Published on Kindle! The Christmas Ladder

 LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, ASSORTED CATS, AND FELLOW MEMBERS OF PLANET EARTH (LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION)


I am a published author.

Since my dad was able to get the first copy, I am now allowed to share with you all the link to my first Kindle short story, The Christmas Ladder. (He had a nightmare a few days ago about me publishing and not telling him so he didn’t get to buy the first copy of my book.)

I hit publish last night and then stayed up half the night, watching Gilmore Girls and sort of buzzing. I did eventually fall asleep (sometime after one) and am thankful that it’s the weekend, so I don’t have to go to work and or do anything, really. Except put away my clean laundry. I must do that. And pet the cat. That is also required.


I would be ever so grateful, if you buy my story and enjoy it, if you would share it around with people you know. That would make me very happy.
*hugs*
~AnnieLou
Copyright 2017 by Annie Louise Twitchell

The Christmas Ladder

 The Christmas Ladder is a short story inspired by my own family history. The man pictured below is my great-great grandfather, Reverend W. Merton Snow, a good number of years after the events in the story.

Here are the three children mentioned: Louise, Miriam, and Kathleen. Louise was my own beloved great grandmother, who passed away this summer at the age of one hundred. I’m named after her.

I’d like to thank my various relations for assisting me with this story, for providing me with names and dates, and photographs. Stories are made for making connections, and I’ve made new connections in my own family in the two days I’ve been working on this project.
I would especially like to thank my (somehow) cousin Andrea (Tyler) Evangelist for sharing the story with the Twitchell family in the first place.
There wasn’t a photo taken, or at least, none that we have today, of the Christmas Ladder that Grandpa Merton Snow painted, and so I felt very inspired to paint my own. And a little bit like the children’s book, if you give an Annie an idea, pretty soon, she’ll ask for some paper and a pen to write another one down with. 
I had a lot of fun with this one, and I hope you enjoy it. 

***


The Christmas Ladder
Annie Louise Twitchell




The Reverend was tired. It was the sort of unhappy tired that ought never be felt around the holidays, especially not this most sacred of holidays, Christmas. The day dedicated to remembering when the Christ Child graced the earth with His presence.

It was the day before Christmas Eve in Danville, Quebec, where he lived with his wife and three little daughters. Zilpha would probably have a hot pot of coffee on the stove, and he savored the thought of the hot drink as he trudged through the newly fallen snow.

He pushed open the kitchen door and stomped the powder snow off his worn boots, sighing softly as the girls came running to greet him – Louise, the oldest, Miriam, and Kathleen. Sweet little Kathleen, struggling to keep up with the older girls, tottering around on her little legs. He took off his coat, shaking snow off, and hung it on a peg by the door before scooping Kathleen up in his arms. She giggled happily. “Papa!”

“Hello, Kathleen.” He ruffled her hair, smiling down at Louise. “Were you good girls today?

Miriam nodded eagerly, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “We made cookies with Mama, Papa! We made cookies to hang on the tree!”

Sorry for the inconvenience, I have removed most of the story due to slightly evil genius ideas which will be revealed sometime soon! (12-27-2016)




Photo Credits to the Original Photographers
Story Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
‘Christmas Ladder’ painting by Annie Louise Twitchell, 2016
This story is based on real people and real events, however, this presentation is the Author’s interpretation. 

Colored Wings

Hello lovely peoples! Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve made a post, it’s been super crazy busy. The things you need to know? 

  • I finished NaNoWriMo a day plus a few hours early! Tattoos and Tiaras is over 50,000 words and is currently sitting on the shelf, airing out.
  • My big brother is releasing a music video staring me and our sister in law and him, that’ll be out sometime next week. 
  • My throat and vocal cords ache from all the practicing we’ve been doing for it.
  • It’s winter time now! 
  • I hit a low spell after finishing NaNo, so I finished making and mailed over 130 paper butterflies for a friend’s wedding, and then I wrote a short story. Here it is!









