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"Certainly! certainly!" answered the um- side, stood a fine new brass cage with a whole brella-man, “I see you need a home badly, banana stuck between the wires. In front and I know the very one for you and will tell of the fire, fast asleep and nodding in her you where it is—it 's very easy to find the easy-chair, was the best little old woman in way. Just go right down this street till you the world, and she had pink ribbons in her come to the post-office; then turn the corner cap-exactly as they had wished for! and keep on till you see the court-house; then Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas!" turn another corner and keep straight on till you reach the jail; then turn that corner and go right ahead till you get on a country road. Follow that road till you come to a school-house; then at the cross-roads, just beyond, you must turn to the left, and by and by you will come to a little red house under

HE a hill where lives the kindest little old woman in the world. If once you get under her roof, you will be happy for the rest of your lives.”

“Oh, thank you! thank you!" cried they both; "what should we ever have done without your wise advice! Now, we'll hurry away and try to find the little red house before night.”

So off again went the cat and the parrot, down this street, and up that one, and around ever so many corners; past the post-office, the court-house, the jail, and the school-house, till at last they came out on the country road. It was nearly dark, and

"EVERY ONE WAS SHOUTING, 'WHERE IS THE FIRE?' it was snowing fast, and they were dreadfully tired, but they had screamed the colonel, as he hopped into the to go a long way farther before they came to cage and seized the banana. the little red house under a hill.

The old woman woke with a jump and A light was shining in the window, and rubbed her eyes. “Bless me!" cried she, “if it they went up and knocked softly at a door is n't my own precious pets back again! and which stood ajar. There was no answer, so won't we have a beautiful Christmas all they stole in. A bright fire was burning, and together!" But Mark was too busy eating a kettle sang cheerfully on the hob. On one salmon to answer—all he could do was to side of the fireplace lay a soft green cushion give his loudest possible purr, but it meant, with a plate of salmon beside it; on the other "A Merry Christmas to us all!"

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“A HEADING FOR DECEMBER." BY AMIE LLOYD BASINGER, AGE 13. (GOLD BADGE. SILVER BADGE WON NOVEMBER 1919) ONCE more returns the joyous season when every- history, enlivened so many heart-warmings that body, old or young, is busied with the happy self- each stands for all that is best and happiest in forgetfulness of finding, and bestowing broadcast, the beautiful Yule-tide festival-not forgetting its tokens of affection and good will; and when the central, wonderful, and ever-sacred lesson that it family life is in the thick of plots and counterplots, is more blessed to give than to receive? not "against the peace and comfort of the state, All this, at any rate, is familiar enough to the but designed to ferret out secretly for each just young folk of the St. NICHOLAS LEAGUE; and they what every other member of the household most themselves paid remarkable tribute to the Beauneeds or covets. It is upon this altogether delight- tiful Day and to the magazine in their offerings ful preoccupation that the thoughts of our readers for the December subjects for prose, verse and are likely to be focussed when these LEAGUE pages drawings. As usual, these were vastly more in overtake them, whether in crowded shops and number than could possibly be printed; and so, streets or in the glow of the ingle-nook at home. with gratitude to the LEAGUE members who have By every right, however, this magazine can assert loyally advanced its banner year by year, and its claim to special attention from everybody in congratulations upon the fine achievements that December, for is n't ST. NICHOLAS but another have crowned their efforts this month and every name for Santa Claus? And have n't the maga- month, we wish them one and all, a Very Merry zine and its patron saint, in their long and cheery Christmas and a truly happy 1922!

PRIZE COMPETITION No. 261

(In making awards contributors' ages are considered) PROSE. Gold Badge, Helen Nelson (age 16), Colorado. Silver Badges, Rauha Laulainen (age 15), Minnesota; Helen Rauney (age 15), Ohio; Marian Seeds (age 12), Indiana; Charlotte Churchill (age 14), Arizona; Margaret E. Robinson (age 14), New York. VERSE. Gold Badge, Margaret Marian McHugh (age 15), Iowa. Silver Badges, Camilla Leonard Edwards (age 16), New York; Mary Arrington (age 13), Massachusetts. DRAWINGS. Gold Badge, Amie Lloyd Basinger (age 13), New York. Silver Badges, Dora Cooke (age 13), Hawaii; John Welker (age 16), Ohio; Janet Atwater (age 15), New York; Marjorie E. Root (age 15), Massachusetts. PHOTOGRAPHS. Gold Badge, Rafael A. Peyré (age 15), Central America. Silver Badges, Madeleine Curtis (age 14), Switzerland; Ottmar Attebery (age 12), Missouri; Margaret May (age 13), Massachusetts; Ruth Patterson (age 12), California; Lois Mills (age 13), Connecticut. PUZZLE-MAKING. Silver Badges, Christine Hammond (age 13), Connecticut; Mildred Catherine Ball (age 11), Vermont.

