One winter night in a big forest of pine trees, two woodcutters① were walking home. It was very, very cold and there was snow on the ground. The trees were cold, the birds were cold and the animals were cold. The rabbits stayed in their rabbit holes and the squirrels② stayed in the trees. But the two woodcutters continued their journey. They prayed to Saint Martin the protector of travelers and finally they saw the lights of their little village in the distance. They were very happy and laughed.
The Earth now seemed like a flower of silver and the moon seemed like a flower of gold. But soon they became sad again. "Why were we so happy?" asked one woodcutter. "Life is for rich people, not poor people like us. It is better if we die in the snow or if a wild animal eats us." Suddenly, something very strange happened. A very bright and beautiful star fell from the sky into the snow. "Look," said one of the woodcutters to his friend, "perhaps we will find a pot of gold. Let's go and see!" When they arrived they found a thing of gold on the white snow. But it wasn't the treasure they wanted. It was a golden cloak③ with golden stars on it. They opened the cloak and inside they saw a little baby, sleeping. Round the baby's neck was a chain④ of amber. "This is not good," said one of them. "Let's leave the baby here. We have too many children and not enough money to buy food. I don't want another child." "But we can't leave this little baby here alone." said the other woodcutter. "He will surely die. I will take him home with me. We have many children and not enough food, but my wife will look after him." And the good woodcutter took the baby in his arms and continued his journey home.
When they arrived at their village the first woodcutter said, "You have the
child so you must give me the cloak of gold."
But his friend answered, "No, this cloak is not yours or mine. It is the
baby's cloak. It must stay with him."
The woodcutter's wife was very happy to see her husband. She put her
arms round him and kissed him.
"I found something in the forest and I brought it home for you," he said.
"Good, what is it? We are very poor and we need many things." But she
was very angry when she saw the baby. "We have too many children already
and not enough money to buy food. I don't want another child," she said. But
then she looked at the baby and her heart was full of pity.
"He is a Star-Child," said her husband. "We must love him." So the
woman put the baby in a little bed to sleep. She put the cloak and the chain
into a chest. "Yes, we will love him," she answered.
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