The Arrival

"I can see them," Jan called out excitedly, "I can see both of them!"

Antje couldn't see a thing. She was surrounded by big people, two ladies with shopping bags, a man with a boy on his shoulders, a girl with pigtails, and another girl, and a boy. Thousands of people, but where was mother? Because she was only a little girl, Antje saw nothing but coats, bags, legs, and shoes.

"He's waving!" Jan shouted.

He had found a peephole between all the legs and coats. But Antje saw nothing. They had waited an hour, and now she could only hear the music. She began to cry. A man looked down and saw her tears. Suddenly Antje felt herself being picked up. She landed on the man's shoulders and now both children could see everything very well: the big steamship slowly nearing the quay, the flags, the band playing familiar St. Nicholas tunes, and, of course, St. Nicholas" white horse, his black helper called "Black Peter", and .... St. Nicholas himself.

Jan and Antje sang along with the band as loud as they could, hoping St. Nicholas would hear them. Black Peter waved his beret and jumped up and down. Jan knew that Saint and Pete were bringing gifts for the good kids, but he also knew that he had not always been so good. He thought of his fights with Antje, of Mrs. Bruinsma's plants he had knocked over with his ball, of the candy he had snatched from grandma's cupboard, and he hadn't told Aunt Marie the truth yesterday. Would St. Nicholas know all that? Suddenly Jan got a shock. He cast his eyes down: St. Nicholas had looked straight at him, not cross or anything, but rather as if he knew everything. And then Jan was not so sure anymore that he would get that one special gift that he wanted so very, very much.

Home Page| The Arrival | The Letter | When Father Was Little | In the Night | At the Store | A Visit to St. Nicholas | The Visit | St. Nicholas Eve | The Farewell Song