XXIII. CHRISTMAS IN THE BARN*
* From “In the Child’s World,” by Emilie Poulssen, Milton Bradley Co., Publishers. Used by permission.
Only two more days and Christmas would be here! It had been snowing hard, and Johnny was standing at the window, looking at the soft, white snow which covered the ground half a foot deep. Presently he heard the noise of wheels coming up the road, and a wagon turned in at the gate and came past the window. Johnny was very curious to know what the wagon could be bringing. He pressed his little nose close to the cold window pane, and to his great surprise, saw two large Christmas-trees. Johnny wondered why there were two trees, and turned quickly to run and tell mamma all about it; but then remembered that mamma was not at home. She had gone to the city to buy some Christmas presents and would not return until quite late. Johnny began to feel that his toes and fingers had grown quite cold from standing at the window so long; so he drew his own little chair up to the cheerful grate fire and sat there quietly thinking. Pussy, who had been curled up like a little bundle of wool, in the very warmest corner, jumped up, and, going to Johnny, rubbed her head against his knee to attract his attention. He patted her gently and began to talk to her about what was in his thoughts.
He had been puzzling over the two trees which had come, and at last had made up his mind about them. “I know now, Pussy,” said he, “why there are two trees. This morning when I kissed Papa good-bye at the gate he said he was going to buy one for me, and mamma, who was busy in the house, did not hear him say so; and I am sure she must have bought the other. But what shall we do with two Christmas-trees?”
Pussy jumped into his lap and purred and purred. A plan suddenly flashed into Johnny’s mind. “Would you like to have one, Pussy?” Pussy purred more loudly, and it seemed almost as though she had said yes.
“Oh! I will, I will! if mamma will let me. I’ll have a Christmas-tree out in the bam for you, Pussy, and for all the pets; and then you’ll all be as happy as I shall be with my tree in the parlour.”
By this time it had grown quite late. There was a ring at the door-bell; and quick as a flash Johnny ran, with happy, smiling face, to meet papa and mamma and gave them each a loving kiss. During the evening he told them all that he had done that day and also about the two big trees which the man had brought. It was just as Johnny had thought. Papa and mamma had each bought one, and as it was so near Christmas they thought they would not send either of them back. Johnny was very glad of this, and told them of the happy plan he had made and asked if he might have the extra tree. Papa and mamma smiled a little as Johnny explained his plan but they said he might have the tree, and Johnny went to bed feeling very happy.