Tuesday, December 26, 2006
In the night after Christmas the loaded sleigh sped away and dissolved into a sudden cloud of glistening snowflakes. Then, silently, it began to exist again, pressing distinct traces into the snow, on the Eve of the Yuletide holiday.
The sleigh's occupant knew the village well, from memory. He crept in and out of each house like a shadow, leaving presents that would later cause a minor sensation, as no one could say how they had been put there or who was responsible. But all were immensely astonished at the insightful selection, as if the giver had known exactly what the person might need later, even before that person had thought of it.
Since McPhearson had discovered the principle of time travel, he kept it a secret, using it only to satisfy his sense of generosity among the people of the village he loved, that special place of his childhood. There were so many Christmases to chose from, and he darted from one to the next, pausing only to replenish the pile of presents on his sleigh.
He made his final stop at an unlit cabin. The mean hermit who lived there had always chased the children from his yard. He was feared and avoided by all. McPhearson knocked. "I am the spirit of Christmas past," he called in response to the frightened stir. The hermit slowly opened the door to stare into his own face.
The previous Christmas stories: #118 and #323
Here's wishing all of you a great Christmas and all the best for the New Year!
Story #370 somehow got lost in the shuffle, but I've finally posted it.