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4,251 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see this story every year at Christmastime, and every time I read it, it brings tears to my eyes. Enjoy!!

GIFT OF THE OLD ONE by Eunice Day, Washington, ME.

The young couple had made their usual hurried, pre-Christmas visit to
the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small
herd of goats. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the
huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm, and through the
years had become a talisman to the old man And his wife, and a
landmark in the countryside.

The old folks no longer showed their goats, for the years had taken
their toll, but they sold a little milk, and a few kids each year and
the goats were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at
day's end.

Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the
old folks. "Why do you not at least dispose of "The Old One?" She
is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had either
kids or milk from her. You should cut corners and save where you can.
Why do you keep her anyway?" The old man looked down as his worn
boot scuffed at the barn floor and his arm stole defensively about the
Old One's neck as he drew her to him and rubbed her gently behind the
ears. He replied softly, "We keep her because of love. Only because
of love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife
a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole
through the valley.

So it was, that because of the leave-taking, no one noticed the
insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw
the first spark fall. None but the "Old One."
In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry
flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and
despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced
to the barn to save their beloved goats. But the flames were roaring
now, and the blazing heat drove him back.

He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins
were left, and the old man and his wife. They thanked those who had
come to their aid, and the old man turned to his wife, resting her
white head upon his shoulders as he clumsily dried her tears with a
frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God
has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us, therefore,
climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times
of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God
that it has been spared."

And so, he took her by the hand and helped her up the snowy hill as he
brushed aside his own tears with the back of his hand. As they
stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they looked up
and gasped in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.
Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up
in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it
was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most boughs, a
crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere
mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. Suddenly, the old man
gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward.
There, beneath the tree, was their Christmas gift.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was
the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed
the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the goats through it.
Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up
the hill, stepping daintily through the snow. The kids were
frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at
the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as
they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The milkers pressed
uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to
safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the
faces of those she loved. Her body was brittle with years, but the
golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift....

Because of love, Only Because of love.

312 Posts
That is such a pretty story. It reminds me of my eldest doe that passed last year the only reason we kept her was because of love. This story made me cry while thinking of her.

265 Posts
So beautiful...thanks for sharing this; I will have to 'favorite' this thread so I can find it again later :) I remember seeing this on GW a couple of times...I don't get tired of reading stories like this!!

Premium Member
10,654 Posts
WOW, that was great. I have top say I called my Liz (the old one), and I loved her with everthing I had, and still do. Wow ok, now i have to go dry the face.
Thanks for sharing.
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