30 December 2004

Churching Day

"On the sixth day of Christmas
"My true love gave to me...
"...six geese a'laying
"five gold rings
"four calling birds
"three French hens
"two turtledoves
"and a partridge in a pear tree."
The titles that I'm giving to the Twelve Days of Christmas, BTW, are from a novel called The Thirteen Days of Christmas, a medieval tale about a wealthy man who gives his intended bride the twelve days of gifts (no, this isn't the sarcastic version in letters) to convince her he's not staid and unimaginative. The children in the Kitson family conspire with the suitor to get their bossy sister Annaple married off because they hate her cooking! It's very funny.

Another visit to the past today: A Louisa May Alcott Christmas, short stories from various 19th century magazines. This volume cheats a bit--two of the stories are Thanksgiving tales, but the merrymaking is Christmasy enough. (There's another volume, A Louisa May Alcott Christmas Treasury, which purports to contain "all Alcott's Christmas stories," but only about half of the stories and poems are duplicated between the two books.) Alcott Christmas was marketed as a children's book, but at least two of the stories are adult domestic dramas with Christmas framing. The cover makes it look too cute for words.

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