Christmas-themed children's story.
Not long ago, in a place I can’t name,
I met a young girl called Aurelia McBaine.
I met her at midnight, one clear Christmas Eve,
When I found myself lost among conifer trees.
Those trees stretched for miles past where I began
At a northern train station where trains rarely ran.
I was hoping for transport back to my home,
But the station was empty, so I set out alone.
A moonlit wood to the north, it seemed, beckoned
And pointed, I thought, in the proper direction.
The trees became larger the farther I traveled.
So large, in fact, that I was quite baffled.
“How could this be,” I wondered aloud.
“They’re wider than castles and reach to the clouds!”
As I continued, lights began shining
Off in the distance – they were very inviting.
They twinkled so gently, a pleasant, warm glow,
But as I approached them, I felt the chill of the snow.
Deeper and deeper the crystal fluff reached.
I was getting quite worried, it was up to my knees!
Then as a beacon, a shock of red hair
Confirmed that in minutes, help would be there.
And that, my dear readers, is just how I met
Aurelia McBaine, of the Swain-McBaine set.
Aurelia had skin just as wan as the snow
Her eyes evergreen, her red curls aglow.
Her gown had been fashioned of silver I thought,
Real silver with gold-stitched polka dots.
“Come with me,” she crooned, in a voice soft as rain.
“I’ll lead you to safety; I’ve no time to explain.”
I followed Aurelia to a sparkling tree,
The largest, by far, and it twinkled at me.
I watched, quite amazed, as we rose past the branches
In an over-sized basket that was pulled up by sashes.
The limbs held clear orbs, the strange source of the light,
And were trimmed with large trinkets of hues very bright.
There were star-shaped adornments in all Christmas colors,
And crosses, and doves, and bells among others.
The sight was so grand, my breath nearly stopped,
This tree was colossal, I felt my jaw drop!
Why, Santa himself would stand hopelessly silent
In the presence of this Christmas tree giant.
My awe quickly grew as we ended our ride
And came to the cottage where Aurelia resides.
We stepped onto the terrace that circled the home
Which rested on branches in the shape of a dome.
The terrace was pebbled of pearls – on my honor!
The house formed of something as clear as stream water.
The lights of the tree and the ornaments, too
Could be seen from inside of each little room.
White furnishings dressed the transparent chalet
And lovely white feathers formed the duvets
That lay on the beds and cushioned the seating,
And made curtains to block out the light in the evening.
At last, it now seemed, I could chat with my friend
And unravel the mystery I found myself in.
“I’m Charlotte Jane Louver of Moose River, Maine.
I want to know all about you, please, what is your name?”
“My name is Aurelia Ann-Alice McBaine.
My surname is Father’s, Ma-ma is a Swain.
They both used to live here but, no longer do.
They visit quite often from their home in Van Brue.
It’s a village northwest of where we are now;
I doubt that you know it, I couldn’t see how.
It’s not on a map that any have drawn-
Nor is this tree – you’re rather far gone
From whatever path you had hoped to follow,
But I’ll help you get home; you can start out tomorrow.
There are others like me in neighboring trees -
Carol, John, Betsy, Paul, Jack and Louise.
We are the caretakers of this season’s spirit.
Where sadness is lurking, we bring our light near it.
It’s a mighty big job, and we don’t always win,
But we treasure each smile we have a hand in.
We are frequently present when least you suspect us -
In the sudden memory of a favorite Christmas,
Or gleam of the tinsel that inspires a smirk,
Or the warmth in a heart that muffles the hurt
That often accompanies life on this earth.
We strive to bring joy to humans from birth.”
As she spoke, she stirred cocoa on a porcelain stove,
Then brought me a mug to fend off the cold
That dawdled still in my toes and my fingers.
With the heat of the chocolate no cold there could linger.
I slumbered that night in a bed soft as cotton
And awoke to a sight that cannot be forgotten.
Just left of the dwelling, perched on a limb,
Was a blue jay much taller than three full-grown men.
Aurelia said: “Trust him, he is no foe.
No need for instructions, he knows just where to go.”
I climbed very gently upon the bird’s back
And set off for a flight that no pilot can match.
When I arrived home on that Christmas day,
I tried to explain, but what could I say?
The tale was too much for most to believe...
So I said only, "I missed you, on this Christmas Eve."