The Louisa Alcott Reader for Children
A Christmas Dream, And How It Came True
"I'm so tired of Christmas I wish there never would be another one!" exclaimed a
discontented-looking little girl, as she sat idly watching her mother arrange a pile of gifts
two days before they were to be given.
"Why, Effie, what a dreadful thing to say! You are as bad as old Scrooge; and I'm afraid
something will happen to you, as it did to him, if you don't care for dear Christmas,"
answered mamma, almost dropping the silver horn she was filling with delicious candies.
"Who was Scrooge? What happened to him?" asked Effie, with a glimmer of interest in
her listless face, as she picked out the sourest lemon-drop she could find; for nothing
sweet suited her just then.
"He was one of Dickens's best people, and you can read the charming story some day. He
hated Christmas until a strange dream showed him how dear and beautiful it was, and
made a better man of him."
"I shall read it; for I like dreams, and have a great many curious ones myself. But they
don't keep me from being tired of Christmas," said Effie, poking discontentedly among
the sweeties for something worth eating.
"Why are you tired of what should be the happiest time of all the year?" asked mamma,
"Perhaps I shouldn't be if I had something new. But it is always the same, and there isn't
any more surprise about it. I always find heaps of goodies in my stocking. Don't like
some of them, and soon get tired of those I do like. We always have a great dinner, and I
eat too much, and feel ill next day. Then there is a Christmas tree somewhere, with a doll
on top, or a stupid old Santa Claus, and children dancing and screaming over bonbons
and toys that break, and shiny things that are of no use. Really, mamma, I've had so many
Christmases all alike that I don't think I can bear another one." And Effie laid herself flat
on the sofa, as if the mere idea was too much for her.
Her mother laughed at her despair, but was sorry to see her little girl so discontented,
when she had everything to make her happy, and had known but ten Christmas days.
"Suppose we don't give you any presents at all,--how would that suit you?" asked
mamma, anxious to please her spoiled child.
"I should like one large and splendid one, and one dear little one, to remember some very
nice person by," said Effie, who was a fanciful little body, full of odd whims and notions,
which her friends loved to gratify, regardless of time, trouble, or money; for she was the
last of three little girls, and very dear to all the family.
"Well, my darling, I will see what I can do to please you, and not say a word until all is
ready. If I could only get a new idea to start with!" And mamma went on tying up her