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LONG AGO
BY CATHERINE PARMENTER (AGE 16)

(Honor Member)
ONE Christmas eve, long, long ago,

When all the earth was still and sweet, I saw the little Christ-child pass

With soft and saintly feet.
A brooding hush hung over all;

Bright stars illumed the purple sky. The Child paused at each lighted house,

Nor passed the poorest by.
He bent above each baby's crib,

And kissed the little rosebud cheek.
The tiny candles guided him

From drifts of snow so bleak. One Christmas eve, long, long ago,

Below me in the snowy street, I saw the little Christ-child pass

With soft and saintly feet.

Blown from the bed beyond the pathway, where

A tiny brown-eyed child goes wandering by. And now from out the corner by the wall,

Light stepping o'er the grass, There come fair

maids and many a gallant tall Moving along the rose-strewn path, while all

The fowers bow before them as they pass. Out through the gate they slide and leave me there.

The sun drops low; Faint breath of lavender blows through the air, And I, awakening, find my visions fair

Were but quaint shadows of the Long Ago.

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A CHRISTMAS STORY

BY HELEN NELSON (AGE 16) (Gold Badge. Silver Badge won August, 1921) On a rocky hillside in Palestine, shepherds were drowsily watching their sheep. It was on a warm, velvety night. The stars glowed with a lustrous radiance, when suddenly, out of the East, a light appeared, which shone with such brilliancy that the shepherds covered their faces and bowed to the ground, for they were frightened and blinded. Then an angel of the Lord comforted them, saying, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Immediately out of the whispering night came the voice of a host of angels, singing, “Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.” So charmed were the shepherds with the sweetness of the song and the magic of the scene that they rose forthwith, took up their staffs, and followed the star to Bethlehem.

There in the manger lay the wee babe, with the mother and father leaning over it in rapt adoration, and the three wise men of the East, robed in cloth of gold, kneeling in humble worship, with their rich gifts before them. The only light in the place was the Glory of the Lord which shone with à veiled and shimmering softness.

As the shepherds hastened to the door of the stable they stopped for a moment in surprise; then they, too, fell down in worship, and all was still, while angels hovered outside guarding the babe who was to be the Savior of Men.

3

A CHRISTMAS STORY
BY MINNIE PFEFERBERG (AGE 16)

(Honor Member) "HO-HUM,” remarked Grandfather Burns, momentarily removing his pipe. , "Christmas day always recalls one Christmas of long ago.”

It was after the big Christmas dinner, and the Burns children, with their grandfather, were seated before the living-room fire. As was their wont, they burst out with, “Oh, grandpa, tell us!"

"Well," he began, the misty, far-away look coming into his eyes, "it was Christmas day, many, many years ago. We children were seated before a roaring fire, just as you are now, roasting our after-dinner chestnuts. It was a wild day without. The windows rattled loudly as a sharp wind whistled and moaned about the old house. Little feathery flakes were falling silently, blanketing the bare bleakness of the earth below with a thick, white coverlet.

"Suddenly a sharp rap was heard at the door, and a gust of wind swept in with a wintry chill as Mother admitted a tall, snow-covered man.

"His horse had gone lame, he said, and he politely asked if we could find shelter for the animal and himself until the storm had abated.

“The stranger proved to have a very pleasant and affable personality. He had a great faculty for telling stories, especially humorous tales. In fact, he proved so charming a guest that it was with a very genuine regret that we saw him depart.

"We never saw him again, unfortunately. But five years later, half the country was hailing him as the Great Emancipator, the President of the United States! Yes, sir,” Grandfather ended solemnly, "it was our great honor to entertain Abraham Lincoln as a Christmas-day guest in our home!"

LONG AGO
BY CAMILLA LEONARD EDWARDS (AGE 16)

(Silver Badge) SOMETIMES I wander to a garden wall

And through a gateway low; Above curves gracefully an arbor tall Thatched thick with roses, whose white petals

fall
And softly cover all the path below.
I stand beneath the arbor watching there

The rosy sunset sky-
Faint smell of lavender is in the air,

LONG AGO

of quail that had spent the night, during the storm, BY MARGARET MARIAN MCHUGH (AGE 15)

under the tamarisk came slowly out single file, to

hunt for an early breakfast. The coyote which (Gold Badge. Silver Badge won September, 1920)

had been asleep in the shelter of the creek bank When the sun half curtained in fleecy mist

stretched itself and trotted off, hoping that a Rose o'er the hills of Jebél,

rabbit or two would be out and could be caught A stranger rode through the drifting sand

off guard. The English sparrows awoke and From the land where his people dwell.

twittered cheerlessly in the stable. And then the And under his silken garments were

long howl of a hungry wolf out for a kill echoed Caskets containing the richest myrrh.

through the valley, and was echoed and reëchoed

along the mesa. The coyotes caught the refrain Within his eyes gleamed a mystical light,

and howled in answer. This was the scene the And his face was young and fair;

sun looked down on as it rose above the snowBut his jaw was set as he turned his gaze

covered mesa a minute later to shine on a new To the desert white and bare.

