This story is part of my collection, A Fairy Tale Christmas, which was originally written in 2007 for my family.
Dedicated to my grandmother.
Long ago, there was a wealthy merchant, who had a loving wife, and two wonderful sons. As Christmas is a very busy time of year, the merchant was often gone for the day of Christ’s birth, and he was away from his family. Every year, he would send them wonderful things, diamond necklaces to his wife, and very rare and expensive toys for his children. Every year they missed him more than the joy they reaped from his beautiful gifts to them.
One year, the younger of his two sons became deathly ill, and the merchant was gone away on business that Christmas Eve. He received news of his son’s failing health, and tried his best to make it home, but as he made it half way through the journey, his horse died of the cold Jack Frost had brought that year.
Giving up all hope, the merchant fell to the ground, feeling defeated that he may not see his son alive again, and this made him very sad as he had been gone for over a month already. The merchant’s tears, freezing to his face with every drop shed from his eyes, looked up to the sky, and prayed:
“Oh Heavenly father,” he said to the storm, knowing God was somewhere on the other side of it, “Please let me find a way home, so that I can see my son for Christmas!”
Not even a moment later, and beautiful angel, with large gold wings and a Christmas wreath for a halo was at the merchant’s side and whispered in song in to his ear:
“Our Lord sends me to you, to give you strength and warmth,” sang the angel, and handed him a winter coat that looked like Father Christmas’, and a cup of hot chocolate to warm his blood.
The merchant thanked the angel, and now wearing the coat, and warmed by the beverage, he began to walk. On the merchant marched, toward where he knew was home. Thankful for God’s answered prayer he sang Christmas carols as he went. On he walked, closer to his village, but he was growing tired and weak from no rest as he hadn’t stopped once since seeing God’s angel. The merchant tripped and fell into a pile of thorny brush, which pierced both his eyes and blinded him.
Unable to see, the merchant again pointed his head upward and cried out in prayer: “Oh Heavenly father, please let me find sight so that I may find my way home to see my son!”
Again, less than a moment passed before an angel was at his side. This angel did not sing to him, though. Instead this angel held his arms, and guided him through the storm for a short journey before the merchant had heard the familiar voices of his wife and sons. He had, in truth, only been down the road from his home, and if he had looked in the right direction just before he had been blinded he could have seen inside his kitchen window.
The merchant embraced and kissed his wife and sons, and told them of his journey, and as he told them of the angel who had guided him in after his eyes had gone, his wife explained that it was no angel but she herself who had brought him in, after seeing him walk up the way.
“Then it was an angel,” said the merchant, who’s wife was now blushing though he couldn’t see it. As she kissed his cheek, he apologized for not bringing with him the usually grandiose gifts he sent, and the youngest son, who was still sick in bed spoke as he held his father’s hand.
“No gift is as good as you being here on Christmas, Father,” said the son.
As the night slipped in, the merchant gave the warm coat from the angel to his ill son, and let him drink from the chalice the angel had given him, telling him the story of his journey once more before he nodded into dreams. The youngest son had never asked the Lord to cure him, instead he asked only for his father’s return for Christmas, and in his dream he thanked the angel who had visited his father in helping him come home to answer both of their prayers.
After Father Christmas came in their sleep, the merchant and his wife and their oldest son rejoiced as the youngest awoke that morning, cured of his illness.