The Greatest Christmas Stories of All Time
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The Greatest Christmas Stories of All Time is a treasury of short fiction by great writers of the past two centuries — from Dickens, Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy to Willa Cather, Damon Runyon and Beatrix Potter. As a literary subject, Christmas has inspired everything from intimate domestic dramas to fanciful flights of the imagination, and the full range of its expression is represented in this wonderfully engaging anthology.



Publié par
Date de parution 16 janvier 2023
Nombre de lectures 2
EAN13 9789895622511
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 3 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0100€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Table of Contents
At Christmas Time
Anton Chekhov
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Boy with the Box
Mary Griggs van Voorhis
The Burglar’s Christmas
Willa Cather
A Child’s Christmas in Wales
Dylan Thomas
A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens
Stave 1: Marley’s Ghost
Stave 2: The First of the Three Spirits
Stave 3: The Second of the Three Spirits
Stave 4: The Last of the Spirits
Stave 5: The End of It
The Christmas Cuckoo
Frances Browne
Christmas Day in the Morning
Pearl S. Buck
A Christmas Inspiration
Lucy Maud Montgomery
The Christmas Rose
Lizzie Deas
A Country Christmas
Louisa May Alcott
Dancing Dan’s Christmas
Damon Runyon
The Elves and the Shoemaker
The Brothers Grimm
The Fir Tree
Hans Christian Andersen
The Gift of the Magi
O. Henry
The Holy Night
Selma Lagerlöf
A Kidnapped Santa Claus
L. Frank Baum
The Legend of the Christmas Tree
Lucy Wheelock
A Letter from Santa Claus
Mark Twain
Little Gretchen and the Wooden Shoe
Elizabeth Harrison
The Little Match Girl
Hans Christian Andersen
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King
E. T. A. Hoffmann
Chapter 1 — Christmas Eve
Chapter 2 — The Christmas Presents
Chapter 3 — Marie’s Pet and Protégée
Chapter 4 — Wonderful Events
Chapter 5 — The Battle
Chapter 6 — The Invalid
Chapter 7 — The Story of the Hard Nut
Chapter 8 — Uncle and Nephew
Chapter 9 — Victory
Chapter 10 — Toyland
Chapter 11 — The Metropolis
Chapter 12 — Conclusion
The Other Wise Man
Henry Van Dike
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Papa Panov’s Special Christmas
Leo Tolstoy
Reginald’s Christmas Revel
The Selfish Giant
Oscar Wilde
The Steadfast Tin Soldier
Hans Christian Andersen
The Tailor of Gloucester
Beatrix Potter
Tilly’s Christmas
Louisa May Alcott
At Christmas Time
Anton Chekhov
Chapter 1
“What shall I write?” asked Yegor, dipping his pen in the ink.
Vasilissa had not seen her daughter for four years. Efimia had gone away to St. Petersburg with her husband after her wedding, had written two letters, and then had vanished as if the earth had engulfed her, not a word nor a sound had come from her since. So now, whether the aged mother was milking the cow at daybreak, or lighting the stove, or dozing at night, the tenor of her thoughts was always the same: “How is Efimia? Is she alive and well?” She wanted to send her a letter, but the old father could not write, and there was no one whom they could ask to write it for them.
But now Christmas had come, and Vasilissa could endure the silence no longer. She went to the tavern to see Yegor, the innkeeper’s wife’s brother, who had done nothing but sit idly at home in the tavern since he had come back from military service, but of whom people said that he wrote the most beautiful letters, if only one paid him enough. Vasilissa talked with the cook at the tavern, and with the innkeeper’s wife, and finally with Yegor himself, and at last they agreed on a price of fifteen copecks.
So now, on the second day of the Christmas festival, Yegor was sitting at a table in the inn kitchen with a pen in his hand. Vasilissa was standing in front of him, plunged in thought, with a look of care and sorrow on her face. Her husband, Peter, a tall, gaunt old man with a bald, brown head, had accompanied her. He was staring steadily in front of him like a blind man; a pan of pork that was frying on the stove was sizzling and puffing, and seeming to say: “Hush, hush, hush!” The kitchen was hot and close.
“What shall I write?” Yegor asked again.