Colored Wings
Annie Louise Twitchell


Sara Raymond:

It was my wedding day.

I got up and ran to the church, in just my pajamas and robe. I needed to know what color they were. I needed to know.

I needed to know.

I needed to know.

The words in my head pounded along with my running footsteps as I ran through deserted streets and up to the chapel. The doorknob rattled, loose in the setting, as I turned it and thrust open the heavy oak door.

The chapel was cool and musty. The scent of fresh summer flowers could do little to mask the centuries of cold stone and aging wood and ancient papers.

Everywhere in the chapel there was the flash of bright blue. I heaved a sigh of relief and sank to my knees, my lungs aching from running, but my heart relieved. The butterflies had spoken and my marriage would be long, happy, with many children. Though there would be struggles, they would not be enough to break us, my love and I. We would be tall and resolute like the distant blue mountains that the paper wings of the butterflies so closely resembled.

* * *

She wanted to scream, but knew it would do no good. She was trapped and if she screamed, the sound would echo around and around and around in the tiny time bubble she was in, growing slowly weaker and weaker, until after a few weeks it would finally fade out and she could be in silence again. Even speaking was a bit much, as she would hear whispers of the words for minutes afterwards. She had learned a long time ago, ever so long ago, that it was best to only say aloud what you did not mind hearing again and again.

Her fingers trembled like an old woman’s might, as she folded the butterfly. The squares of white paper that she used would appear each time an engagement was announced, and she would make the butterflies, changing the color of the paper to match the color she saw in their future. The ache of seeing  so much made her head throb and her heart burn. She struggled against it at first, tried to resist the urge to fold and crease the paper into the exquisite forms, but it was no good. There was no sleep until the butterflies were made. No peace until the chore was finished. Better to make them all, and quickly, and then go back to sleep and rest and emptiness.

She ought to be an old woman, by now. Surely. She knew it had been a long time, but her body held no mark of time. She was unable even to end her life. She had slipped up once and given herself a paper cut on the edge of the paper — it was black paper, that time, and sure enough the husband had died the following year — and then it was as if nothing had happened, and her skin was back to her usual pale coloring, unmarked.

Sometimes she could see girls come across the field, skittish like the birds that nested in and among the rows of corn and grains. They would bring their own, feeble attempts at the butterflies, and place them on under a tree near her prison. She had tried, at first, to call out to them, begging them to free her, but they never heard her and they always went away again, frightened of something that she could not see.

That, too, frightened her. What danger might there be, lurking in the woods around her prison, that she could neither see nor hear? Would it break open the sphere and eat her? She did not want to be eaten.

Eventually the tree grew old, died away, and fell. There was little left but a stump, and even now, the stump was old and moss covered, rotted low into the ground. A clump of woodland violets grew, nearly in the middle of the stump but a little to one side.

She could see, a little. She could see the girls who came to visit, but only as long as they were there. And she could see enough of their future to know what color the butterflies must be. Sometimes she wanted to change it, but she could not. She tried – and both bride and groom were dead the morning of the wedding.

She never dared to try again after that. Miserable, she went with what it must be, and left fate to its own devices.

* * *

Janice Nichols:

“Mother… Mother…” I sobbed, hearing her familiar footsteps echoing down the chapel walk towards me. I lifted my head from my hands and held out a single, black, butterfly.

She choked and dropped to her knees beside me. “Oh, angel…” She murmured, holding me close, her own hot tears dripping onto my head.

“Janice?” Tom’s voice asked fearfully. His eyes darted nervously as he came down the aisle towards us. “Janice, what’s wrong?”

“This…” I held the butterfly up to him.

He reached out and took it, his eyes betraying his confusion. “What’s this?”

“It’s fate… One of us, Tom… One of us will die…”

He took a step back, dropping the butterfly as if it was cursed. His eyes flew around the chapel again and I knew he saw them, now. The hundreds and thousands of black butterflies. Lining the pews, the piano, the grand organ. On the reverend’s pulpit.

