Written and illustrated by kids for kids
From Saints for Kids by Kids
When Saint Nicholas was a little boy, he shared all of his toys and gifts happily. His parents were really wealthy, and they bought wonderful things for him. No matter what he got, he shared with his friends.
Saint Nicholas was always looking for ways to help people. He became a priest after his mother and father died, and, little by little, he gave all of his riches away. I think it made him happy to make other people happy.
Once he went to buy some bread and cheese for lunch. While he was walking into the supermarket, he heard two wealthy men talking on the street. They were saying that it was a shame their friend Osman was not able to afford a wedding for his daughters.
"Poor old Osman lost all his money," one man said "Now his daughters will never be able to marry."
"Sure is a pity," the other fellow said. "They just don't have any money to buy a husband."
"That's right!" the other man replied. "No dowry, no husband."
Now Saint Nicholas was curious. He knew exactly where Osman lived, and he decided to pay him a visit. You see, it wasn't a big city like New York or Chicago, where you can't possibly know everybody! This was just a quiet town in Turkey that seemed more like a small neighborhood. And, because Saint Nicholas was the parish priest, he knew just where to go.
That night after dinner, Nicholas went to Osman's house and peeked in the window. He saw Osman and his three daughters sitting around in the living room, talking. When it was time for them to go to bed, Saint Nicholas watched as the old man smiled and kissed each of his girls good-night. But Saint Nicholas could tell that, inside, Osman was really worried and upset. When the girls left the room, the poor man had a troubled frown all over his face. Maybe he was feeling like a failure or something.
Then Saint Nicholas had a terrific idea. "I'll just surprise the three daughters and give them some money myself! But I better be careful that nobody finds out, or else it won't be a surprise."
The next night, when everybody went off to bed, Saint Nicholas crept silently up to Osman's living room window. This time, instead of just looking around, Nicholas took a bag of gold coins from his pocket and threw them through the open window.
The next morning nobody suspected what had happened. As usual, the oldest daughter went to get her stockings that were hanging from the fireplace. She washed her stockings every night, and the fireplace was the only spot where they would dry. You know, they didn't have washers and driers like we do now. Anyway, inside one of the stockings she found the gold coins.
"Oh boy!" she said. "Now I can get married. I have a gift to give to my future husband!"
"I wonder who put that money there," one of the other sisters said.
"Do you think it was your boyfriend?" the third sister asked.
"I don't know," replied the oldest girl. "But whoever it was sure has made me happy." And she ran off to tell her boyfriend the good news.
That night, Saint Nicholas returned to do the same thing all over again. He tossed some more gold coins through the window. The next day the second daughter began to clean the house. All of a sudden she got very excited. Under a chair she found the money.
"I don't believe it!" she said. "Now I can get married, too."
Then the girls ran to their father and said, "You must be the one who's leaving all this money around. What a fantastic surprise. You were just teasing when you said that you couldn't afford a dowry. Daddy, you are wonderful."
Then the second daughter ran off to tell her boyfriend, too.
Now Osman was getting all mixed up. He knew he didn't have money to leave just lying around the house. In fact, he barely had any money at all. So he decided to stay up and hide behind the bushes in front of the house. "I'll stay up all night if I have to," he thought. "I just have to catch the person who is doing this."
That night Osman saw. Saint Nicholas came back just like before.
As usual, Nicholas reached in his pocket for the gold coins. Then he threw them in the window for the third daughter. But this time Osman caught him redhanded.
"Oh, Father Nicholas! So you are the one who has been tossing all that money in my house."
"Well, you caught me," Saint Nicholas said. "But please don't tell anybody. Let it be our little secret."
Osman replied, "OK, I promise not to say a word. But I have to thank you. You have made us all so very happy."
Finally, the next morning the third daughter found her money too, and all three girls were able to be married.
I guess Saint Nicholas always saved some spare cash just in case someone needed his help. He never really wore a disguise like Santa Claus, but this is how the Santa Claus legend started.
Saint Nicholas also had something happen to him that happened to Jesus. One time Nicholas was on his way to the Holy Land. That's where Jesus grew up. It was a long trip, and Nicholas had to travel by boat. All of a sudden, before he knew what hit him, a huge storm started to shake the sea. Everybody was really scared. There were tidal waves, and the wind was blowing rain. The sky was dark and very cloudy. Then the sails on the boat split in half. The people just couldn't take it anymore.
"We are all going to drown," they screamed.
So, Saint Nicholas prayed a special prayer. "Oh my God, we need Your help. Please calm things down." Something inside him told Nicholas to stand up and tell the wind to stop blowing and the rain to stop raining. When he did it, the weather settled down and became still, just like the time Jesus did it with Peter and the apostles.
Because he performed the miracle to stop the storm and calm the sea, Saint Nicholas became the patron saint for sailors. And because he loved kids and provided the three daughters with a dowry, he became the protector of children.
What would you pray to Saint Nicholas for, now that you know him better?
From Saints for Kids by Kids, by the Reverend Robert Charlebois, Mary Sue Holden and Marilyn Diggs Mange, Liguori Publications, 1984.
This little book was written by children—saints' stories were told, then children in school rooms and Sunday classes retold the stories in their own words. Their responses were edited and compiled to make the book with stories of eight saints. More than 300 children participated in the creation of Saints for Kids by Kids.