A pioneer Christmas story for all to share
The following excerpt is from a story entitled “Some Stories the West Wind Told” published in the Saturday, Dec. 8, 1928 edition of the Lethbridge Herald. Charmingly listed as “A Mother in the Foothills,” the author of the story seeks to express the miracle of Christmas taking root in southern Alberta in the frontier days; a time, in the author’s mind, filled with nature spirits and magic.
When the children told their mother of the star which seemed to melt the great Alberta Mountain, she said that it was indeed true that the star had put to flight a great many old stories, old gods, and old customs— and when the children, whose names were Sheik Sweater and Blue Flare, said they were sorry they did not live in those old times, when people saw wonderful stars, and had time enough, and had money enough for those great feasts— she took them to the window that looked out over the eastern prairie.
“Now,” she said, “watch the sky and see if you don’t see something you have never seen before.”
So they set their little faces against the window pane, and it was not long before they saw a bright, shining star glow in the eastern sky. They watched it. It grew brighter and brighter, and more than that: It seemed to come marching up through the sky.
“It is coming here, Sheik Sweater,” said Blue Flare. “See it marches like the soldiers. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it stop beside our gate.”
They watched it with unbelieving eyes. It did march through the sky. It did shine brighter than the other stars which began to come out one by one. And it seemed so strange to them, that they were afraid and ran to their mother.
“Mother,” said the alarmed Sheik Sweater, “there is a star that is marching through the sky, and it looks as though it was coming straight here. What’s the matter with the star, mother, that it walks through the sky that way? What is its name?”
Their mother went with them to the window, and they pointed out the star. It was lovely to her eyes, and the sky held no other majesty so fine as the big, bright star that seemed to continually march on.
“That,” said their mother, “is the Christmas star. Don’t get your eyes so full of toys, and your minds so full of Christmas trees, that you can’t find the Christmas star in the wide, Alberta sky.”
Together they watched the star ‘till it had climbed nearly over the house, and then Blue Flare began to wonder if the West Wind had seen it, and what he knew about stars, and toys, and Christmas.
“Tomorrow,” she said, “I mean to ask him all about some things. I wonder if it is because the sky gets dark so early now, that there are so many bright stars. Perhaps they don’t have time to come out when the nights are so short. They look so small in the summer. Perhaps they have to hurry. Poor things! Think of being a little star, and having to run for your life in the sky that is so big.”
It was after school the next day that Blue Flare was in the garden looking for some jacks she had lost. The West Wind found her there.
“Well,” said the West Wind cheerfully, “have you spoken to your Christmas tree yet? If you haven’t you better hurry.”
“I don’t know whether we are going to have one or not,” Blue Flare told him. “Every year someone gets up the cry we are wasting the forests when we cut down trees for Christmas. And last year, Daddy said when there was so much argument, perhaps we wouldn’t have a Christmas tree next year.”
“What!” exclaimed the West Wind. “No Christmas tree! You! Where’s your mother?”
Blue Flare went into the house and called her mother, who was busy cutting up raisins for mince pie.
“The West Wind wants you, mother,” she said simply.
Her mother laid down her scissors and followed the child into the garden. The West Wind was walking around, kicking the leaves here and there.
“What’s this I hear,” said the West Wind shortly, “about having no Christmas tree— surely you don’t mean that! Not you!”
“Well, I don’t know,” said Blue Flare’s mother. “Every year the papers all get full of talk about wasting forests, and all that kind of thing. And Christmas has become such a struggle, that I can’t bear an argument into the bargain. And if you blow, and get the whole place full of dust, I’ll clean pass out. Why has there got to be such a turmoil over Christmas, will you tell me?”
Editor’s Note: Merry Christmas from all of us at Ag-Matters to you and yours! From our perspective, Christmas is absolutely no struggle. We wish all a safe, abundant and happy New Year ahead.