The Animals Boxing Day StoryPosted by Suzanne, on December 26th, 2012

Here is a little tale in honor of Boxing Day – a day to think of those in need, and be generous.  This is a subject dear to my heart and this story can help generate that sense of the other in young children.  Enjoy

This tale is an excerpt from an upcoming book on

Early Childhood Puppetry – a curriculum guidebook

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                                                              felt animals

 

The Animals Boxing Day

by Suzanne Down

It had been a very dry year in the farm village of Deerwood.  When autumn harvest came there was a poor crop for all.  By first snow, there were no hidden grains of corn or old carrots left in the fields.  The farmers had sent out the children to find whatever they could find for their family food storage.  Mouse and rabbit, who lived by the cornfield, were hungry.  Try as they did to gather their winter food, there simply was nothing left.

By Christmas, the animal friends had no food to celebrate together.  And because they were hungry, they were cold when the winter wind blew.

At the farmhouse by the cornfield, Mother had made a Christmas soup from the onions and potatoes in the root cellar.  They gathered round their Christmas tree and ate their warm and nourishing dinner.  There was no turkey to eat this year, but he family was grateful for what they had.  Even the people in the village had little to eat.

After supper, they lit the candles on their tree, and one by one, with each candle lit, they spoke a wish.

Mother wished for a New Year of good farming and enough harvest left over to buy cloth to make new clothes for Ben and Sarah.

Father wished for healthy cows and oxen.  Then he added a wish that all animals survive the long winter this year.

Sarah wished for sleigh rides in the snow, for she was only four and loved the bells that jingled and sang out around the horse’s neck.

Ben was quiet for a long time.  He was nine years old and a thoughtful boy.  He was thinking about his father’s wish for the animals.  Ben had been watching the little mouse and rabbit that lived by the cornfield looking for food.  He knew they were hungry.

Then Ben said, ‘I wish I could help the mouse and rabbit in our cornfield have a good holiday meal.  As good as ours has been!’

Mother smiled.

‘I have an idea,’ she said, ‘tomorrow is Boxing Day, let’s make little paper boxes and fill them with some grain and bread and apple from our storage.  Ben, you and Sarah can leave them near their burroughs, with our Boxing Day blessings.  It can be the animals Boxing Day!

The next day Sarah helped Ben make boxes with strong brown paper.  ‘Let’s put something soft and warm inside them,’ she said.

Mother gave them bits of yarn and left over wool from the sheep to put in the boxes.  On top of that they filled the boxes with some corn and barley, and small crabapples.

Sarah added an old pair of wool mittens that were too small for her.  She put one in each box.  Now they were filled to the tippy top.

The children carried their gifts to the cornfield, now covered with snow.  Ben knew where the burrough doors were.

By the field mouse’s door they put down a box and sang out:

Mousey, mousey do not flee

By your door a gift to see,

Something warm, something sweet,

Something good for you to eat!

By rabbit’s door, they put down the other box and sang out:

Rabbit, rabbit do not flee,

By your door a gift to see,

Something warm, something sweet,

Something good for you to eat!

Then Ben and Sarah tiptoed away and hid behind a straw bale to watch.

By each little door there was a

Sniff, sniff

Sniff, sniff

‘What is this I smell?’

Mouse and rabbit peeked out and saw the brown and paper bundles, wondering what they could be.

Sniff sniff

Nibble nibble

Right through the brown paper.

Oh what treasures they found, enough to eat for a long time.  And oh soft warm nesting for their burroughs.  And what else is there?  A woolen sleeping bag for each one to curl up in.

Mouse and rabbit carried the gifts one grain at a time into their own homes.  At the end of the day the two friends visited and told each other of their good fortune.  They both decided it must be a miracle of the season.

Ben and Sarah went happily home to tell Mother and father about their Animal’s Boxing Day!

That night mouse and rabbit each curled up in their sleeping bag mittens, and slept warm and very cozy with happy full tummies.