was an unhappy little ferret. He wasn't unhappy because he
enough to eat. Every morning his food dish was filled almost
flowing and it never seemed to get empty no matter how much he ate.
always had plenty of clean , cool water to drink. Even occasional
to munch on.
wasn't because he didn't have a warm place to sleep. His
under the couch was dark and warm, just the way he liked it.
wasn't because he didn't have any toys to play with. His hidey-hole
was packed full
all sorts of treasures that he had carefully collected over the year he
had his squeaky toys, his ball, his shiny
his collection of socks, and lots and lots of other neat things.
even squeaking his favorite toy mouse didn't cheer him up.
sighed, his pink nose wiggling ever so slightly. He wearily put
head down on his white tipped, front paws, and sighed again.
it was because everyone around him was unhappy too.
little girl who always played with him and held him and gave him
tummy kisses, no longer came out of her bedroom to see him. Beret
sneak into her room when no one else was looking. He would climb
on her bed to see if she would play, but she didn't move. She just
with her eyes closed and with tubes in her arms going to bottles
beside the bed. She never even moved when Beret licked her
all over. That used to wake her up screaming and giggling, and then
would grab him and kiss him and rub his tummy until he flipped and
and twisted and danced. Now she felt hot when he touched her.
hadn't awakened in days.
he heard "Mom" and "Dad" talking in low voices. They were very
too. They talked about the doctor and whether they were wrong not
her in someplace called a "hospital". But Dad said that the
told them that they didn't really know what was wrong with her and that
couldn't do any more for her and that all they could do was wait and hope.
That was another confusing thing, this "Christmas". He would listen
the television and hear people talking about Christmas Trees and Christmas
and someone called "Santa Claus". Everyone spoke in such excited
happy voices about Christmas. "Just what was Christmas?" Beret
If he could find this Christmas maybe he'd feel happy again.
and Dad brought a tree into the house and put it in the living
They hung lots of colored lights on it that blinked and twinkled.
hung lots of colored balls on it that shimmered. The tree was beautiful.
decided that maybe what he needed to find Christmas was a Christmas
of his own. He found a branch from the tree that Dad had cut off.
it to his hidey-hole. Then he climbed into the big
tree and took some of the colored balls. He found some funny
sparkly things too and dragged them away. He even managed to
off an entire string of blinking lights, and he pulled and tugged them
his hidey-hole too. Even though they didn't blink anymore they were
he propped up his tree and hung his new-found treasures on the
needles. But it didn't make him feel any happier. "Maybe Christmas
a tree." The next evening was Christmas Eve. He went into the living
there were lots of presents wrapped up in colored paper under the tree.
looks just great!" Beret ran back to his hidey-hole and collected up all
and put them under his tree. He still didn't feel happy.
Christmas isn't presents. And if Santa Claus just brings more
that can't be Christmas either."
felt worse than ever. "Christmas isn't a Christmas Tree. Its
presents. Its not Santa Claus." Would he ever find out what
Later that night, after Mom and Dad were asleep, Beret slipped into
little girl's room. The room was dark and gloomy. There was
Tree here. There were no presents. Only the little girl quietly
in her bed. Beret felt sadder than ever. Then he had an idea.
ran back to his hidey-hole. He grabbed his tree and dragged it to
little girls room. He worked and worked and finally got it up on
he table by her bed. He worked and worked and got the lights plugged
they once again twinkled and blinked. Beret ran back to his hidey-hole
all of his carefully collected treasures and brought them, one at a time
to the bedroom and placed them under the little tree.
lights never twinkled and blinked so brightly. They made the once
room flash with colors - red, now blue, now green, now yellow, then
again. The treasures were piled high around the tree. Beret
deep inside. Not quite happiness, but it felt good.
slowly climbed up the bedspread and walked up to the little girl.
climbed up onto her pillow, then put his nose gently in her ear.
to lick her ear as his way of saying, "I love you."
in the middle of a lick, he thought he heard a soft giggle.
kept on licking and pretty soon he was sure it was a giggle. Then
"eeee!" Then a louder "Beret, you stop that right now!" The
hand came up and gently closed around Beret's middle. She gave him
tummy kisses and then rubbed his tummy. Beret was so happy that he
to "eeeek" and "ooook" and dance around the bed, jumping so high
so fast that he fell off and thumped loudly on the floor.
heard footsteps running down the hall. The door opened and Mom
Dad rushed into the room. Dad stopped when he saw the little tree
on the table and Beret's pile of treasures around it. "What's going
asked , sounding a little bewildered.
they both saw the little girl, now wide awake and smiling. They
over to her and hugged and kissed her. Then Mom seem to notice
tree for the first time. She looked very puzzled.
did that come from?" she began to ask, but then stopped and
yet another miracle that special night. She held her daughter
happy tears running down her cheeks.
silently left the room. He went to his now dark and very empty
Beret never felt happier. "Now I know what Christmas is all about.
isn't about Christmas Trees or presents or Santa Claus. Its about
and most of all, its about ..... love."