Poor Little House
Hurrying past all the other houses he soon reached the end of the street and went straight up to the window from which the light was streaming. It was a poor, little, low house, but the child cared not for that. The light seemed still to call him in. What do you suppose the light came from? Nothing but a tallow candle which had been placed in an old cup with a broken handle, in the window, as a glad token of Christmas eve. There was neither curtain nor shade to the little square window, and as the little child looked in he saw standing upon a small wooden table a branch of a Christmas tree. The room was plainly furnished, but was very clean. Near the fireplace sat a lovely faced mother with a little two-year old on her knee and an older child beside her. The two children were looking into their mother's face and listening to a story. She must have been telling them a Christmas story, I think. A few bright coals were burning in the fireplace, and all seemed light and warm within.
The little wanderer crept closer and closer to the window pane. So sweet seemed the mother's face, so loving seemed the little children, that at last he took courage and tapped gently, very gently, on the door. The mother stopped talking, the little children looked up. "What was that mother?" asked the little girl at her side. "I think it was someone tapping on the door," replied the mother. "Run as quickly as you can and open it, dear, for it is a bitter cold night to keep any one waiting in this storm." "Oh, mother, I think it was the bough of the tree tapping against the window pane," said the little girl, "Do please go on with our story." Again the little wanderer tapped upon the door. "My child, my child," exclaimed the mother rising, "That certainly was a rap on the door. Run quickly and open it. No one must be left out in the cold on our beautiful Christmas eve."
The child ran to the door and threw it wide open. The mother saw the ragged stranger standing without, cold and shivering, with bare head and almost bare feet. She held out both hands and drew him into the warm bright room. "Oh, you poor, dear child, come in as quickly as you can, and get warm! Where did you come from, and where are you going? Have you no home? Have you no mamma? Have you no Christmas to celebrate."