In the Night

Jan and Antje were in bed. Mother had tucked them in and had gone downstairs. It was raining and the wind howled. It was the kind of weather that made you feel happy to be in a cozy and warm bed.

"What did you ask from St. Nicholas?" asked Antje softly.

"I don't want to tell you," replied Jan. He had given the closed letter to his Dad who had mailed it for him. In his mind he saw the little puppy dog, a brown woollen bundle that would cuddle up to him or run after him on wobbly legs. He would teach it to do tricks. Did he deserve that kind of present? He was still doubtful. Antje didn't have to worry, Jan thought. May be because she was younger, or perhaps just because she was like that, but she was hardly ever naughty.

"You know what I don't like," Jan said.

"What?" asked Antje.

"December 5th is such a long time off!"

"May be we can put our shoes out," said Antje.

"That's an idea."

Both went downstairs, shoes in hand. Mother looked surprised

"In this weather St. Nicholas may not come by," she said.

"But what if he does?" Jan said. "Let's put in some hay or a carrot for the horse."

They found a carrot for each shoe which they put in front of the fireplace. And while Mother and Dad smiled at them, the children sang a song into the chimney, hoping that Saint or Pete up there would hear them and during the night drop something good into their shoes.

While Antje was already sound asleep, Jan was still wide awake, listening to the wind. He saw the yellow light of the street lanterns through an opening in the curtains and wondered if he could stay awake to see St. Nicholas on his horse pass by or Black Peter with the sack over his shoulder..... He could vaguely see the rooftop of the house across the street. Suddenly he saw something moving. Could that be Black Peter? His heart beat wildly. He began to hum a song to put himself at ease. - A few minutes later he was asleep.

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