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The Magical Elf Garden - An Advent Story for Young Children

The Magical Elf Garden

by Suzanne Down


It was December, snow lay deep and crisp all over the land. Finn, who was 8 years old, and his little brother Timmy, had been sledding on the hill behind the big red barn.  Whoooosh, whooosh, they flew down the hill on their sled.  Then up and up they pulled the old red toboggan until they were at the top of the hill, ready to fly... whoooosh, whooooosh, down the hill again.

Both boys had very rosy cheeks and cold toes, when Mama brought them a big thermos of hot cocoa to warm them up. 'Come into the barn where it is warmer and drink your cocoa and warm your toes by the little wood stove,' she said to them. So they sat on old blankets spread over hay bales and drank til their feet were happy and warm.

'It is time to come inside for supper boys,' said Mama, 'Timmy, come with me, and Finn, go get the sled and put it away for the night'.

 When they came out of the barn, the sun was already setting. Finn climbed the hill to get the sled.  But before he slid down the hill to the barn, he saw in the distance, through the bare trees, a lot of twinkling lights.

 'I wonder what that could be,' Finn thought, and he decided to sled down the other side of the hill toward the lights, and away from the barn and house.

Whoooooosh, he sped silent and swift down the hill.  As he got to the bottom of the hill, he leaned his sled against a tree and quietly walked closer to the lights.  He hid himself behind a large pine tree and peeked through the branches. There, in a circle of trees, was a gathering of elves! 

 They were dancing around a spiral path of boughs that was lit with candles all along the path.  They were singing and having a wonderful time.

 'Why this is just like my school's spiral garden,' Finn whispered to himself! 'But this is one for elves!'

 He watched as one by one the elves, carrying a small unlit candle, danced along the candlelit path to the very center of the spiral where a particularly large and lovely candle was used to light their own smaller candles.  Everything was very much smaller than his school's advent spiral celebration.  This one was elf size!

 Suddenly Finn could not help himself, he sneezed!  ‘Achooo Achooo!’

 The elves stopped singing and dancing and quickly hid themselves.

 Finn slowly stepped out from his hiding place and called to them. 'Don't be afraid, I am a friend.'  Then he sat down in the snow and started to sing a song he knew from his school's advent spiral.

 'Over stars is Mary wandering, In her mantle's flowing folds…’

 An elderly elf with a long white beard and tall red cap bravely came closer.  'I know that song too,' said the elf to Finn.  Then he hopped right onto Finn's knee and started singing with him!

'Over stars is Mary wandering, In her mantle's flowing folds…’

 They sang out with gusto!

Slowly, slowly, all the other elves came closer and closer and soon everyone was singing together.  The candles shone out and the stars came out and twinkled brightly.

Finn smiled, as he had never before heard such a heavenly singing. Then he remembered!  'Oh, I must get home,' he said!  ‘My Mama will be wondering where I am!'

 All the elves waved goodbye and watched Finn gather his sled and climb up, up, up the hill.

 From the very top Finn could see far and wide in all directions. He saw the red barn, and beyond that his house with lights in the windows, looking cozy and familiar.

 Then he turned to have another look at the elves twinkling candle light, but there was not a single light to be seen. It was all as dark as the darkest night. He stood and listened for a long time. It was silent, a silent night indeed.

 Finn turned and rode his sled down the hill toward the barn. He never again saw the elves magic, but he had a story to tell his Mama and Timmy!  And what a wonderful story it was. 


This tale is from our Christmas Tales for Young Children Resource Story Book. Click here to learn more about it!


painting by Debra LePage