Adele’s lonely Christmas Eve is made much brighter by the arrival of a mysterious silver-whiskered stranger…
The sound of snow falling off the eaves was familiar to Adele, but something seemed different this time. She threw back the goose down quilt and plunged her feet into icy shoes, grabbing her shawl from the foot of the bed. She glanced at the clock on the mantel as she headed to the front window to see what the ruckus was all about. It was midnight.
Moonlight painted the snow-covered world in a lustrous diamond blanket. The blue-black sky was clear now and only a gentle wind howled across the endless white prairie. Her small home was most certainly encased in a large snowdrift, invisible to anyone but those who knew where to look for it. She scanned the horizon and pulled her shawl closer across her boney frame.
“So beautiful, yet so cold and lonely.” Adele said to Tabitha as she jumped to the windowsill, purring loudly, demanding to be petted. Her owner happily obliged. “You silly thing. You keep me company, but you can’t hold a decent conversation, can you?”
Thump, thump! The sound of snow falling from the eaves startled Adele again. Surely is couldn’t be melting? What else could be on her roof?
“Heavens be!” she gasped. “Could it be ol’ Saint Nick himself?” She covered her mouth with one hand and hugged the shawl tighter against her with the other. “Lordy, no! If I wasn’t sure about losing my mind before, I am now. But, oh, Tabitha—wouldn’t be wonderful if the dear ol’ saint came down the chimney to treat me this one last time?”
Shivering from cold and anticipation, she lowered herself into her chair by the fire, bending to stoke its dying embers. A shower of snow rained upon the glowing coals, effectively quenching their warmth.
“Well, I never…”
A second later another trickle of snow dropped to the hearth from above.
Adele sprang to her feet and strained to look up the chimney flue. “Glory be! Is it really you?”
“Me?” came a deep male voice. “I guess it is. To whom do I have the pleasure of conversing with?”
“Adele. Adele Stougaard.” She stood up and scratched her head. “I thought you knew everyone, Saint Nicholas.”
A jolly laugh then. “My name is Nicholas, but I’m far from being the blessed saint himself. Can you guide me to the direction of your front door, my good lady?”
Adele relaxed. The disembodied voice coming from above was only a lost traveler. She sighed and shook her head, disappointed to think she hadn’t witnessed a miracle.
“Head toward the moon and watch your step,” she called up the flue. “I can see out my front window, so the door should be visible after you climb down from the roof.”
A knock at the door a moment later confirmed her suspicions.