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Publié : 12 mai 2011

A Christmas Miracle

A Christmas Miracle

by Léa Mougin, TL1 (2010-2011)

That night had probably been the coldest winter night for the last ten years. The whole city of London was covered in snow, and nobody dared to venture in the streets, except the few ones who hadn’t reached their homes yet. On Christmas Eve, everybody met to share a Christmas meal : Christmas lights could be seen in every dining room, mince pies and Christmas pudding on almost every table and socks hung from the mantelpieces. That Christmas Eve of 1889 seemed similar to all the others ; nevertheless it wasn’t an ordinary Christmas Eve for Mr. Grant
.
Mr. Grant was a seventy-year-old man, who had been living alone since the death of his wife many years before, when he was still a young gentleman. He had never been able to find consolation after his wife’s death, and had become withdrawn since that painful Christmas of 1849 : he didn’t speak to anyone any more, didn’t see anyone anymore and refused every visit. Little by little, his friends had decided to leave him alone. Actually Mr. Grant spent his days reading, playing cards alone, building models of ships and making dolls as his wife used to before she died. He didn’t work any more and lived on the money he had saved. Mister Grant had become an austere old goat. He couldn’t bear Christmas because it was the day that had taken his wife’s life.

The clock had just struck midnight. Mister Grant was falling asleep in his armchair in front of the fireplace when suddenly the doorbell rang. The first time in a very long time. Mr. Grant grumbled in a low voice, and closed his eyes again. Nonetheless when the bell rang a second time, Mr. Grant stood up furiously and took a fast step to the entrance in order to see who was disturbing him on that Christmas night. He opened the door abruptly and declared dryly :
"Who do you think you are, disturbing people on Christmas Eve ?”

To his surprise, it was not an adult who had rung at the door, but a seven-year-old girl at most, who must have had to jump to catch the chain of the bell. She only wore a pair of trousers which was too small for her, a big jacket and a woolen hat. She was barefoot. She raised her bright green eyes towards Mr. Grant, and answered politely :
“I am sorry Sir. But I only wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas.”
Mr. Grant looked at her in amazement :
“What are you doing alone outside in this cold weather ? Aren’t you celebrating Christmas with your family ? And where are your shoes ?”

The little girl looked down and stared at her naked feet :
"I have no place to celebrate Christmas, nor do I have any shoes. I only want to wish you a Merry Christmas.” She said going down the three steps.
Mister Grant remained motionless for a while, surprised as he was by this kind little girl and her answer. It was the first time he had seen such a curious girl.
“Wait, Miss ! I think you’ve forgotten something here !” he suddenly cried out.

The girl retraced her steps, gave Mr. Grant a puzzled look and asked him what she had forgotten. The old man, who felt amazed by his own behaviour, told her that Santa Claus had left a present for her, and that he didn’t know what to do with it. The green-eyed girl followed Mr. Grant into his lounge, sat down in the armchair after taking off her hat and freed her red hair. Mister Grant noticed that she looked like his wife, and his heart sank. He took his most beautiful doll out of his cupboard, returned to the lounge and put it silently on the lap of the girl who stared at it. A smile lit up her pretty child’s face as she happily kissed the doll’s forehead. Then she got up and hugged Mr. Grant who began smiling and stroking her hair.
"Merry Christmas, Miss”, he whispered.

Ever since that day Mister Grant had found a reason to live. This girl was his Christmas miracle.