Knights of the Pain Table

A Camelot for Sufferers of Chronic Pain

The Bird’s Christmas Carol – Chapter IV Part 2– Bird’s of a Feather Flock Together – A Christmas Story


Chapter IV  Part 2

   “That’s what Mama said. Now I’m going to give this whole Christmas to the Ruggleses; and,  Uncle Jack,  I earned part of the money myself.”


   “You, my bird; how?”


   “Well, you see,  it could not be my own, own Christmas if Papa gave me all the money, and I thought to really keep Christ’s birthday I ought to do something of my very own;  and so I talked with Mama.  Of course she thought of something lovely; she always does; Mama’s head is just brimming over with lovely thoughts, and all I have to do is ask, and out pops the very one I want.   This thought was, to let her write down,  just as I told her, a description of how a little girl lived in her own room three years, and what she did to amuse herself; and we sent it to a magazine and got twenty-five dollars for it. Just think!”


   “Well, well,” cried Uncle Jack, “my little girl a real author! And what are you going to do with this wonderful ‘own’ money of yours?”


   “I shall give the nine Ruggleses a grand Christmas dinner here in this very room   —  that will be Papa’s contribution,   and afterwards a beautiful Christmas tree,  fairly blooming with presents  —  that will be my part; for I have another way of adding to my twenty-five dollars,  so that I can buy everything I like.   I should like it very much if you would sit at the head of the table,  Uncle Jack,  for nobody could ever be frightened of you, you dearest,  dearest,  dearest thing that ever was!  


Mama is going to help us,  but Papa and the boys are going to eat together down stairs for fear of making the little Ruggleses shy;  and after we’ve had a merry time with the tree we can open my window and all listen together to the music at the evening church-service,  if it comes before the children go.  I have written a letter to the organist,  and asked him if I might have the two songs I like best.  Will you see if it is all right?”


“BIRDS NEST, Dec. 21st, 188-.



   I am the little sick girl who lives next door to the church, and, as I seldom go out, the music on practice days and Sundays is one of my greatest pleasures.


   I want to know if you can let the boys sing ‘Carol, brothers, carol,’ on Christmas night, and if the one who sings  ‘My ain countree’  so beautifully may please sing that too.    I think it is the loveliest song in the world, but it always makes me cry; doesn’t it you?


   If it isn’t too much trouble, I hope they can sing them both quite early, as after ten o’clock I may be asleep.


— Yours respectfully,




P.S. — The reason I like ‘Carol, brothers, carol,’ is because the choir-boys sang it eleven years ago, the morning I was born, and put it into Mama’s head to call me Carol.    She didn’t remember then that my other name would be Bird, because she was half asleep, and couldn’t think of but one thing at a time.   Donald says if I had been born on the Fourth of July they would have named me  ‘Independence,’  or if on the twenty-second of February,  ‘ Georgina,’ or even  ‘Cherry,’  like Cherry in Martin Chuzzlewit;   but I like my own name and birthday best.


— Yours truly,




Uncle Jack thought the letter quite right, and did not even smile at her telling the organist so many family items.   The days flew by,  as they always fly in holiday time, and it was Christmas eve before anybody knew it.   The family festival was quiet and very pleasant,  but quite swallowed up in the grander preparations for next day.  Carol and Elfrida,  her pretty German nurse,  had ransacked books,  and introduced so many plans,  and plays,  and customs and merry-makings from Germany,  and Holland, and England and a dozen other places,  that you would scarcely have known how or where you were keeping Christmas. 


The dog and the cat had enjoyed their celebration under Carol’s direction.   Each had a tiny table with a lighted candle in the center,  and a bit of Bologna sausage placed very near it,  and everybody laughed till the tears stood in their eyes to see Villikins and

Dinah struggle to nibble the sausages, and at the same time evade the candle flame.


Villikins barked,  and sniffed,  and howled in impatience,  and after many vain attempts succeeded in dragging off the prize,  though he singed his nose in doing it.   Dinah, meanwhile,  watched him placidly,  her delicate nostrils quivering with expectation,  and, after all excitement had subsided,  walked with dignity to the table,  her beautiful gray satin tail sweeping behind her, and, calmly putting up one velvet paw, drew the sausage gently down, and walked out of the room without “turning a hair,” so to speak.


Elfrida had scattered handfuls of seeds over the snow in the garden, that the wild birds might have a comfortable breakfast next morning, and had stuffed bundles of dried grasses in the fireplaces, so that the reindeer of Santa Claus could refresh themselves after their long gallops across country.   This was really only done for fun, but it pleased Carol.


And when,  after dinner,  the whole family had gone to church to see the Christmas decorations,  Carol limped wearily out on her little crutches,  and,  with Elfrida’s help, placed all the family boots in a row in the upper hall.  That was to keep the dear ones from quarrelling all through the year. There were Papa’s stout top boots; Mama’s pretty buttoned shoes next; then Uncle Jack’s, Donald’s, Paul’s and Hugh’s; and at the end of the line her own little white worsted slippers.


 Last, and sweetest of all, like the little children in Austria, she put a lighted candle in her window to guide the dear Christ-child,  lest he should stumble in the dark night as he passed up the deserted street.  This done, she dropped into bed, a rather tired, but very happy Christmas fairy.


End of Chapter IV  Part 2

 By Kate Douglas Wiggin  

Next           Chapter  V Part 1


The Beginning        Chapter I    Part 1

Your Scribe,

Lady Sharon,
Knights of the Pain Table

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