In the branches of the Chrismas tree hung a wooden ornament. He wasn’t quite sure if he was a soldier or a nutcracker. The little handcrafted ornament of nuts was hung far over on the other side of the tree, so he realized he would have to make up his own mind about who he was. Certainly at one time or another, he had been wounded. One of his arms was severed at the elbow so perhaps that was proof that he was a soldier. But then we’ve all been wounded at one time or another. All this thinking about his own condition made him rather grumpy. He was very hot as he hung close to a brilliant white light. His hair frizzed out and he squinted when the lights were on. He hung silently, one could even say in a sulk, as the pine needles lost their verdant fresh color. He knew he would soon be taken off the tree and put back into the box where he spent almost the whole year. He was lonely and bored. “I’m getting too old for this,”, he thought.
Near him hung a paper angel. She too looked rather grumpy. It was her first year on the Christmas tree and she wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Sometimes it was very bright and then for hours it would be dark and cool in the pine needles. Out of the corner of her eye she could see a wooden figure dressed in a smart uniform. She wondered why he didn’t speak to her. In the dark night sometimes she heard a little elf chatting to a snowman in the boughs above her. A wooden cat wearing a Christmas hat hung below her. He often purred to himself when all was still in the house.
The angel was carrying a round fan although she couldn’t really make up her mind what it was for. When the bright white light shone for a long time she fluttered it a little to cool off. Only one of the children of the house had noticed that. The grow ups smiled and thought it was very sweet when she insisted that, yes, the angel did fan herself. The angel was afraid of the girl. She wondered if she would take her off the tree to investigate. She was only made of paper after all and she felt rather fragile.
One night after a party the mother opened the window behind the tree. She wanted to air out the room but she forgot to close it and went off to bed. A cold breeze blew from the window from time to time. The Christmas tree gave a great sigh and moaned a little.” Oh, how I miss the great winds in the forest!” All the ornaments were silent. They had never heard a sound from the tree before. Another breeze stirred the ornaments and the little solder and the angel twisted where they hung and suddenly looked into each other’s eyes.
“Good evening!”said the little soldier, feeling he should take off his hat to such an angel but he had quite forgotten how. He had become so stiff and sad. It didn’t help that he had only one hand either.
“Good evening” whispered the little angel. She lifted up her fan to hide her face for a moment. “Isn’t it refreshing to feel the cool air?” She ventured, summoning up her courage.
At that moment the little soldier fell in love with the angel. “It is pleasant. I hope you will excuse my appearance. The heat makes my hair frizzle up so.”
“Oh, don’t mention it. As you see, mine goes quite flat,” replied the angel with a smile. ” I take it you have many years of experience on the tree. Perhaps you could tell me what happens after what they call New Year. The little girl talks about staying up late. I suppose it will be very noisy and hot again. Then what will happen?”
“Soon after that we will be taken down and put away into a dark box for a long time. It is rather lonely. I suppose we should make the most of our time here on the tree. Our fate is kinder than his. He will be thrown out onto the street and taken away. We are loved year after year, I suppose. Many people have already said how pretty you are. I am even called “Old favorite”
“Will we be together in the dark box?” asked the angel boldly. All these things were new to her and she realized she had very little time to make friends with the gallant soldier.
“That will depend on the children. They are the ones who put us away. Perhaps we will be lucky . I certainly don’t want to be close to that snowman. He sweats rather and made me quite damp one year.”
The angel thought that was tactless. He could have said he would like to be with her when they were put away.
During the New Year’s Eve party, the little angel discovered how to flutter her fan so that she and the little wooden soldier twisted to face each other. They looked into each other’s eyes all evening. When the little girl came and stared curiously at them, they remained silent but she jumped in surprise when the soldier clearly winked at her. She ran off to tell her parents who laughed and told her she was imagining things. “That’s what comes of staying up past midnight, young lady. Off you go to bed”
On her white pillow she dreamed of the angel dancing with the wooden soldier. A few days later as she helped to pack up the ornaments, she carefully placed the two together. The soldier gently put his arm around the angel. She lowered her fan carefully to her side and rested her head on his shoulder. “Good night, mon brave.”murmured the angel. “Goodnight, my dear.” answered the soldier rather gruffly.
In this way the Christmas season ended with two hearts at peace.
And if you think this is just make believe….well here is the little ornament made of real nuts. Love to all and Happy New Year