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The Robin’s Christmas Eve

December 23, 2021
by the gentle author

This extract is from ‘Aunt Louisa’s Keepsake’ published by Frederick Warne which was given to me by Libby Hall. The copy is inscribed ‘Christmas 1896’ inside the front cover.


‘Twas Christmas-time, a dreary night,

The snow fell thick and fast,

And o’er the country swept the wind,

A keen and wintry blast.



The Robin early went to bed,

Puffed up just like a ball,

He slept all night on one small leg,

Yet managed not to fall.


No food had touched his beak,

And not a chance had he

Of ever touching food again,

As far as he could see.



The stove had not burnt very low,

But still was warm and bright,

And round the spot whereon it stood,

Threw forth a cheerful light.


Now Robin from a corner hopped,

Within the fire’s light.

Shivering and cold, it was to him

A most enchanting sight.


But he is almost starved, poor bird!

Food he must have, or die,

Unless it seems, alas! for that

Within these walls to try.



Perhaps ‘t is thought by those who read

To doubtful to be true,

That just when they were wanted so

Some hand should bread crumbs strew.


But this is how it came to pass,

An ancient dame had said,

Her legacy unto the poor

Should all be spent on bread.


Enough there was for quite a feast,

Robin was glad to find.

The hungry fellow ate them all,

Nor left one crumb behind.


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11 Responses leave one →
  1. December 23, 2021


  2. Jill Wilson permalink
    December 23, 2021

    This is a charming tale which I will forward to my friend Caro who has a thing about robins and always has them on her Christmas cards every year.

  3. Mary permalink
    December 23, 2021

    How lovely to have a Victorian tale with a happy ending.
    When I was very young I wrote to Father Christmas and although he was so busy, he kindly replied and also sent me a story. It was The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen and sixty plus years later I still remember being inconsolable when I read it. Obviously, it was not the effect that Father Christmas intended!
    May I please take this opportunity to wish you, dear G.A., and all your followers worldwide, my best wishes for a happy Christmas and a healthy and peaceful 2022.

  4. December 23, 2021

    *** MERRY CHRISTMAS! ***
    *** JOYEUX NOËL! ***

    A very nice story. And I feel confirmed in my doing: I feed the wild birds all year round….

    Love & Peace

  5. Chris Webb permalink
    December 23, 2021

    Do robins really sleep standing on one leg?

  6. December 23, 2021

    GA, You are the gift that keeps on giving. You feed your entire flock every day, nourish us with stories, photos, images, lore — and enrich us with optimism and insight.

    Wishing you and everyone you love all the joys of the Season.
    And rumbly purrs to Mr. Shrodinger, from two furry kittens in the Hudson Valley.

    Stay safe, all.

  7. Linda Granfield permalink
    December 23, 2021

    Christmas wishes are coming to you, dear GA, from Toronto.

    Thank you for yet another year of interesting and entertaining first-thing-in-the-morning reads (here in N. America, anyway).

    Thank you for providing such wonderful visuals each day: watercolours, sepia-drenched prints, rich oil paintings by so many artists you have introduced to us, cigar/can/crate labels and matchbook covers, a cornucopia of jazzy art.

    Thank you for sharing Spitalfields, and yourself, with us every day.
    Please stay well, and have a very Merry Christmas!

  8. Ann V permalink
    December 23, 2021

    What a lovely little tale. My favourite Christmas book is ‘The Wise Robin’ by Noel Barr. My copy dates back to the early 1950s when I was very young, has been read many times and is well loved. Wishing you GA and your readers a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful and healthy 2022.

  9. December 23, 2021

    What lovely illustrations!

    Like Mary, I found Hans Christian Anderson’s Christmas stories devastating. I like the spirit of this little tale.

    Merry Christmas, and a safe and healthy New Year, G.A.
    You are the gift that goes on giving, day after day.


  10. gkbowood permalink
    December 23, 2021

    Amazing how well those colors have stood the test of time. Those “Oil colours” make this a very special Christmas Tale. Thank you and have a Happy Christmas and a Better New Year.

  11. Melissa permalink
    December 25, 2021

    Merry Christmas! Thank you for the gifts I find regularly in my inbox…hope you have a blessed new year!

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