“Little Robin” is the heroine of Christmas Eve

It amazes how Louisa May Alcott’s children’s stories, written approximately 130 years ago, continue to strike a chord, reminding me of similar stories in my own life.

The second story from Christmas Tales and Stories (edited by Laura Ciolkowski), “Little Robin,” instantly brought to mind the entertaining and slightly ridiculous Christmas Eve adventures that my dear sister’s husband and sons embarked on to secure the Christmas tree. But I digress.

The story of “Little Robin”

“Little Robin” concerns twelve year-old Bess, “a rosy, bright-eyed little girl who did errands for all the old ladies who lived in the village.” Bess was highly regarded for her dependability and affable nature. She was to play a key role in the lives of a brother and sister, Arty and Min.

Because their mother was busy trimming the church and their nurse was gossiping in the kitchen, Arty and Min managed to get into big trouble, all because they wanted to secure their own Christmas tree from the nearby woods for their dollies.

An ill-fated adventure

In the fading light of the chilly afternoon, the two children took off on their sled, hitching a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh. Landing near the woods, they ran in without any regard for the approaching evening, the chill in the air, the snow on the ground or the fact that their sled was now broken due to the ride.

Arty and Min found a lovely tree (after pulling up several from the ground, ouch!), and also found themselves hopelessly lost! Night fell, they had no fire, they grew sleepy, and things became desperate.

“Little Robin” to the rescue

Thanks to the watchful eyes of Bess, who noticed a stray mitten in the snow, a rescue was initiated. She found the children in the woods thanks to a lantern given to her by one of the old ladies she had just served. She covered the now-sleeping children with her cloak, said a quick prayer in despair for help, and found a live fire where the children could keep warm.

Leaving the children by the fire, Bess rushed back into town, finding the townspeople frantically looking for Arty and Min. Eventually they were led to the children who were rescued.

Arty and Min’s father (the town’s minister) dubbed Bess the “Little Robin” because she had covered the children with her cloak as a mother robin would cover her chicks.

Appropriately, Bess was gifted with, among other things, a new, red, cloak.

Family traditions

I smiled as I read this story, remembering the adventures of my brother-in-law and his sons in their annual quest to secure a  tree on Christmas Eve. The family has 2 very charming old summer cottages in a small town outside of Fitchburg, MA, on 5 pristine acres of land overlooking Lake Winnekeag. The property is covered with trees.

Every Christmas Eve my brother-in-law and his sons drove up to the camp from home (a 90 minute trip one way) with the express purpose of climbing up one of the tall fir trees and cutting off the top for their Christmas tree.

Because these dear family members tended to push the edge of the envelope when it came to daring do, there were numerous horrendous and humorous stories of falling out of trees, falling into frozen creeks, nearly freezing to death, etc. It helps that my brother-in-law is a master storyteller!

They certainly could have used a “Little Robin” like Bess around on many of those occasions!

What’s your story?

What is your tradition with the Christmas tree? Ours is dull (we buy the tree the week before, very uneventful) – this is why we always tell my brother-in-law’s stories! 🙂

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Susan’s ebook, “Game Changer” is now available From the Garret – download for free!


Are you passionate about Louisa May Alcott too?
Send an email to louisamayalcottismypassion@gmail.com
to subscribe, and never miss a post!
Facebook Louisa May Alcott is My Passion
More About Louisa on Twitter

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