Christmas Every Day – Pre-Intermediate English Version
The little girl came into her father’s study, as she always did Saturday morning before breakfast, and asked for a story. He tried to say no that morning, for he was very busy, but she would not let him. So he began:
“Well, once there was a little pig…”
She stopped him at the word. She said she had heard so many little pig stories that she never wanted to hear another.
“Well, what kind of story shall I tell, then?”
“About Christmas. It’s getting to be the season.”
“Well!” Her father sat back in his chair. “Then I’ll tell you about the little girl that wanted it Christmas every day in the year. How would you like that?”
“Excellent!” said the little girl, and climbed up and sat on his knee, ready for listening.
“Very well, then, this little pig… Oh, what are you hitting me for?”
“Because you said little pig and not little girl.”
“I should like to know what’s the difference between a little pig and a little girl that wanted it Christmas every day!”
“Papa!” said the little girl in a way that said she might get angry. At this her father began to tell the story.
“Once upon a time there was a greedy little girl. She liked Christmas so much that she wanted it to be Christmas every day of the year. When she was old enough, she began to send postcards to the Christmas Fairy asking if it could be that way. But she never got an answer. After a while, the little girl found out that the Fairy would only answer letters, not postcards. So then the little girl began to send letters. And on December 24th, the very day before Christmas, she got a letter back from the Fairy. It said that she could have Christmas every day for a year, and then they would see about having it longer.
The little girl was already excited preparing for the old-fashioned Christmas that was coming the next day. So she decided not to tell anyone about the letter. She thought she would surprise everybody as her wish kept coming true.
She had a wonderful Christmas. She went to bed early, so as to let Santa Claus fill the Christmas stockings. In the morning she was up first and found hers filled with packages of candy and all kinds of small presents. She waited until the rest of the family was up. Then they all went quickly into the library to look at the large presents laid out on the table. There were books, dolls, games, toys, boxes of things for drawing, painting and writing, and more. And the big Christmas tree, lighted and standing in the middle.
She had a wonderful Christmas all day. She ate so much candy and nuts and fruit that she did not want any breakfast. For the rest of the morning, more presents were brought by people who could not come the night before. And she went out giving the presents she had bought for other people. She came home and ate turkey and cranberry for dinner, then had some christmas pudding. Then she went to her room and rested, and came back later crying with a sore stomach. The family had a light evening meal, and everybody went to bed early.
The little girl slept very heavily and very late, but at last the other children woke her. They were dancing around her bed with their stockings full of presents in their hands. “Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!” they all shouted.
“That’s silly! It was Christmas yesterday,” said the little girl sleepily.
Her brothers and sisters just laughed. “We know! But it’s Christmas again today. Come into the library and see.”
Then all at once it came to the little girl that the Fairy was keeping her promise. Her year of Christmases was beginning. She was still very sleepy, but she jumped out of bed and ran into the library. There it was again! Books, dolls, games, toys and so on.
There was the lighted Christmas tree, and the family picking out their presents. Her father looked like he couldn’t believe what was happening, and her mother looked ready to cry. “I’m sure I don’t know what I’m going to do with all these things,” said her mother. Her father said it seemed to him they had had something like this just the day before. But then he said that maybe it was just a dream. The little girl thought it the funniest thing. She ate so much candy she didn’t want any breakfast. In the morning she went round carrying presents to other people again. She came home and ate a big Christmas dinner. Then she went to her room and rested, and came back later crying with a sore stomach.
The next day, it was the same thing over again. People began to get angry. By the end of the week, so many people had lost their temper that you could pick up lost tempers anywhere. They were all over the ground. Even when people tried to get their good temper back they usually got somebody else’s, and it made the most terrible mix.
The little girl began to get frightened, and decided not to tell anyone about her letter to the Fairy. She wanted to tell her mother, but she was scared to. And she did not think it was right to ask the Fairy to take back her wish; it seemed ungrateful. So it went on and on. It was Christmas on Valentines Day and Washington’s Birthday, just the same as any day. And it didn’t miss a day. Even the First of April, though that was a little better because things are always meant to be false on that day.