Everywhere.

Everywhere.

A sea of black butterflies. Death, misery, unhappiness.

Tom shook his head. “I don’t understand, Janice. I don’t understand. It’s just a bunch of paper.”

“No! No, it’s not just that! You don’t understand, you didn’t grow up here! You don’t know what it means!”

“Janey, Janey… Breathe. Tell me what it means. Help me understand it.” His voice was calm and steady, the perfect reflection of the man I loved. “Tell me.”

“The butterfly child, Thomas…” My mother said in a harsh whisper. “You aren’t from around here, how could you be expected to know? The butterfly child tells us our destinies.”

“Destiny can be changed, you know that.” Thomas said flatly. “You’ve said as much before. Destiny is not set in stone.”

“Yes, Thomas, I’ve told you that… But this is death. This is death. One of you will die within the year.”

Thomas’s face went white and he stared at me in horror, then shook his head and set his jaw. “No. I don’t believe it. I didn’t come home from war to be killed by a paper butterfly.”He crouched again, scooping up the butterfly, crumpling it in his fist and hurling it away.

“Believe it, Thomas. The butterfly child is never wrong.”

“I’m not gonna sit here and watch you all suffer under some delusion of legend! It’s just a trick, someone is playing a trick on you! You’re all so superstitious that you believe it!”

“Thomas… Don’t you think we would change it if we could?” My mother was crying again now. “There is no changing it. The butterfly child is a Time Seeker. She knows. She knows, and there is nothing that can be done…”

Tom grabbed my arm, and drew me towards him. “Please, Janey… Please see that this isn’t the case… Please, Janey… I know you, I know you know better.”

“Tom… This has been going on for centuries… I left the butterfly at the Shrine last night, that’s all anyone can do to hope for different…”

“Shrine, what shrine? Show me.”

Mother shook her head quickly. “No! No man is allowed there. Women only. Brides, mothers. Mothers in law. But no men!”

“Oh, come on. Seriously? Look, you’re telling me that this means death. And now you’re telling me that I can’t go see what is making you think that?”

Mother nodded earnestly, and Tom let out a string of curses at her that made her cringe. “Thomas! You are in a church!”

“I’d sooner defile a church building with my words than the earth outside. God only knows enough lies are spewed in here every day, might as well have some honest, upfront ugliness instead.” He pulled me to my feet. “Show me the shrine, Janey. I’m not gonna sit here and do nothing, and I’m not gonna have my bride scared witless on our wedding day. I’ll show you that there’s nothing to fear.”

I stammered helplessly but finally I took a breath and led him through the village and out onto the narrow track that led to the Shrine.

“This doesn’t look like much,” he quipped, looking down at the rotten stump. My paper butterfly, a pale green, was perched on the stump, soaked from the dew. Dozens of rotting remains of other paper butterflies hung around, fallen or blown off the stump. Tom knelt and dug his hands into the soil, taking a deep breath. “You know, Janey, you can see God better out here than in that hell hole of a cold stone building.”

“Tom, please… I know your thoughts about it, but please… And even though you don’t like it, you needn’t disrespect it. It’s all the same God, the same story, just different ways of seeing Him. You can see Him better out here… but other people can see Him better in there. It doesn’t matter…”

Tom snorted and crumbled the dirt through his fingers before wiping his hand on his jeans and standing up. He went past the stump, and I yelled. “Tom! No, that’s not allowed!”

“What’s not– holy sh–!” He yelled, vanishing from sight, and another cry ripped from my throat before I stumbled past the stump after him.


* * *

“What?” The child said, looking up from her tiny nest of blankets. She blinked and stared at the invaders, trembling.

“Hey, hey… Hey…” The male person said softly, crouching down so he was more her size. He reached a hand towards her and she panicked, scrambling backwards and pulling the blanket up to cover herself. She stared at him, her eyes wide.

