This story had its genesis on Christmas Eve, 1966, when my two oldest children were under the age of six. Christmas is a very special holiday for children, and what I remember most about that evening was the joy I felt watching them sitting on the floor next to the Christmas tree, with their eyes sparkling from the wonder of this night and from the blinking tree lights that provided the only illumination in the room. It was an evening for remembering the true meaning of this holiday. And after the traditional Christmas stories had been read, my oldest daughter Theresa asked me to tell them a special story. Imbued with the warmth that so often comes with this holiday, I responded by speaking the first line of the story written in this book ("Many years ago there lived..."), and the rest came right from my heart.
The oral story I put to words the next day. It has undergone many revisions over the years. And it incorporates suggestions made by my mother, who had such great success as a short-story writer and who loved her children and grandchildren so deeply. It was not, however, until my daughter Theresa so lovingly illustrated my story, and surprised me with a small bound copy as a Christmas gift in 1986, that the characters truly came to life. In 1988, I printed a second edition for our family and friends. Now, Theresa has added many more pictures, and we decided to formally publish this particular story just in time for Christmas, 1994.
While no subsequent written story can quite duplicate the original telling, I nonetheless, dedicate this story to my six children, to my present and future grandchildren, and to the child in each of us who feels the true magic and meaning of Christmas.
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