle of the night I woke up with the tingling of small bells. I opened my eyes to see 6 dears in front of me and a red carriage. A man stepped down of it, he wore a red coat and pants, with black leather boots, a red hat and a white beard. He seemed to come from another time.
– Ho ho ho, hello my dear friends, why are you sleeping under a bridge on this fine Christmas night?
– We came from far, we didn’t find any place to sleep nor any food, your father replied.
– Well…. I’m am your good luck, come with me, He said stepping into the carriage.
We’ve stepped into the carriage with him, and that’s when the really weird thing happened. He said “Ho” and the dears jumped into the air! Yes child, we were flying above Paris in a matter of seconds. Those dears were magical. Your father and I were laughing like crazy. This red clothed man made us see all the city from above. It was beautiful! La Seine… la Tour Eiffel…. we could see the houses so small bellow us. It’s a night we’ll never forget! After a few minutes, the dears landed by a big church where was a decorated fir tree.
– Ok folks, this is the church of Notre Dame, here you’ll find shelter and food. Just knock on that door and it shall be opened. But before we part, take these.
Out of the back of his carriage he took out two packages. One for me and one for your father.
Just after that, he said “Ho” and flew into the sky again. We never saw him again.
We opened the packages, we found for each of us a long warm coat which has kept us warm in those cold winter nights for a very long time.
We knocked at the door the red clothed man showed us. After a while, someone answered behind the door.
– Who is it?
– We’re travelers, we need shelter and food for the night. We don’t want any trouble.
The door opened a little, we saw a short priest in his nightwear. He looked at both of us then opened the door for us to go in.
– Come in, come in. Go heat yourself by the fire, I’ll make you something to eat.
And that’s how we found ourselves in a warm, cozy presbytery were we spent a lovely night in a bed after having filled our bellies. The End”
The little child was already asleep, on his laps. Uncle Sid smiled at him “sweet dreams little one and Merry Christmas”
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