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A Friend For Christmas

On a particularly dreary night, when gray enveloped everything, and the surroundings were still except for the snowfall, laughter and cheer came from a tiny lit house amidst the ominous fog. This particular small house belonged to a family perhaps down on their luck but full of spirit. The tattered and torn clothes adorning their body barely stood guard against the bitter cold outside. This family whooped and laughed and sang along to corny old songs about a certain Saint Nicholas. Eventually, all was still, and they all decided to sleep for the night. The air seemed colder as the solitary spark of light in the region went off.

A small girl, around 7 years old, slept peacefully on the rags on the house floor and seemed happy.

Just before midnight, she awoke with a sudden jolt to the cries of a dog outside.

“Oh! Sorry!” An old joyful voice from outside said. She heard footsteps crunching in the thick snow outside… a shiver of fear went down her spine.

The only visitors they got were policemen, stray animals, and the occasional villager coming up to check on them. The girl got up, crawled to the door, and put her ear to the wood. After listening intently and hearing nothing, she seemed content that the voice had disappeared, perhaps in pursuit of its owner. She suddenly fell back on the floor due to a loud knocking on the door, which hit her right in the ear. After blowing her long hair off her face so she could see, she cautiously looked out the window to see a rather well-dressed stranger at the door. He seemed restless, rising up and down on his toes with his hands behind his back and sizeable red snow boots.

Something in the girl’s heart told her that this stranger was not a problem. Oddly enough, she could not see her parents anywhere, asleep or otherwise. She went and turned on the kerosene lamp to get some heat and light in the house. Then she went to the door and opened it to find herself face to face with a wide grin and sparkly eyes. She jumped back slightly and seemed surprised.

“Ah! Terribly sorry for waking you up at this hour, ma’am. I just had to find a place to stay. I was just traveling in from the other town when it started snowing heavily, ” said the gentleman.

The girl, with her childlike innocence, welcomed the stranger inside. She had known nothing but kindness and loved her whole life, giving everyone only what she knew.

The stranger came in softly and sat down cross-legged on the floor. The girl sat in front of him, and both of them smiled.

“I’m a wandering traveler, really. I am not searching for anything; I’m just trying to experience everything the world can give, ” said the stranger seated before the girl.

The girl smiled a wide grin and got in a bit closer, fascinated by this gentleman.” I’m Marilyn. I live here with my two parents, and-and-and it’s a pleasure to meet you, ” she said through her grin and shot an arm out in an attempt for a handshake. The gentleman smiled and shook it. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Marilyn. Merry Christmas, by the way, ” said the stranger.

“Ah, same to you, sir! ” said Marilyn. They both started to talk through the night, and the stranger shared stories about his travels. Marilyn listened intently, amused with this event that was unfolding

A few hours later.

“And then the dog started talking!-”

“Nooo! Dogs don’t talk!”

“They do if you know how to talk to them, Marilyn.”

Marilyn laughed loudly. Her cheerful voice cut through the silent night like a lighthouse beacon on a rough sea. The stranger seemed content. He looked outside to see that the snowfall had stopped.

“Ah, Marilyn, I’m afraid I’ll have to leave now. It’s a long way, and I am enjoying myself thoroughly, but I do have to leave, ” the stranger said sadly and got up to leave. Marilyn pouted. “Will you be back?” she said innocently.

The stranger laughed. “If you want me to, I’ll come back someday, ” he said while holding the door knob. “Please do!” said Marilyn. The stranger smiled. “Oh, by the way, what did you wish for Christmas?” Said the stranger with the door open and one foot outside.” Well, nothing much. Just-nothing- I don’t know, ” stuttered Marilyn. The stranger smiled, put a hand in his pocket, and handed her a small red bag.

“Here, this is for you and your family. It’s enough coin to keep you warm for the months to come. Now, I have to go, sadly. I’ll see you soon, Marilyn. It was lovely talking to you.” Marilyn grabbed the bag and saw the stranger leave in the darkness.

He stopped after a while and got into a horse cart with nine horses. The horse at the front had some red pigmentation and seemed to be glowing. The cart started to slide forward and disappeared into the night. Marilyn saw the stranger go and smiled. She got her to wish fulfilled too. All she had wanted was a friend for Christmas.


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