After a while turkeys got to be very difficult to buy, selling for about a thousand dollars each. They got to passing off almost anything for turkeys – even half-grown hummingbirds. And cranberry? Well, they asked a diamond each for a single cranberry. All the forests were cut down for Christmas trees. After a while they had to make Christmas trees out of pieces of cloth. But there were many of these. People got so poor from buying presents for one another that they couldn’t get any new clothes. They just wore their old ones until they fell to pieces.
Things got so bad that many people had to leave their houses. The only happy people were those who made candy, and the store owners, and the book sellers. And they all got so rich and felt so important that they did not want to help people when they came to buy. It was terrible!
Every morning the little girl would would sit down and cry. She could not stand to see those ugly, over-full stockings hanging from the fireplace. And she hated the presents all over the library table. After six months, she was so tired of it that she couldn’t even cry anymore.
And now it was on Independence Day! Every boy in the United States soon found out that his July Fourth fireworks were candy painted to look like fireworks. They were so mad. Every Fourth of July speech turned into a Christmas song. They could not even read the Declaration of Independence. Every time the speaker tried he would sing “God rest you merry gentlemen.” People were beginning to get really scared.
By the beginning of October the little girl hated dolls so much that she would sit down on them whenever she found one. By November she just threw her presents across the room. And other people didn’t treat presents nicely anymore. They threw them over the fence or through the window. They no longer took great care to write “For dear Papa,” or “Mama ” or “Brother,” or “Sister,” on their cards. They would write, “Take it, you ugly old thing!” and then go and break the present against the front door.
Nearly everybody had built more rooms onto their houses to hold their presents. But pretty soon these were full, and then they used to leave them outside. Sometimes the police had to tell them to move their presents off the sidewalk so people didn’t have to walk on the road.
Just before Thanksgiving people found out who had caused all these Christmases. The little girl had felt so bad about what she had done that she talked about it in her sleep. After that nobody would play with her because her greediness had caused it. And then came Thanksgiving. She wanted them to go to church, and have turkey, and show they were thankful for what they had. But they said that all the turkeys had been eaten for her Christmas dinners. “We will see about being thankful”, they said, “if you can stop the Christmases”.
The very next day the little girl began sending letters to the Fairy to stop Christmases. But it didn’t do any good. Then she got to calling at her house. But the girl that came to the door always said, “Not at home,” or “Busy,” or something like that. So it went on till it came to the December 24th again. The little girl fell asleep, and when she woke up in the morning…”
“She found it was all nothing but a dream,” finished the little girl.
“No no no!” said her father. “It was all every bit true!”
“What did she find out, then?”‘
“Why, that it wasn’t Christmas at last. The Fairy had stopped Christmases, and there wasn’t ever going to be one anymore. Now it’s time for breakfast.”
The little girl held her father fast around the neck.
“You can’t go if you’re going to leave it like that!”
“How do you want it left?”
“Christmas once a year.”
“All right,” said her father, and he went on again.
“Well, with no Christmas ever again, there was the greatest happiness all over the country. People met together everywhere and kissed and cried with joy. Government workers went around and picked up all the candy and nuts and fruit. There was so much that they had to throw them into the river, which made the fish very sick. And across the whole United States there were big fires everywhere where the children were burning their presents. They had the greatest time!
The little girl went to thank the Fairy for stopping Christmas, but the Fairy said she was unhappy with the girl. She told the little girl that was being just as greedy as before and had better be careful. This made the little girl think it all over again. First she said she would be willing to have it Christmas about once in a thousand years. Then she said a hundred, and then she said ten. At last she got down to one. The Fairy agreed, saying that this was the good old way that had pleased people ever since Christmas began. This made the little girl so happy that she skipped the whole way home.”
“How will that do?” asked the father.
“Excellent!” said the little girl, but she hated to have the story end, and was quite sad about it. However, her mother put her head in at the door and asked her father:
“Are you never coming to breakfast? What have you been telling that child?”
“Oh, just a story with a lesson about life.”
The little girl caught him around the neck again.
“We know! Don’t you tell what, papa! Don’t you tell what!”