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 MOTTO FOR THE MOTHER Oh! like a wreath, let Christmas mirth
To-day encircle all the earth,
And the nations with the love
That Jesus brought from heaven above.
It was almost Christmas time when one of the white ships that sail across the sea brought a little German girl named Gretchen, with her father and mother, to find a new home in our dear land.
Gretchen knew all about Christmas. She had heard the story of the loving Christ Child over and over, and in her home in Germany she had kept His birthday and enjoyed it ever since she could remember.
Every year, a little before Christmas, her shoes had been placed in the garden for Rupert, who is one of Santa Claus's German helpers, to fill, and every year she had found a Christmas tree lighted for her on Christmas Day. She wondered a little, as she came across the ocean, how she would keep Christmas in the new country; and she wondered still more, when they reached a great city, and had their "boxes" carried up so many stairs to a little room in a boarding-house.
Gretchen's mother did not like boarding-houses—no, indeed!—and their first thought was to find a place where they might feel at home; but the very next morning after their long journey the dear father was too ill to lift his head from the pillow, and Gretchen and her mother were very sad for many days. Up so high in a boarding-house is not pleasant (even if you do seem nearer the stars) when somebody you love is sick; and then, too, Gretchen began to think that Santa Claus and Rupert had forgotten her; for when she set her two little wooden shoes outside the door, they were never filled with goodies, and people over them and scolded.
The tears would roll down Gretchen's fat, cheeks, and fall into the empty shoes, and she that the people in America did not keep Christmas, and wished she was in her own Germany again. One day, however, a good woman in the house felt sorry for the lonely little German girl, who could speak no English, and she asked Gretchen's mother if Gretchen might go with her to see the beautiful stores. She was only a poor woman, and had no presents to give away; but she knew how to be kind to Gretchen, and she took her hand and smiled at her very often as they hurried along the crowded street.
It was the day before Christmas, and of people were moving here and there, and Gretchen was soon , and she was jostled and pushed until she was tired; but at last they stepped into a store which made her blue eyes open wide, for it was a toy store, and the most beautiful place she had ever seen. There were toys in that store that had come across the sea like Gretchen; there were lovely dolls from France, who were spending their first Christmas away from home; there were woolly sheep, fine painted soldiers, and dainty furniture, and a whole host of wonderful toys marked very carefully, "Made in Germany"; and even the Japanese, from their island in the great ocean, had sent their funny slant-eyed dolls to help us keep Christmas.
Oh! it was splendid to be in the toyshop the day before Christmas! All the tin soldiers stood up so straight and tall, looking as if they were just ready to march when the big drums and the little drums, which hung over their heads, should call them.
The rocking horses, which are always saddled, were waiting to away. The tops were anxious to spin, and the balls really rolled about sometimes, because it was so hard for them to keep still.
The fine lady dolls were dressed in their best. One of them was a princess, and wore a white satin dr............
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