| For the Children's Hour|
|by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey|
|A choice collection of stories for the preschool child, carefully selected, adapted, and arranged by two veteran kindergarten teachers. Includes nature stories, holiday stories, fairy tales and fables, as well as stories of home life. Emphasis is placed on fanciful tales for their value in the training of the imagination and on cumulative tales for developing a child's sense of humor and appealing to his instinctive love of rhyme and jingle. Ages 4-7 |
C. S. B. Adapted from the Russian legend.
IT was the night the dear Christ Child came to
Bethlehem. In a country far away from Him, an old, old
woman named Babouscka sat in her snug little house by
her warm fire. The wind was drifting the snow outside
and howling down the chimney, but it only made
Babouscka's fire burn more brightly.
"How glad I am that I may stay indoors!" said
Babouscka, holding her hands out to the bright blaze.
But suddenly she heard a loud rap at her door. She
opened it and her candle shone on three old men
 standing outside in the snow. Their beards were as
white as the snow, and so long that they reached the
ground. Their eyes shone kindly in the light of
Babouscka's candle, and their arms were full of
precious things—boxes of jewels, and sweet-smelling
oils, and ointments.
"We traveled far, Babouscka," they said, "and we stop
to tell you of the Baby Prince born this night in
Bethlehem. He comes to rule the world and teach all
men to be loving and true. We carry Him gifts. Come
with us, Babouscka!"
But Babouscka looked at the driving snow, and then
inside at her cozy room and the crackling fire. "It is
too late for me to go with you, good sirs," she said,
"the weather is too cold." She went inside again and
shut the door, and the old men journeyed on to
Bethlehem without her. But as Babouscka sat by her
fire, rocking, she began to think about the little
Christ Child, for she loved all babies.
"To-morrow I will go to find Him," she said;
"to-morrow, when it is light, and I will carry Him some
So when it was morning Babouscka put on her long cloak,
and took her staff, and filled a basket with the pretty
things a baby would like—gold balls, and wooden toys,
and strings of silver cobwebs—and she set out to find
the Christ Child.
But, ho! Babouscka had forgotten to ask the three old
men the road to Bethlehem, and they had traveled so far
through the night that she could not overtake them. Up
and down the roads she hurried, through woods and
fields and towns, saying to whomsoever she met: "I go
to find the Christ Child. Where does He lie? I bring
some pretty toys for His sake."
 But no one could tell her the way to go, and they
all said: "Farther on, Babouscka, farther on." So she
traveled on, and on, and on for years and years—but she
never found the little Christ Child.
They say that old Babouscka is traveling still, looking
for Him. When it comes Christmas eve, and the children
are lying fast asleep, Babouscka comes softly through
the snowy fields and towns, wrapped in her long cloak
and carrying her basket on her arm. With her staff she
raps gently at the doors and goes inside and holds her
candle close to the little children's faces.
"Is He here?" she asks. "Is the little Christ Child
here?" And then she turns sorrowfully away again,
crying: "Farther on, farther on." But before she
leaves, she takes a toy from her basket and lays it
beside the pillow for a Christmas gift. "For His
sake," she says softly and then hurries on through the
years and forever in search of the little Christ Child.
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