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 Seventh Tale

After that night, it became the delight and joy of the people of Myra to surprise one another with secret presents. How they loved to pretend that Nicholas had given them!

That warm shawl that appeared around the shoulders of an old woman in the market? Of course Nicholas gave her that! Didn’t you see him, sneaking around with that sack of his?

The great pot of soup that appeared on a sick man’s table? Nicholas brought it—no question about that. He hung the handle on his great staff and carried it down the hill from the church. And he didn’t spill a drop!

The doll that seemed to drop from the sky into the arms of a child? Ah, well, Bishop Nicholas must have been flying by. Didn’t you see his cloak, blowing in the wind?

When Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, came to the day of his death and returned to God who loved him and knew his name, there was great weeping among the people of the city. "Our helper is gone," they said to one another. "There will be no more presents from Nicholas now."

But the presents did not stop! Indeed, hundred and hundreds of years have passed—and the secret presents have never stopped. All over the world, every December, there are more and more mysterious secret presents.

And Bishop Nicholas has never been forgotten. People call him Papa Noel, or Father Christmas, or Saint Nicholas, or Sinter Klaas, or Santa Claus. They say he sails in a fine, great ship, or walks along with a dog team, rides a white horse, or flies in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. But he always has his great sack full of presents!

Certainly, at my house at this time of year, mysterious secret presents arrive. People say that Saint Nicholas brings them. What do you think?

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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 © 2002-2019 St. Nicholas Center All rights reserved.

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