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The St. Nicholas Surprise

About the real St. Nicholas, his helpers and a dream


Tomorrow is St. Nicholas' Day. Mia has cleaned her boots and put them in front of her bed. That way, St. Nicholas can fill them with presents during the night. Because she can't fall asleep yet, she leafs through her St. Nicholas picture book.

"Funny," she says, "here the St. Nicholas presents are wrapped in stockings. How practical."

Mia closes her eyes and thinks of a Santa sack full of stockings.

"Why does Santa put his presents in stockings or boots?" she murmurs. "Nobody else does that. I wonder if it's a secret."

Since Mia loves secrets more than anything, she wants to get to the bottom of it. She ponders for a long time and falls asleep. She dreams of Father Christmas.

Suddenly a stranger is standing in front of her bed.

"I'm one of Santa's helpers," he says. "And the story about the stockings is an old one."

"Tell me!" begs Mia.

The stranger sits down next to Mia on the edge of the bed.

"The real St Nicholas," he begins, "was a kind and helpful man. He lived in Asia Minor a long time ago and whenever he could, he would come to the aid of people in need.

"Fine," says Mia, "but what does that have to do with the stockings?"

"That's one of many stories about Nicholas. For once he gave a poor family a stocking full of gold pieces. That was a surprise for the poor family man! Now he no longer had to worry about his family. In memory of this, people still give each other stockings filled with small gifts on St. Nicholas Day in many countries."

The Father Christmas helper hands Mia a stocking and before Mia can say "thank you", it has disappeared.

And Mia's dream has disappeared too. Too bad. Had she only dreamed this visit?

Mia looks up. A Santa's stocking is standing in front of her bed - and next to it is a stocking filled with gingerbread, nuts and a chocolate Santa."

© Elke Bräunling




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