The First Christmas-tree
BY LUCY WHEELOCK
TWO little children were sitting by the fire one cold winter's night.
All at once they heard a timid knock at the door and one ran to open it.
There, outside in the cold and darkness, stood a child with no shoes
upon his feet and clad in thin, ragged garments. He was shivering with
cold, and he asked to come in and warm himself.
"Yes, come in," cr
ed both the children. "You shall have our place by
the fire. Come in."
They drew the little stranger to their warm seat and shared their supper
with him, and gave him their bed, while they slept on a hard bench.
In the night they were awakened by strains of sweet music, and looking
out, they saw a band of children in shining garments, approaching the
house. They were playing on golden harps and the air was full of melody.
Suddenly the Strange Child stood before them: no longer cold and ragged,
but clad in silvery light.
His soft voice said: "I was cold and you took Me in. I was hungry and
you fed Me. I was tired and you gave Me your bed. I am the
Christ-Child, wandering through the world to bring peace and happiness
to all good children. As you have given to Me, so may this tree every
year give rich fruit to you."
So saying, He broke a branch from the fir-tree that grew near the door,
and He planted it in the ground and disappeared. And the branch grew
into a great tree, and every year it bore wonderful fruit for the kind