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The Friendly Flame's Christmas

It was Christmas Eve, and Freddy was all alone. Mother Flame was working late in the bakery, baking the last of the Christmas cookies and cakes. Father Flame was up in a jet plane, helping to bring people home to spend Christmas with their families. Even Frank and Fran, Freddy's brother and sister, were still working, helping to make people happy for Christmas. But poor Freddy was too little to do much of anything.

He wanted to do something to help people, especially on this night of the year. So he went out to look around. He tried to light up a yule log for a family, but he wasn't big enough. Then he wandered into a church. There he saw a child trying to light a candle.

Quickly he hopped onto the wick. Soon the candle was glowing brightly. The child's face glowed with happiness in the light of the candle. Freddy beamed even brighter.

After a while, Freddy danced outside again to see what more good he could do. He fluttered down the snowy street. A gust of cold wind almost blew him out. Then the wind died down, and the snow stopped falling.

Across the street, Freddy saw a boy looking into a store window. It was a delicatessen, brightly decorated for Christmas. Strings of sausages hung down among fat cheeses tied with bright red ribbons.

The boy was shivering. He had only a thin, torn sweater to wear in the winter cold. His father had died two years ago. And now his mother was sick, too sick to work. He was so hungry. And the food in the window looked so good. If only there were a way he could bring some home to his mother.

The boy wiped a clear spot in the frosty window and stared at the food. But soon the window frosted up again. Freddy leaped over to the window, and the warmth of his tiny flame soon had it clear again. The boy was too hungry to notice Freddy.

Then the owner of the store spotted the boy with his nose pressed against the window. He poked his head out the door. "You better move along, Sonny. You're blocking the window."

"Can I shovel the snow for you, Mister?" the boy asked.

"No, it looks like it's going to snow again soon."

The boy sadly shuffled down the street. He was so tired. He sat against the side of a building to rest. But in a minute he was asleep. Then it began to snow again.

Freddy had followed the boy down the street. Now he fluttered about worriedly. Large fluffy snowflakes were covering the boy with a coat of white. It was so cold, he would soon freeze to death.

Freddy hopped over to the boy's right leg and warmed it a bit. Then he skipped over to the left leg. He warmed the boy's hands and his face. He dashed back and forth, faster and faster.

The boy slept on, not realizing that the warmth of the tiny flame was keeping him alive.

The snow was whirling thicker now. As soon as Freddy left a part of the boy's body, the snow and the cold came back. Faster and faster he flew, But he was getting weaker. His flame was growing smaller and smaller. Soon he would not be able to warm the boy at all.

He looked around for help. But it was late, and there was no one on the street. Suddenly Freddy heard the sound of a car driving by. Because of the heavy snow, it was going very slowly.

Freddy leaped up and flashed onto the windshield of the car. With all his strength he sparked and sputtered there. The driver stopped the car. He got out to see what the strange flashing light might be.

Freddy slowly floated down to the ground. The man watched in surprise. Freddy melted a tiny path through the snow. Curious, the man followed. Freddy led him right to the sleeping boy.

"What's this?" the man said. He bent down and shook the boy awake. The boy was so numb he couldn't walk. So the man picked him up and carried him to the car. He drove the boy home to his mother. But when he saw how poor they were, he took them both to his own home, where they had the biggest Christmas dinner they ever saw.

Freddy danced home to tell his family. This was a Merry Christmas.


©1972, 2013 The Silversteins