Christmas was around the corner. The snow was beginning to fall and the decorations were going up in the neighborhood. Even the staff at Laughlin Manor seemed to be working hard to get their decorations on time, though the people in the town had no idea why this was.
Heartless Mr. Laughlin never had done anything good and many people had never before seen the manor being decorated for the festive season before. The Christmas tree in the yard was being decorated and three stars hung from a clamp in the balconies overlooking the street. On enquiry however, it became known that there were only the servants in the manor and they were doing it to give the manor a festive look.
“Ah, that explains it. Laughlin would never approve of it if he knew. He’s an old scrooge, wouldn’t want a penny going into Christmas”, said many a voice when they heard. Entering the town gift shop, the maidservants looked exhausted. They weren’t expecting Mr. Laughlin back before New Year’s apparently so they were working to make the manor very nice looking for at least that one year.
Ribbons were sought and they hurried off to do their decorations. Fate however decided to play its own hand, for Laughlin had missed his flight and was on his way back to the manor. Three blocks from the manor, however, his limo had engine trouble and impatient as he was, Laughlin decided to walk the remaining distance.
“It’s this dreaded season”, he thought as he walked quickly, his hands in his jacket pockets,” always giving me unwanted expense.” A few coins fell from his pocket, but the sound of their fall was unheard by him in the wind. Nearing his home, he felt in his pocket and noticed the coins missing. Cursing under his breath, he stopped.
Turning around, he saw there was a little girl behind him, shivering. He bent down and asked her what she wanted. “I don’t want anything, sir, but you dropped these”, she said and held out her palm. Laughlin saw his coins there, and thanking her took them. As the girl walked back, he followed her silently. He watched, as she received a hiding from her parents for returning the money. He walked back to the manor. The servants were still decorating but he walked past them without objecting. Christmas morning dawned and he was ready. A bag in his hand, he walked to the girl’s shack. She hadn’t woken up but he left the bag there with a note and walked back.
“You gave me back a few coins when you could have kept them. Your need was greater. I’ve been a scrooge all my life, but you showed me the joy of giving, of being charitable. In this bag, there are gifts for your family and some money. I’m a changed person now. Merry Christmas… Thank you, little one.”