Story type: Literature
Billy and Betty had the beautiful plan about having a Christmas tree in the barn. They were spending the winter with father and mother on Uncle William’s big farm, and they loved every one of the barn creatures very much indeed.
There were the hens who gave them such fine fresh eggs, and Shep, the dog, who kept the lambs safe on the hill in the summer time. There was Bessie, Uncle William’s horse, who took them for picnic rides and to church. There was Peter, the barn cat, who kept the mice away from the vegetables and grain that was stored in the barn.
“They are all so kind to us, and they ought to have a Christmas, Billy,” Betty said.
“We will go right out in the woods and cut them a Christmas tree,” Billy said.
They found a little spruce tree that was so small they could cut it easily, and they dragged it to the barn on their sled. Uncle William gave them a green wooden pail that they filled with sand to hold the animals’ Christmas tree, and they stood it in the middle of the barn floor. It was such fun trimming it!
Betty picked bright red berries in the woods and fastened them with pins to the ends of the branches, and Billy made some little scarlet wreaths to hang on them. He strung cranberries on some fine wire and fastened it in a circle to make these wreaths. Then they cut snowflakes from white paper and fastened them to the twigs, just as if they had fallen there from the sky.
But hanging the animals’ Christmas presents on their tree was the most fun of all.
Betty cut some little Christmas stockings from tarlatan, seamed them with red worsted, and filled them with yellow corn for the hens. She tied lumps of sugar with red ribbon and hung apples on, too, for Bessie. Shep had two juicy marrow bones tied with big red bows, but neither Billy nor Betty could decide what Peter, the barn cat, would like for a Christmas present. There did not seem to be anything that Peter really needed, for he had two collars, and three balls, and all the milk he could drink.
They had not decided what to give Peter on Christmas morning, and it seemed too bad, for when Billy and Betty went out to the barn each creature seemed to be enjoying the tree very much. The hens were clucking, Bessie was neighing, and Shep was walking round and round the tree, smelling of his bones. And there sat Peter, right under the tree, and looking up into its green branches.
“Poor Peter!” Betty said, “with no Christmas present.”
But just then Peter jumped right up into the Christmas tree in the barn and came down with a little gray mouse in his mouth! The mouse had been nibbling the corn in the Christmas stockings, but Peter thought it was his Christmas gift. So the tree was quite perfect, and all the barn enjoyed it very much indeed.