Saint Nicholas The Origin of Santa Claus
LONG LONG AGO, in a City far away, there lived a homeless boy with no Father, or Mother, or Brothers, or Sisters. The boy was all alone in the world.
EARLY ON CHRISTMAS EVE, the boy walked the crowded streets of the City. It was early morning, and he was cold and hungry.
HE TURNED THE CORNER and saw Angus Pennypincher, the Greedy Grocer, selling fresh oranges and red apples, roasted nuts and chocolate candies. They looked and smelled delicious!
WHEN OLD MAN Pennypincher looked away, the boy stuffed oranges and apples and nuts and candies in his pockets, and ran down the street!
“STOP, THIEF!” cried Angus Pennypincher. “Catch him! That red-headed boy has stolen my goods!”
JUST THEN, the High Sheriff arrived, and the boy ran right into his arms. “That’s the one,” cried Pennypincher. “The red-haired boy! He is the thief! Arrest him!” The High Sheriff arrested him and threw him into the prison wagon.
SUDDENLY A TALL MAN appeared, dressed in red, with big black boots and a shepherd’s staff. He was Father John, the Bishop of the City!
THE BISHOP spoke sternly to the Greedy Grocer. “Angus
Pennypincher, I am sorry for your trouble, but this boy belongs to God.” He placed three gold coins in Angus
Pennypincher’s greedy hands.
THEN THE HIGH SHERIFF let the boy go free. “Come with me, my son,” said the Bishop. “It’s Christmas Eve!” He began walking toward the Great Cathedral, and the boy hurried after him.
“I AM FATHER JOHN, the Bishop of the City,” said the tall man. “What is your name, my young friend?”
“I am Nicholas,” said the red-haired boy.
FATHER JOHN asked, “And where do you live, Nicholas?”
“I am an orphan,” said Nicholas. “I have no home.”
“FEAR NOT, my son,” replied the Bishop. “You may come to live in the Great Cathedral. If you wish, you can work and study and grow up to serve God and the Church. Would you like that, Nicholas?”
“YES, I WOULD,” said Nicholas. “Thank you very much, Father John!”
So the homeless red-haired boy came to live in the Great Cathedral, where he was baptized and given his very own room behind the High Altar.
NICHOLAS WORKED in the Sacristy, polishing brass and silver. He swept and mopped the Narthex of the Great Cathedral.
HE WASHED the stained-glass windows. He greeted the people, rich and poor, who came to worship God.
IN THE CATHEDRAL services, Nicholas carried the brass processional cross.
IN TIME, Nicholas became a scholar and a priest. Nicholas was a very kind young man, and he never forgot the kindness shown to him by Father John.
NICHOLAS ENJOYED visiting people, and he cared for the poor. He gave them food and clothing. At night, he would often return silently to the poorest homes and leave fresh oranges, red apples, roasted nuts, and chocolate candies on doorsteps and windowsills.
GREAT SADNESS CAME to the Cathedral one day. Nicholas was away, visiting the poor. The beloved Bishop, Father John, was dying. He called the other bishops and priests to his bedside and said to them, “I have had a vision from God. The first person who comes through my door will be Bishop!”
THEY TURNED TOWARD the door of the Bishop’s bed chamber, and immediately Nicholas appeared before them. “Father John! Do not leave us!” cried Nicholas, with tears in his eyes.
“GOD’S SERVANT AND FRIEND has come!” said Father John. “Behold your Bishop!” Nicholas was very surprised and sad at the same time.
THE BISHOPS and people buried Father John in the Great Cathedral. The next day, they brought Nicholas to the High Altar and placed him in the Bishop’s Chair. Three bishops laid their hands on his head and consecrated Nicholas the Bishop of the City.
THE NEW BISHOP of the City was given beautiful vestments—a red cope and miter, big black boots, and a shepherd’s staff carved of the finest wood.
THEY ALSO GAVE Father Nicholas a white horse, which he named “North Star,” for the star that leads travelers home.
GOOD NICHOLAS was a kind and loving Bishop. Throughout the year, he rode his horse North Star to visit the churches and people.
AND EVERY NIGHT, Father Nicholas made secret visits to give fresh oranges, red apples, roasted nuts, chocolate candies, and gold coins to poor children.
WINTER NIGHTS were cold, and snow fell in great drifts, but Good Father Nicholas wore a heavy cloak and fur cap over his red vestments to keep safe and warm. His beard grew long and white, for his red hair had turned to the color of snow.
FOR MANY YEARS, Good Father Nicholas continued to give unexpected gifts. Soon his good work spread far beyond the borders of the City.
AT CHRISTMAS TIME, children everywhere began receiving fresh oranges and red apples, roasted nuts and chocolate candies, toys and cakes, gold coins and goodies.
THE VERGER of the Great Cathedral secretly helped Nicholas. He was a tiny old man with a long white beard.
HE GATHERED sacks from Weavers, toys from Carpenters, and cakes from Bakers in the City. Each night, the Verger loaded North Star with goodies for Father Nicholas to leave on doorsteps and windowsills without a sound or a whisper.
IN DIFFERENT PARTS of the world, Bishop Nicholas became known as “Father Christmas” and “Saint Nicholas” and “Santa Claus” and “Sinter Klaas” and “Pere Noel” and “Grandfather Frost”—and so he is known to this very Christmas Day!
The Origin of Santa Claus
St. Dunstan’s Press
136 E. Magnolia Ave.
Auburn AL 36830
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Story by John Wells Warren.
A Gaggle of Geese
ANIMALS AND THEIR FAMILIES by John Wells Warren
Copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved
What is a family of ants? An army of ants.
What is a family of bees? A hive of bees.
What is a famly of chickens? A flock of chickens.
What is a family of dogs? A pack of dogs.
What is a family of elephants? A parade of elephants.
What is a family of flies? A swarm of flies.
What is a family of geese? A gaggle of geese.
What is a family of hawks? A kettle of hawks.
What is a family of lions? A pride of lions.
What is a family of monkeys? A tribe of monkeys.
What is a family of owls? A stare of owls.
What is a family of penguins? A colony of penguins.
What is a family of quail? A covey of quail.
What is a family of rabbits? A warren of rabbits.
What is a family of squirrels? A scurry of squirrels.
What is a family of tigers? A streak of tigers.
What is a famly of whales? A pod of whales.
What is a family of zebras? A herd of zebra.