He smiled a little and stayed where he was, hand still out to her. “You make the butterflies, don’t you, little one?” She nodded breathlessly, and he echoed the movement. “Why did you make black ones today?”

She sniffled and rubbed her nose, sad and miserable. “I didn’t wanna…”

“I know, sweetheart. It’s okay.” He made a soft, comforting sound, like something that she remembered from a long, long, long time ago. She slowly crept towards him and rested her thin white hand in his big, rough, brown one. His eyes were bright and familiar as he searched her face, and she yanked her hand away, scurried back to her nest, and curled up under the blankets. She began to cry, great heaving sobs that echoed around and around the prison.

Then she was being lifted up, and carried, and then there only sound was her sobs and the wind – she remembered the wind – whistling in the treetops. She quieted and for a breathless moment there was silence, and then the two people, the male person and the female person, were yelling at each other in loud voices. The female person was scared, and the male person was angry. She didn’t want to be held by an angry person, so she squirmed, trying to get free. He just held her a little tighter and kept talking, and she whimpered softly. She didn’t understand what was going on. She just wanted to go home to her mother and be held.

And then there she was, in her mother’s arms.

* * *

Tom stared in horrified confusion as he brushed the blanket away to show me the little girl’s face, and all that was there was a huge pile of butterflies in every shade imaginable, and, I thought, maybe a few that weren’t.

“W-where did she go?” He whispered.

I started to reply but I was drowned out by the sound of the church bells, ringing loudly, summoning. Tom stared at me, then adjusted his hold on the bundle of butterflies and ran for the village. I followed, struggling to keep up with him.

“Janice! Janice!” My mother screamed, as soon as she saw me through the crowds gathered outside the church. “Everyone move and let Janice and Thomas through!”

The crowds parted after a moment, and Tom pushed me towards the church. My mother held out the crumpled butterfly that Tom had thrown away, and stared at me as it slowly changed color from black to pale green.

Tom stared for a moment, then slowly turned and walked away. The crowd parted wordlessly in front of him and he went across the street and stood, looking over the guardrail at the river below. Then he mumbled something and released two corners of the blanket, so the butterflies tumbled out and down towards the water.

A breeze swept up and lifted the butterflies, and as they blew away, I could have sworn they were moving independent of the wind. Tom watched in silence until they couldn’t be seen anymore, then slowly turned back towards me, and held his hand out. “Told ya it could be changed, Janey, if we really worked at it…” He gave me a crooked half smile as I slipped my hand in his, then he dragged me towards the church. “Come on, let’s get married before anything else comes up.”

Copyright December 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

NaNoWriMo Update (and Happy Thanksgiving!)

Making good progress! This is just a quick update because this week is crammed full for me. Yesterday I spent all morning sewing, was out all afternoon (we went to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – oh my stars), and wrote a thousand words or so when I got in. So I’m a bit behind my projected goal, but making good progress today. 
Wednesday and Thursday will be crazy for me – I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 12 people. I don’t know if I’ll get a lot of writing done. 
And then my youngest brother’s birthday party is this weekend. 

Oh, and I made a thing.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monarch

I like bugs.

And lots of other things, like arachnids and snakes and frogs and turtles and mice and voles and moles and birds and squirrels. (Shrews are horrible, mean little things, and chipmunks have fallen somewhat out of favor after I was removing one from the house and it sank its teeth into my thumb and wouldn’t let go.)

In a family of five boys and me, I was the one with the most interest in creepy crawlies. I threatened my oldest brother on more than one occasion, that I’d put a snake in his bed. I never did because I didn’t want the poor snake to get hurt.

When I was young and adorable (as opposed to being older and adorable), I had a bug box.

It was a clear plastic box about ten inches long and eight inches wide and eight inches tall, with a brown plastic lid that looked like a colander, with a little door in it for putting food and things through.

