Nicholas: A Garland of Tales

for the Nights Before Christmas

adapted from Pamela Grenfell Smith

This collection of St. Nicholas tales could be told on the seven nights before or after St. Nicholas Day, or on seven nights closer to Christmas.

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Byzantine St Nicholas

Western St Nicholas

The Fourth Tale

A year passed, and another, and Nicholas still walked through the streets of the city at night, wrapped in an old cloak and carrying a great sack filled with secret presents. A coin here, a coin there, a few loaves of bread inside this gate —— he found many ways to ease the sufferings of the poor. But no one knew who was doing it!

One night he happened to walk past the home of the family whose first daughter he had helped with a bag of gold. The lamps were lit, so he listened by the window. There were the mother and father, weeping and worrying. "Dear wife, here is our second daughter, just as precious as our first. What's to become of her? We have no money for a dowry. We barely have enough money for food!"

And the wife replied, "If only we knew who helped us before! He must be a good man, a kind man. We could go and be his servants for the rest of our lives if he would let us have a little gold."

Nicholas heard, he smiled, his hand went to the pouch of gold at his belt. Poof! went the ashes, and the mother and father jumped for joy. "Come in! Come in!" they shouted out into the darkness, but Nicholas was already gone.

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Nicholas: A Garland of Tales is also available as a simple drama

Adapted from Nicholas: A Garland of Tales for the Nights before Christmas, by Pamela Grenfell Smith, Copyright © 1995 Pamela Grenfell Smith. Used under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-commercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. You are free to use and adapt it so long as

  1. you attribute authorship and copyright to Pamela Grenfell Smith,
  2. your use is non-commercial, and
  3. you may not copyright your adaptation of this work under a more restrictive copyright.

Illustrations copyright © 2002-2009 St. Nicholas Center All rights reserved.>

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