January 15th, 2021

The Christmas mail


By AUSTIN FENNELL on December 5, 2020.

Ola, a Norwegian lad, was very proud of his father, who was a postman. In the summer, his route was easy as he walked from farm to farm. In the winter it was much more challenging. Even with the help of Blackie, their horse, he had to use skis. Ola would like to grow up to be like his father.
It was just about Christmas time. His mother and sister were busy baking up delicious food. Ola’s task was to go out to find a Christmas tree in the forest. He found a perfect tree, round and about the same height as himself. He laid it in on his little sledge and started for home. As he drew near their house, he saw his sister, Marit, come running out to meet him. “Ola! Ola! Father has been hurt. He has broken his leg.”
Inside the house he found his father lying on a bed.
His father said to him, “Ola, you will have to deliver the mail. The mail must go through.” “Yes, father.” said the boy. “I will deliver the mail.” That night in his prayers, he prayed for the recovery of his father.
At 4 in the morning his mother called him. He ate his breakfast and then went out into the dark morning. He gave the horse some hay and then harnessed her, and they went off down the uneven path. They hurried past the farm houses where the lights were beginning to show.
“Good morning,” said the stationmaster. Ola explained what had happened to his father. “The mail will be ready in a quarter of an hour,” said the station master.
Children met him at the doors of the farm homes. At one home – that of a poor family – he delivered a registered letter from America. At first no one answered his knock nor the sleigh bells. Finally, Mrs. Norset came to the door. She took the letter in a greedy sort of way. It was from her daughter Elinor. She opened it and smiled. “Now,” she said, “we can pay the rent.”
They went on from farm to farm. Blackie stumbled once and the mail spilled out into the ditch. Soon it was picked up. Aunt Hanna fussed about Ola, and gave some oats to Blackie. Old mother Elin accepted a heavy parcel from her daughter in Oslo. When she opened it, there was ham, coffee, chocolate, dates and coloured candy.
At last they were headed home. Ola was tempted sit awhile but he knew that was too dangerous. He imagined that he heard his mother’s voice calling him, “Ola. Ola, hurry home.”
The table was laid now with wonderful baking prepared by his mother and Marit. Father was sitting on the couch and before they ate, he read the familiar Nativity story. The candles twinkled on the tree. Ola told them of his journey and they were thankful for his safe return.
Story from “The World’s Christmas” by Olive Wyon.

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