Another great contribution from last month’s exercise.
You ask me why my life has been blessed with good fortune and why I treasure this simple old pine cone. Its a strange story and it happened when I was just six years old.
It was Christmas Eve and it had been snowing all day. I was put to bed at seven, but I was too excited to sleep. I kept looking at daddy’s big woollen sock on the end of my bed and imagining it full of toys. I must have dozed off because when I woke the sock was gone. I got up and was on my hands and knees searching for it when I saw damp, little footprints leading from the window to my bed and back again. I pulled back the curtain. The window was slightly open – my mother was a stickler for fresh air even in mid-winter. There, across the snow-covered lawn was a set of little footprints leading to the shrubbery.
Someone had stolen my stocking! Emboldened by the small size of the footprints I put on my dressing gown and slippers and pushed the window wide enough to climb out. I should mention that we were spending Christmas at my grandmother’s bungalow and the only hazard was a rather prickly rose bush. I followed the trail of footprints across the lawn, feeling the cold dampness soaking into my slippers. Round the shrubbery I went and there, standing, looking pleased with himself was a little elf with my sock on his head.
His eyes opened wide when he saw me, but being a child I felt no surprise. “Give me back my sock!” I demanded.
“Oh dear, oh dear, you aren’t meant to be able to see me.”
“You’re very naughty taking my sock!”
“But I’m a sock elf, taking socks is what I do. “
“To keep warm. Have you ever wondered why so many socks are without pairs?” I shook my head. “Nobody questions why it happens,” he said. “They just go out and buy more. No harm done eh?” He looked me hopefully.
“I want that sock. Father Christmas will be here soon to fill it with presents.”
The elf sighed. “It’s such a nice sock. So big and thick and warm.” Slowly he took it off his head and handed it to me.
I took pity on the elf. “I tell you what, when I have had my presents I will hang the sock out of the window for you.”
“Really?” His eyes lit up. “Thank you so much.” He flickered then disappeared, leaving me alone. I hurried back to the bungalow with the sock, put it on the end of my bed and fell asleep. When I woke early next morning it was bulging. I swiftly unpacked toys and sweets, then hung the empty sock out of the window.
By the time the rest of the family got up it was gone but in its place was this lucky pine cone. See? It has brought me good luck all my life. Proof that the sock elf really came and gave me a gift in return.