“What’s that?” asked Vasilissa, looking at him angrily and suspiciously. “Don’t hurry me! You are writing this letter for money, not for love! Now then, begin. To our esteemed son-in-law, Andrei Khrisanfltch, and our only and beloved daughter Efimia, we send greetings and love, and the everlasting blessing of their parents.”
“All right, fire away!”
“We wish them a happy Christmas. We are alive and well, and we wish the same for you in the name of God, our Father in heaven — our Father in heaven —”
Vasilissa stopped to think, and exchanged glances with the old man.
“We wish the same for you in the name of God, our Father in Heaven —” she repeated and burst into tears.
That was all she could say. Yet she had thought, as she had lain awake thinking night after night, that ten letters could not contain all she wanted to say. Much water had flowed into the sea since their daughter had gone away with her husband, and the old people had been as lonely as orphans, sighing sadly in the night hours, as if they had buried their child. How many things had happened in the village in all these years! How many people had married, how many had died! How long the winters had been, and how long the nights!
“My, but it’s hot!” exclaimed Yegor, unbuttoning his waistcoat. “The temperature must be seventy! Well, what next?” he asked.
The old people answered nothing.
“What is your son-in-law’s profession?”
“He used to be a soldier, brother; you know that,” replied the old man in a feeble voice. “He went into military service at the same time you did. He used to be a soldier, but now he is in a hospital where a doctor treats sick people with water. He is the door-keeper there.”
“You can see it written here,” said the old woman, taking a letter out of her handkerchief. “We got this from Efimia a long, long time ago. She may not be alive now.”
Yegor reflected a moment, and then began to write swiftly.
“Fate has ordained you for the military profession,” he wrote, “therefore we recommend you to look into the articles on disciplinary punishment and penal laws of the war department, and to find there the laws of civilisation for members of that department.”
When this was written he read it aloud whilst Vasilissa thought of how she would like to write that there had been a famine last year, and that their flour had not even lasted until Christmas, so that they had been obliged to sell their cow; that the old man was often ill, and must soon surrender his soul to God; that they needed money — but how could she put all this into words? What should she say first and what last?
“Turn your attention to the fifth volume of military definitions,” Yegor wrote. “The word soldier is a general appellation, a distinguishing term. Both the commander-in-chief of an army and the last infantryman in the ranks are alike called soldiers —”
The old man’s lips moved and he said in a low voice:
“I should like to see my little grandchildren!”
“What grandchildren?” asked the old woman crossly. “Perhaps there are no grandchildren.”
“No grandchildren? But perhaps there are! Who knows?”
“And from this you may deduce,” Yegor hurried on, “which is an internal, and which is a foreign enemy. Our greatest internal enemy is Bacehus —”
The pen scraped and scratched, and drew long, curly lines like fish-hooks across the paper. Yegor wrote at full speed and underlined each sentence two or three times. He was sitting on a stool with his legs stretched far apart under the table, a fat, lusty creature with a fiery nape and the face of a bulldog. He was the very essence of coarse, arrogant, stiff-necked vulgarity, proud to have been born and bred in a pot-house, and Vasilissa well knew how vulgar he was, but could not find words to express it, and could only glare angrily and suspiciously at him. Her head ached from the sound of his voice and his unintelligible words, and from the oppressive heat of the room, and her mind was confused. She could neither think nor speak, and could only stand and wait for Yegor’s pen to stop scratching. But the old man was looking at the writer with unbounded confidence in his eyes. He trusted his old woman who had brought him here, he trusted Yegor, and, when he had spoken of the hydropathic establishment just now, his face had shown that he trusted that, and the healing power of its waters.
When the letter was written, Yegor got up and read it aloud from beginning to end. The old man understood not a word, but he nodded his head confidingly, and said:
“Very good. It runs smoothly. Thank you kindly, it is very good.”
They laid three five-copeck pieces on the table and went out. The old man walked away staring straight ahead of him like a blind man, and a look of utmost confidence lay in his eyes, but Vasilissa, as she left the tavern, struck at a dog in her path and exclaimed angrily:
“Ugh — the plague!”
All that night the old woman lay awake full of restless thoughts, and at dawn she rose,

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