The James T. Callow Folklore Archive
My grandmother told me how the St. Nicholas legend began after
I told her I no longer believed in Santa. She said that moms and
dads aren't really lying to their children about Santa, that if you
have love in your heart you are Santa and that's what moms and dads
do. Originally, many, many years ago there was a kindly, wealthy
old gent, Nicholas. He had much wealth, but no children to whom to
distribute it. In his small village there were many poor families.
When he heard of a very lovely girl who could not marry her young
man because her parents had no dowry for her, he decided to help.
On the eve of Christ's birth, he approached the maiden's home.
Finding the window open, he tossed a bag full of coins into the
home. When the young maiden and her family discovered the small
bag, they used it as the girl's dowry. He saw what pleasure it had
brought the couple and the family and continued to help the poor
each Christmas Eve.
The townspeople found out who was doing such kind deeds and called
him Saint Nicholas (Santa Claus) from that day forward. Moms and
dads everywhere from then on assumed the role of Santa Claus with
She told me this story in such a loving way, that I was
prompted to tell my children the same story when they asked about
the "reality" of Santa Claus.
James Callow Keyword(s): RATIONALIZATION
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PROSE NARRATIVE -- Religious hero
Date learned: 00001960S