Posts Tagged ‘Saint Nicholas’
(This is a reprint of an article by Jane Bailey Bain, on her website. Jane is an author and anthropologist, currently teaching mythology in West London.)
In northern Europe, children put their shoes neatly by the door last night. If they have been good this year, St Nicholas fills them with sweets and toys; if not, they will find a lump of coal and a hard stick. For others, he will come on Christmas Eve, soaring through the night sky in a flying sledge. Many centuries ago Nicholas lived in Patara, in modern Anatolia. His father was a rich merchant and left a fortune to his only son. But why did he start leaving gifts in this way?…
… It had been a good night. The wine was sweet and the barmaids obliging. Nick staggered slightly as he stepped into the street. A full moon hung low above the rooftops. The cool air was welcomely refreshing. Nick waved away the servant who stood waiting and set off alone through the quiet streets.His way passed through a poorer part of town. He stumbled on the rough ground and bumped against a wall. As he steadied himself, he heard a girl’s voice from the window high above.
“That’s all I really want….” Without thinking, Nick paused to listen. What women really want: that would be good for a young man to know!
Another girl answered, speaking softly. “Three gold coins! Father will never find so much for each of us. And unless you have a dowry, his family will not let him marry you.”
A third voice chimed in. “There’s only one way for girls like us to make money.”
“And he would never want me after that…” The first voice dissolved in tears. Read the rest of this entry »