Merry Christmas! (Day 4)


I don't know that I like this painting so much as I like the fact that it shows Christ accompanying the Holy Innocents and the end of their suffering, as opposed to the usual depictions of the bloody babes and agonized mothers.

As the feast of the Holy Innocents is a day for jokes and pranks in many other countries, may I recommend this short, short story from O. Henry?  Christmas by Injunction.  It's about a miner who strikes it rich and gets it into his head to play Santa Claus to all the kids in his adopted home town. He hires a sleigh, spends his fortune on toys, gets an elaborate costume together.

He overlooks one minor detail, however: being filled with bachelor prospectors and a mere five women, the town has no children, and their efforts to borrow a few just for the day are fruitless:

Trinidad and the Judge vainly exhausted more than half their list before twilight set in among the hills. They spent the night at a stage road hostelry, and set out again early the next morning. The wagon had not acquired a single passenger.
"It's creepin' upon my faculties," remarked Trinidad, "that borrowin' kids at Christmas is somethin' like tryin' to steal butter from a man that's got hot pancakes a-comin'."
"It is undoubtedly an indisputable fact," said the Judge, "that the-- ah--family ties seem to be more coherent and assertive at that period of the year."

And later:
This parental business is one that I haven't no chance to comprehend. It seems that fathers and mothers are willin' for their offsprings to be drownded, stole, fed on poison oak, and et by catamounts 364 days in the year; but on Christmas Day they insists on enjoyin' the exclusive mortification of their company.