One summer I used it for snakes. Due to my brothers snake phobias, I had to keep it in the back corner of the yard, behind the biggest birch tree. That year, I was apparently attracting snakes, because every few days to couple weeks I’d have a new one to put in my box and let the old one go. I gave them leaves and bugs (grasshoppers mostly – I refused to feed crickets to anything because I liked their singing), and water in a milk jug lid. I had names for each of them – the pair I had for the longest was named Jack and Jill, because I found them at the bottom of our hill. One of them even shed its skin. I went out one morning intending to release it, and it was all white and not moving. I’d never had any of them die on me so I was a little freaked out, but I went inside and got Mom, and she came out and looked at it, and then it started wiggling and split its skin and slithered out. I have the skin in my nature collection up in the attic still.

I used my bug box for raising Monarch butterflies two years in a row. I’d go out and check the milkweed in the scrub at the back of the yard, and if I found a caterpillar, I would ‘vewy vewy cawefully’ pick the leave it was on, and take it to my bug box. I’d feed them milkweed leaves, and I’d clean out the box every couple of days and restock it with fresh milkweed leaves and flowers, and I’d watch them get bigger and bigger and bigger until one morning they’d be up on the underside of the lid, hanging upside and spinning themselves into a chrysalis. (I was very proud of myself for learning that word.)

And then they’d just sit there for a few days. That was okay, though, because I loved the colors of the chrysalis. Sort of a minty blue green, with lots of little gold dots. It was so cool that there was gold dots on something that was so temporary like that.

And then the chrysalis would start to get clear, and you could see a lot of black and orange, and then it would open and a very wet, miserable looking, bedraggled little butterfly would come out, its body all out of proportion and weird looking.

On of them, I actually got to watch hatch out and open up. I went out to check on it and it was just opening the chrysalis, so I went running inside and got Mom to come watch. I think we skipped lunch that day – told the boys to make it themselves or have peanut butter and jelly. We watched it for hours as its wings dried out, and it began moving around a bit. We put some flowers in the bug box and it liked those a lot. Butterflies have such weird tongues! We were very careful not to touch the butterflies – their wings are covered in very tiny scales and if you touch them, the scales come off, and that’s not good. It’s hard for them to fly.

If you look closely, you can see three chrysalises in the top right hand corner of the bug box. 

Do you have any idea how hard it can be to capture a butterfly on camera? Especially when you’re nine and can’t hold still from excitement?

Here’s hoping I brightened your November morning. 😊
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Photo credits to Twitchells Various

NaNoWriMo

So I missed my usual blog post last week… Oops. I was a little preoccupied, recovering from an injury and doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) planning like crazy. 

I decided. I’m sitting down and finally doing NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in the month of November, no big deal, right? Eh… Hopefully. I’m super excited about it though. I’m doing Tattoos and Tiaras for this year. I’ve been working on character development and story planning for a year.


Kailee Mae is, according to her not-at-all prejudiced father, the sweetest, cutest, most adorable little girl on the planet. Her father, James, is a heavily tattooed, very muscular, and generally all-around tough guy, who melts like butter when his little girl asks him to paint her toenails. 
Being a single parent isn’t easy, James writes on his blog when Kailee is a year old. But so far it’s been worth it. 


So I’ve been rather busy lately…



This is just a placeholder cover. I haven’t had a lot of time to invest in cover design.





Kailee Mae!




James is a blogger, book reviewer, and magazine writer. Also he drinks coffee. I might have to get a cup of coffee sometime, I’ve never had it.



Floor plans of an actual apartment that you can rent in Greenwich Village, which I’m using as a rough outline for James’s apartment.



My story takes place in New York City… so I’ve been doing a lot of research about New York City recently. 


Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Photos used – free stock photos from Pexel. 

