The Firebird: A Christmas Fantasy
On Christmas Eve I did not sleep, but stayed up late to watch. The moon was high and bright and one star shone low in the sky. At my window I watched them rise up from the black trees. But for the candle in the corner the room was softly dark.
A little breeze stirred the dry dead leaves outside, but nothing else moved. I watched the star shiver alone in the moonlight. I saw the moonlight playing in the treetops. I sat like this, alone, for a long, long time.
The candle burned low and dim. Halfway up the sky the lonely star chased the moon, and I knew that the night had grown older and deeper. The breeze died and the leaves outside my window fell still. I watched and waited.
At length I saw him coming, up through the shadows on the lawn. Slowly he came, bent beneath his heavy sack. A light of neither moon nor star was all about him and clung to him as he came. The candle in the corner grew suddenly bright.
The star peeped out through a window in a cloudbank behind which the moon had taken cover. He came and laid a hand upon the window sill. I faced him through the glass.
“Come out and follow me,” he said.
But I was afraid.
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