"What is this talking I hear?" snapped the evil general. All the soldiers
saluted and all was quiet. But no tinsel glistened, no garland swayed,
and no ball hung from any branch. The soldiers' quarters were
deserted, and the general lived in a big fancy place, away from the
soldiers' unkempt place.
Each soldier got in line. On a higher stool, the general would scoop
something into a dish and hand it down to the soldier waiting there.
When his dish was handed back, he had his eyes closed, hoping for a
mouthwatering steak with mashed potatoes and gravy, but it always
turned out to be lumpy gruel or stale biscuits.
That night, the same thing
happened. Every unhappy soldier
got lumpy gruel. They each
stirred their gruel three times, and
made a face, then repeated it.
Then they took a spoonful and
sniffed it, waving the smell
After that, they held
their noses as they took a big bite.
They coughed and choked and
gulped rusty water to help take
away the taste. The soldiers were
The next day was Christmas
Eve. Had there ever been such
bustling and such noise! The
sounds of wrapping, the shouts
of no tape--it was so busy and
"Santa Claus is going to come!"
cried Susie happily, "and Jesus
was born on Christmas Day!"
"Very good, Susie," said Mrs.
Smith. "I'm proud of you!" Susie
smiled with glee. How exciting!