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Abby's Korean Christmas
Abby learns that just like Christmas, charity can be found all over the world.
Janice Porter Hayes
I have been a freelance writer for seventeen years. I live in Utah with my husband and our four children.
|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (1)
Jesus Save Us (Genres) In the republics of the former Soviet Union, newly-found religious freedom, and the Savior's love, wait to save. [480 words] [Spiritual]
Abby's Korean Christmas
Janice Porter Hayes
Abby stepped heavily over the jagged Korean sidewalk. The icy wind pulled at her cap and ruffled her red hair. Even the tip of her freckled nose felt frozen and she covered it with a mittened hand. Up ahead, the street twisted and disappeared into a mass of ragged huts. Abby eyed the street cautiously, not wanting to go any closer.
"Come on," Abby's mother said beside her. She took Abby's arm and pulled her ahead. Abby's mother always seem to be in a hurry, especially around Christmas time. "We want to get this box delivered before Christmas is over. I can't carry both it and you, so try to keep up!"
Abby glanced at the box her mother carried. It was full of food and clothes for Mr. Han, a man who lived in one of the small houses. Mr. Han was old and Abby knew he didn't have much money.
"Mr Han is a fine man," Abby's mother had said earlier. "He's just getting old and needs help once in a while. And even a seven-year old like you can learn to help others."
Abby sighed and looked at her new mittens. They were a present from Aunt Virginia. Abby had received a lot of Christmas gifts this year, especially from all her friends and relatives back in America. They'd been sorry to see her move, especially so close to Christmas.
But Abby's family had to move a lot with her father's new business, so she was use to it. Still, Abby was glad her friends had not forgotten her. Now all she wanted was to get the package delivered so she could go home and see all her presents again.
"Okay," Abby's mother said as she stopped to put the box down. "The house we want should be somewhere in here."
Abby looked around. The streets were dark and lay covered with snow. Empty vegetable carts lay dismally on their sides and the ramshackle huts looked ready to topple over.
Suddenly, Abby grew afraid. "I don't like it here," she said. "It's cold and shabby and scarey. I want to go home."
Abby took her mother's arm. Then she noticed a small boy watching her from a corner of the street.
The boy stepped forward. "Anyounghasayo," he said slowly in Korean. His almond-shaped eyes were kind and he gave Abby a huge grin.
Abby hesitated. She wondered what the boy wanted. As cold wind blew up the street, Abby noticed how he shivered in his thin and tattered coat.
Maybe he wants money, Abby thought. She reached into her coat pocket and found four small coins. Abby's mother had said that sharing would make her happy, so stepping forward, she gave the coins to the Korean boy. "Merry Christmas," Abby said softly, wondering if he could understand her at all.
But before she could say anything more, the boy turned and ran away.
Abby felt confused and didn't feel very happy. "Why did he run away?" she said. "He didn't even try to thank me. I was being nice, and those were my last coins." Abby looked at her mother and wrinkled her brow. She still didn't understand.
Later, as the sun faded, Abby and her mother started home. They had delvered their gift to Mr. Han and Abby's mother was happy. Abby could hear her humming Christmas carols as they walked along.
Snow filled the night air. Abby shivered and walked faster. Then, someone tapped her on the shoulder.
Abby turned around. Through the swirling snow, she could see the same Korean boy standing close behind her.
Abby wasn't glad to see him again. But then he held a small mandaring orange out to her. He spoke softly in Korean and bowed gracefully.
Abby took the orange and looked into the boy's face. He smiled back, looking a lot like Abby's mother had looked when they'd given their box to Mr. Han. Abby realized that sharing had made both her mother and the boy happy.
Abby cradled the orange close to her. "Thank you," she said softly.
"Tank you?" the boy repeated slowly in English. They both giggled. The boy turned to leave.
"Thanks again!" Abby called after him. "It's a great gift!" But the boy was gone. Abby watched the snow softly cover his footprints. She looked at the orange resting in her hand.
"What a lovely Christmas present," her mother said as she put her arm around Abby's shoulders.
Abby nodded. "And he liked giving it to me," she said. "He looked a lot like you did when we gave our box to Mr. Han."
Her mother smiled. In the distance, Abby heard people singing. As they waited for their bus, Abby sang with them softly, "Silent Night, Holy Night."
And it really was a Holy Night, she thought. Not only because it was Christmas, but because on this night a poor boy from the streets of Korea had helped her remember what Christmas was really all about.
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"I found this story well-written and thoughtful. I spent much of my childhood in South Korea and I too learned that CHristmas and the Christmas spirit can be found in the most unusual places" -- Peni Cohen.
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© 2002 Janice Porter Hayes
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