Spinner of Secrets, Update Four

It’s really going to throw me for a loop if/when I redo the cover for this. I’m so used to this cover now…

With the ninth draft having 18,720 words, I’ve started sending it around to a handful of people for reading and editing help. One of my friends really enjoys editing so I emailed it to her, but I use Open Office for my word processor, and she uses Microsoft Word. Word doesn’t like to talk to Open Office and won’t open the document. I’ll have to get Dad to help me do the thing so it’ll work. (Because I don’t remember what the thing is.)
Also, I was emptying a laptop case that someone gave me a long time ago and I found an unopened, brand new, 16 GB flash drive. I guess I have another flash drive. Since my current one is 2 GB and the new one I got for Christmas (it’s a Minion) is 8 GB, this is a big upgrade. 
And in completely unrelated news, we have three horrible little beasties AKA The Kittens. 
Elli disapproves and has been spending a lot more time in my room because they aren’t allowed in there because that’s her space. 
Jester is the orange one. Poet is the black and white one. And Phantom is the muted calico. They’re Elli’s niece and nephews, but Elli is not impressed with being an auntie. 

Ever had a depressed cat? They’re a particular sort of creature. Elli was feeling depressed. So she came and found me and demanded snuggles and this was how she looked when we were done. That is a no-longer-depressed cat. 
Attack of the sleepies…

Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Love Lines, Part Three

Armee and James are probably one of my favorite character couples. They’re from Tattoos and Tiaras, a work in project that I’m in the research and development stage of. I have a few people who have been helping me out with character development and they, um, think James is pretty great and Armee is a sweetie. And I’m under orders to share the story as soon as possible please and thank you. So I guess I have beta readers for Tattoos and Tiaras. Now I just have to finish the first draft or something, you know, so there’s something to read. 

So here’s the quote that you gals wanted. ^^

Oh yeah, and happy Fourth!

Image credit to original artist
Quote credit to Annie Louise Twitchell
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

Spinner of Secrets Update One

This is the working cover for Spinner of Secrets. 
For those of you who don’t know, Spinner of Secrets is the Rumpelstiltskin short story I wrote for a writing prompt last May that quickly snowballed into a novella. I’m now on the seventh draft of editing, which is the furthest I have ever gotten with a story that’s more than 3,000 words long. Here’s my Facebook update from a few days ago:
I have been struggling with the name for my main character ever since I spoke with a friend in October and she said that I probably shouldn’t use the name Lacey, because there’s a Rumpelstiltskin retelling with that name already. Oh, great! What else am I supposed to do? That’s her name!
Well, I went with Aleya because I couldn’t come up with anything better at the time, but I wasn’t happy with it at all. I was complaining about it to another friend and she suggested looking it up in a foreign language. Well I tried that and all I was able to find (and my search skills might be lacking, but whatever) was that Lacey is Lacey, is Lacey. It’s just Lacey any which way.
So I was complaining about that to a third friend (this is what my friends have to deal with, be warned) and she suggested looking up the adjective lace or lacy. I found that lace in Italian is merlettato, and I thought about Merlette or something like that, but Letta jumped out and caught my eye. I went and looked up Letta, and found that the name means ‘truth’ or ‘truthful one’. 
Man, did I like that! It’s perfect! The name itself is a simple, common sounding name, which is what I wanted because this girl is not elegant, is not refined, is not any fancy or particularly special. And she gets tangled up in a lie that threatens her life and happiness, and it’s worse for her because she is a truthful girl by nature, and… Yeah. It was just grand. 
So, as of 9:21 am on June 7th, I am at 17,274 words. 
Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell
Image and design copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell

A Sheep’s Adventure

This short story I wrote when I was twelve. I submitted it in a Christmas Short Story contest and I won first place, which I was some excited about. The funny thing is, I wrote it before my family got sheep, and then I was reading it over after we’d had the sheep for a year or so – gosh, I’m good. In the story, Alexandria behaves just about like my Peanut Butter, who is staring out of the photograph below. (She wanted to know if I was going to put away my camera and give her some sweet feed.)





