St. Nicholas

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Bishop Nicholas and the Family
December 3

by Christine Natale

Gentle stories in the Waldorf tradition for the days before St. Nicholas Day, December 6

December 1 – The Little Boy Nicholas
December 2 – Bishop Nicholas
December 3 – Bishop Nicholas and the Family
December 4 – The Girl and the Wolf
December 5 – Bishop Nicholas and Rupert
December 6 – Saint Nicholas and Knecht Rupert

Red Waldorf St Nicholas
Sankt Nikolaus
made by Sandra Grelka, Beyreuth, Germany
St Nicholas Center Collection

There were many families in Bishop Nicholas' city. But I am sorry to say, there was one family in particular that was very unhappy - very unhappy indeed. There was a father, a mother, a big brother and a little sister. There was also a baby brother. They might have been a happy family, but too many things were wrong.

The father drank too much wine. Then he would get angry and sometimes even hit his wife and children. The mother was ill. It was not her fault, but she had a great pain by her heart and there was not money for the medicine that she needed. She looked gray in the face and she was always tired. She couldn't clean the house very much or make it beautiful. She only had the strength to make very simple meals like oatmeal or rice.

The big brother was healthy and strong, but very lazy. Sad to say, he would not do anything to help his mother or father. There were holes in the walls and doors that needed mending and the tables and chairs needed fixing, but he would never lift a finger. The little sister? What a mess! She refused to comb her hair or wash her face. Her clothes were torn and dirty and she never tried to mend them.

The baby was starting to get his first teeth and they were hurting as they came through. He didn't have anything to help, so he just cried all day and night. It was a very unhappy family indeed.

Bishop Nicholas knew this family and he thought and thought of what he could do to help them. When he finally decided what he wanted to give to them, he went one evening to their house. No one would answer his knock. But there, in front of the door were the family's shoes. The streets of this city were always muddy, so people usually took their shoes off on the doorstep before going inside.

Bishop Nicholas reached into his big pockets. In the father's shoe, he put a book about God and how He was a kind and loving Father who provided for His children on the earth. In the mother's shoe he put a bottle of the medicine that she needed. In the brother's shoes he put a hammer and some nails, a small saw and drill. In the sister's shoes he put a bar of sweet smelling soap, a comb and hair ribbons. In the mother's other shoe, he put a lovely wooden teething ring for the baby and a beautiful little music box.

Vintage French Postcard
Postcard, France
St Nicholas Center Collection

When the family came outside in the morning, weren't they surprised to see the gifts in their shoes! The father read the book and stopped drinking and started to work hard to provide good things for his family. The mother took the medicine and her pain went away and the roses bloomed in her cheeks. When she was strong again, she made the house beautiful and baked good bread and cooked fine dinners for them. The brother set about fixing everything he could. It made him feel so good about his work that he even helped to gather firewood and carry in water. Later, he became an apprentice to a carpenter and learned to make useful and beautiful things. The sister washed her face and combed her hair and tied it up with a pretty red ribbon. She also washed her clothes and helped her mother clean the house. People were amazed at how pretty she was, now that the dirt was gone. The baby chewed on the ring and it helped the new teeth to come through. Mother wound up the music box and it helped the baby fall peacefully asleep.

The family never knew for sure who had helped them, but they could guess. Through the years, they were not the only ones who woke up to find good things in their shoes.


The other stories in this series

December 1 – The Little Boy Nicholas
December 2 – Bishop Nicholas
December 4 – The Girl and the Wolf
December 5 – Bishop Nicholas and Rupert
December 6 – Saint Nicholas and Knecht Rupert

By Christine Natale, who used them in her Waldorf kindergarten   Used by permission.

 Musings on Saint Nicholas or How to Play Saint Nicholas
by Christine Natale


Fairy Tales by Christine Natale, Straw Into Gold Press, 2010. A collection of fifteen original fairy tales, 3-4 for each season, gentle stories created for Waldorf kindergarten.

Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.uk.


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