“B-rrr-rrr! Why is it so cold today?” said Clever Hedgehog, opening his eyes as he woke up.
He got up out of bed, brushed his teeth, gobbled some nuts for breakfast, and was ready to set off to school. He opened the front door, stepped outside, and suddenly… he fell into a pile of cold, white stuff!
He had never seen anything like it before. But he couldn’t find anyone around he could ask about these flakes falling from the sky.
Then, Clever Hedgehog rushed back inside because he remembered reading something about this pile of white stuff in one of his books in his home library.
Yes! It was right there in his book called “A Hedgehog’s Winter”, saying, “When the weather becomes cold and trees shed leaves, WINTER comes!” It also explained, “Cold, white flakes that fall from the sky and make piles on the ground are called SNOW”.
He kept reading, and his eyes stopped on the page with colorful pictures of happy kids playing with new toys. He read: “In winter, on December 6, Ukrainian children celebrate SAINT NICHOLAS DAY when Saint Nicholas (Sviatyi Mykolai in Ukrainian) comes and puts a present under their pillows – if they were good during the year. Children who misbehave may expect to find a twig or a piece of coal under their pillows.”
“Wait!” thought Clever Hedgehog. “I always behave well, and I like presents! Maybe Sviatyi Mykolai can bring one for me too.”
There were five days until Saint Nicholas Day, and Clever Hedgehog’s anticipation grew bigger each day! Whoever he met, he asked a question: “Should I write a letter to Sviatyi Mykolai to let him know what present I want, or will he know what I want?”
Then there were only four days until Saint Nicholas Day. His teacher in school had to stop a lesson after Clever Hedgehog had asked: “Will Sviatyi Mykolai come to me?”
It was three days until Saint Nicholas Day. Clever Hedgehog couldn’t do his homework, because a different question bothered him, “What present will I get from Sviatyi Mykolai?”
It was two days until Saint Nicholas Day. Clever Hedgehog couldn’t fall asleep, because he couldn’t stop thinking, “How will Sviatyi Mykolai put a present under my pillow without waking me up?”
And then, it was Saint Nicholas Day’s Eve.
Clever Hedgehog couldn’t stop looking out the window for Sviatyi Mykolai, wondering, “What if Sviatyi Mykolai won’t come because of all this snow?”
It was bedtime. Finally, Clever Hedgehog closed his eyes.
When he woke up in the morning, his pillow seemed strangely hard. He thought, “There is something under my pillow.” He flipped his pillow off of the bed and found a new colorful book!
But wait, there was more! A new painting set was sitting on his bed, and a cute red hat was on his head. He didn’t even notice when he woke up that he was wearing a hat.
Clever Hedgehog got the presents that he wanted, and much more!
He was so happy, so he decided to share this happiness with others.
Clever Hedgehog remembered Petro, a new boy who lived next door. He knew Petro was upset. First, because he had lost his favorite teddy bear during his family’s recent move to their new home.
Second, because he was worried that Sviatyi Mykolai wouldn’t find him to put any presents under his pillow.
So Clever Hedgehog put on his boots and scarf and opened his front door again. This time he knew the white stuff was snow, and that he could walk on it to get to Petro’s house.
When Clever Hedgehog brought his new painting set from Sviatyi Mykolai, Petro was delighted. He jumped up and down and hugged Clever Hedgehog gleefully. He knew that not only did he get a present, but that he made a new friend.
Clever Hedgehog thought, “I am so glad that I shared my present with Petro.”
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Fun Facts about Saint Nicholas Day
On Saint Nicholas Day in Ukraine, people remember to be kind and help those who need it.
The American Santa Claus, as well as the British Father Christmas, derive from Saint Nicholas.
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