Christmas day.
For days he had traveled 'neath the sun,
Passing the pyramids, one by one.

A CHRISTMAS STORY

(Told as a true story by a British Colonel) And lo! o'er the face of the desert came A figure out of the east;

BY MARGARET E. ROBINSON (AGE 14) And as if by magic, a speck appeared

(Silver Badge) From the south, where the sky-line ceased.

Little Jack Horner sat in a corner And one was dark and the other fair.

Eating a Christmas pie Both were laden with gold and incense rare.

He stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum

And said, What a good boy am I." And they met, these three, 'neath the olive-trees,

In the time of Henry VIII of England, there Just as the day was done,

lived the Bishop of Bath and Wells. The king And they joined their quest and their fortunes and the bishop quarreled many times. At last

the bishop determined to end these quarrels and Long ago, 'neath the dying sun.

to live in peace. For a long time he thought, and And then they lifted their eyes to pray,

at last came to the decision that he would send And slowly and softly moved away.

his Majesty a Christmas present. A CHRISTMAS STORY

In those days, everything had to be sent by

coach. He appointed John Horner to carry the BY LINDA E. MITCHELL, JR. (AGE 13) gift, which was in the form of eleven deeds to The first snow had fallen and the ground was estates. These deeds were placed in a Christmas transformed by its beautiful white coverlet. pie, in order to conceal them from bandits and The mesquites and tree-cactus in the valley were highwaymen. laden with their icy burden. On the side of the John Horner, in some way, learned what the mesa, the rocks and piñon trees, the blue and gift was to be. So he, on the way, literally "put green cedars, all were covered with snow and ice. in his thumb, and pulled out a plum," and the Long thin icicles hung from the roof. The covey plum was the deed to Mels Manor.

there,

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The king was so delighted to receive the deeds music of the silver sleigh-bells, which kept a to ten estates that he made John Horner a baronet. rhythmical time as the horse lightly trotted along, And there has always been, since that time, a added to the pleasantness of the drive. Sir John Horner at Mels Manor.

As the sleigh approached the skiing grounds, a

crowded grand stand, bedecked with gay banners, LONG AGO

could be seen. The music of the band was heard, BY MARY ARRINGTON (AGE 13)

and the skiers were rapidly forming at the top (Silver Badge)

of the slope.

“In fifteen minutes the race will start; get In the soft warm glow of the summer days, When horizons are hid by a mystic haze,

ready, Aino," said her father, as the horse stopped. I lie on the glistening golden sands, A-resting my head on my sunburned hands, And watch the gulls go to and fro As I dream I lived in the Long Ago. Then over a sea of silver waves And up from the depths of the coral caves, A ghostly ship goes sailing by And is silhouetted against the sky. Her phantom men stand row on row; 'T is a pirate craft of the Long Ago. 'T is a grim, foreboding crew of yore That pilots the boat up to the shore; And each man buries a bag of gold From a treasure-chest within the hold, And they leave no trace by which to know Where the hoard was hidden Long Ago. Then over a shimmering, silver sheet Sails back that ship of a bygone fleet; And I find myself, where before I lay, Gazing wistfully over the bay; And again the gulls go to and fro'T was but a dream of the Long Ago.

"A HEADING FOR DECEMBER.
A CHRISTMAS STORY

AGE 13. (HONOR MEMBER)
BY RAUHA LAULAINEN (AGE 15)

Aino hurriedly reached for her skis, but the (Silver Badge)

happy expression on her face disappeared and she The country of Finland was in its winter glory exclaimed: "The other ski is gone! Olaf, hurry, that Christmas afternoon. The trees were heavily find it! It has fallen on the road!” laden with snow, and the pale winter sunbeams Her brother immediately drove away. In less changed the snowflakes into innumerable gems. than ten minutes, Aino was among the contes

Aino placed her skis in the sleigh with the ut- tants, for her brother had found the ski near the most care, for she prized them because they were grand stand. a Christmas gift from her father, who wished to The signal was given, a hushed silence fell upon have her compete for the silver cup in skiing. the crowd, and the skiers were off. Aino came The ten-mile ride was very lovely.

The way

down the slope at a terrific speed until she reached Aino's face beamed with excitement, and the the raised platform, and from there she leaped

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BY MARY RAMSAY PALMATEER

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