The adventures of Alexandra,

As told to Bartholomew the owl.


Hello. My name is Alexandra. My shepherd boy calls me Woolly. Can you imagine? I mean, there are at least six other sheep in the flock that are named Woolly! But anyway, where was I? Ah, yes! I was going to tell you about my adventure. My adventure, you say. What, didn’t you know that sheep can have adventures too? That is what I am going to tell you about.

Well, it was night and my shepherd and his boy were lying on their backs, watching a huge star. They were suddenly, well, I am not sure how to describe it. One moment all was peace and calm and quiet, then the sky exploded with light! 

There was this huge man with wings that were white like a dove’s, but bigger than an eagle’s. 

And the man said, “Fear not, for I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior named Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Then there was a lot more of these huge people, men and women, all with wings. They were singing “Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace good will toward men.”


Then they, well, disappeared. One moment they were there singing and then they were gone. Just gone! Then all the shepherds from the whole field came up and said, 

“Did you see that?” 

“WHAT were they?”

“Well, do we go to Bethlehem?” This last question came from my shepherd.

“I think we should, if this is the Savior we have waited for so long , as I think likely, seeing that angels of God Most High heralded his birth.” This was an old woman, whom everyone called Grandmother. (She was only my shepherd’s grandmother, but acted as everyone’s).


“But I think that it is strange that he did not come as a warrior.” This was Matthew, the oldest man present.

“Ah, but do you not know what Isaiah said over 6 hundred years ago, ‘A virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and will call his name Immanuel’? ”.

“Yes, Grandmother, but how do we know?”

“Well, I would think that when angels tell you, you might credit it. I will go to Bethlehem. Who will come with me?” 
“I will, Grandmother.” 

“And I!” The shepherds were all in agreement. All except Matthew, that is.

“But what of your flocks? You cannot expect to take them, surely.” 

“Ah, why not? If Messiah is lying in a manger, you can’t expect him to mind a few sheep.” This was Grandmother. 

“A few! A few! Grandmother, do you realize that there are 3 flocks here?”

“Yes Matthew, but I don’t think we should let this chance go by. I don’t think a manger is to be found but in a stable, and most stables will have a yard. We can put the sheep there. But we must hurry if we are going. Matthew, will you come?” 

“Yes, I guess.” 

“Good! No time to lose! We must go now.”


It was not far to Bethlehem, and we made good time on the roads. When we got to Bethlehem, we quickly found the stable. It was not hard to find: a wide beam of light from the star fell across the roof. Inside was dark except for the light of a single candle and a soft glow from the back wall of the stable. A soft voice sang a lullaby, and we heard the gentle sounds of animals bedded down for the night. Grandmother knocked on the door. 
“ I am coming, just a moment.” A big man opened the door. “What? Who are you?” I took this opportunity to introduce myself. I pushed forward and rubbed my head against his knee. 

“Oh! You are shepherds! Come in, if you can, we are a little crowded,” he said, scratching behind my ears. “Are you Jews?” 

“Yes, I am Matthew, of Bethlehem.”

“Joseph, of Nazareth, a carpenter. Whose sheep is this?”

My shepherd come up, “She’s mine, I hope she has not been a bother.”

“ No. What brings you here?”

“We have seen angels, and they told us to go to Bethlehem, where we would find a babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger”, said Grandmother.

“Yes, that would be here. Come in!” said Joseph. We went in, and saw a baby lying in the manger. The voice we had heard was that of his mother, Mary, who stood and lifted him out of the manger. 

She said “This is Immanuel, God with us. When you leave, tell all you meet, ‘ I have seen the Messiah! He was indeed born of a virgin, as God through Isaiah said.’ ” 

“We will, you may be sure of that!” said Grandmother “But you will want rest, and our sheep want tending. We will bid you farewell now!” 

“Goodbye!” said Mary and Joseph. “God be with you!”



Copyright 2016 by Annie Louise Twitchell