I don’t know how old this one is. Well, the story itself, Village Christmas, by Miss Read, has a date of 1972. It came as part of a pile of these tiny Penguins – by which I mean books, not birds – which were sitting on Mother-of-Witch’s bookshelves. Having missed these minute, short books I grabbed the whole lot when I left, and when I wanted something to read in the GP’s waiting room recently, I picked this one, because it was Christmassy.
It’s old-fashioned in that nice way us foreigners like. It’s Olde England. Or at least as olde as it got fifty years ago. Because there is one fact in this little story which proves it’s not ‘hundreds’ of years old. Someone wears clothes that would have been right at home in the late 1960s, even if they were rather out of place in this village. At least according to the sisters, Mary and Margaret.
Set in their ways, and very frugal, they are kind and polite, but fail to understand the world as it is today, by which I mean back then, fifty years ago. The younger woman who wears ‘the clothes’ is an outsider, lovely and friendly, but somewhat looked down on by the decent villagers.
This being a Christmas story, it’s quite obvious what must happen to this pregnant wearer of strange clothes. There has to be a Christmas baby.
I’ll leave you to it.