The Golden Key
Once upon a time, a long time ago, it was nearly Christmas Day. Snow lay deep on the ground.
A young boy called Adan lived with his mum and dad in a little log house near a dark forest. The house was very cold. The family was poor and they had no money left to buy firewood.
Adan’s mum was in bed with a nasty cold and his dad wasn’t very well, either. They hadn’t been able to work for some time.
“I’ll see if I can find some firewood in the forest, shall I?” asked Adan.
“It would really help us,” said his dad, “there isn’t much food in the house but take this to keep you going.” He handed Adan a big crust of bread.
The helpful boy went outside and got his old sledge. He thought he could pile some dry sticks and twigs on top and drag them back home.
He went all through the snow into the deep dark forest. Luckily, he found a dry place under a big tree and found lots of great firewood. He put it all on the sledge.
Then he started thinking about going home. He was very cold now and hungry, too.
He thought he would make a fire to warm himself up. He found some more twigs and made a little pile of them. Then he lit a match. Soon, a merry little fire was burning and he began to feel warmer.
He took out the crust of bread and was about to eat it. Then he heard a voice.
An old man with a long white beard stood there, wrapped in a blanket.
He said, “Can I sit by your fire to warm myself up, please?”
“Of course,” answered Adan, “it really is freezing, isn’t it?”
“You see, I was on my way to take Christmas presents to the children in the village and I saw your little fire,” said the old man, “I was getting a bit cold.”
“Lucky children,” said the boy, “but I hope they have a happy Christmas.”
“Are you hungry?” he asked the old man, “all I’ve got is this crust but you can have it if you like?”
The old man looked at him and gave him a lovely smile.
“That is very kind of you but I’m not hungry,” he said, “but look over there!”
As the old man pointed, the boy could see that under his blanket he was wearing a bright red suit of clothes.
Adan looked up and he could see a beautiful rainbow right nearby.
“Go to where the rainbow ends and look in the snow,” the old man said, “and you will find something good. It is a reward for your kindness.”
Adan got up and went over to the rainbow’s end. He dug down and found a golden key lying under the snow.
“If there is a key, there must be a lock somewhere nearby,” thought Adan.
He went back to his little fire under the tree and the old man had gone!
Then he thought he heard the merry sound of little bells jingling in the sky.
He looked up but there was nothing there.
Then he looked next to his fire and there was a beautiful little wooden box with his name on it!
He was so surprised and wondered how it had got there. Then he remembered the old man and how kind he had seemed.
He picked up the little wooden box and there was a keyhole. He put the key in, gave it a turn and there was a click.
Adan opened the lid and looked inside.
What do you think he found there?
Well, the first thing he saw was some red wrapping paper. And when he unwrapped it, there was a lovely wallet inside. He opened the wallet and two gold coins dropped into his hand.
He was so excited and couldn’t wait to show his mum and dad. He pulled his sledge back home as fast as he could.
When Adan showed the gold coins to his mum and dad they were just as excited.
That Christmas there was a roaring log fire burning in the fireplace and they had lots of delicious Christmas food to eat.
His mum and dad got well again soon and they were able to go back to work.
But they never forgot how Adan had given them the best Christmas ever.
And Adan never forgot the kind old man with the long white beard and the red suit.
Who do you think the kind old man was?
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