Legend of the Christmas Stocking, retold by Lin Donn
Once upon a time, a long time ago, a poor man was worried his three daughters would never find husbands. He had no dowry to give them. Things are very different today, but a long time ago that was the was the custom, to give the husband something of value, a cow perhaps. The poor man had nothing to give. Some men in his village had offered to marry the girls even though they had no dowry. He knew what that meant. His girls would be looked down upon by some of the villagers. That simply was not how things were done.
The poor man slumped dismally outside his cottage. Christmas Eve and nothing to give his beloved daughters. No dowry, no good man to love. They were such kind girls, he mumbled.
Some say it was St. Nick who heard the man mumbling. Others say it was a complete stranger. Still others are sure it was the man who soon after married the eldest daughter.
All that is known is on Christmas Eve someone quietly entered the poor man's cottage, while everyone was asleep. He found the girls' stockings hanging by the fireplace to dry. A perfect place he thought to himself. He quietly filled the stockings with coins. Just as quietly, he went away.
The next morning, when the girls found their stockings filled with coins, they were so happy. All their problems had been solved by someone good and kind and generous.
Ever since, people have hung their stockings by the fireplace during the Christmas season in the hopes that they too might find a surprise tucked away inside on Christmas morning. Stranger things have happened, especially at Christmas, the season of giving.