4772 messages in 332 discussions
Latest 3:26 PM by gunter
Latest Feb-21 by gunter
Latest Feb-6 by gunter
32256 messages in 4742 discussions
Latest 9:47 AM by gunter
Latest Feb-6 by gunter
4108 messages in 552 discussions
Latest Dec-24 by gunter
Latest Feb-9 by gunter
881 messages in 198 discussions
My aunt was doing Santa that year. Cousin Walter had overheard the planning and told everyone, after swearing us to eternal silence of course. We weren't about to ruin things by letting on we knew as we're sitting there on the bench by the kitchen table enjoying my favorite Eierkuechelchen, with apple sauce as I recall, while going over the story of the Bishop who gave away his riches and was martyred for his kindness, and his assistant Belzebub with chains and a black bag to take away bad kids. My friend Fritz heard they actually dragged off a neighbor's boy in a huge bag, but then let him go out on the street.
We wait an awfully long time, even the grown-ups get impatient. Suddenly, downstairs, the house door slams. Dead silence. Not a sound in the kitchen either. There is a lone step on the stairs. Great-Grandma stares at the door, hands clasped over her mouth, eyes wide open. Another ominous step is followed by a thundering crash of chains. I get goose-pimply all over and feel my hair rising. Walter starts sobbing.
By the time Belzebub crashes through door the three of us are huddled at the far end of the bench with our arms around each other, bawling. He jumps into the room, contorted, a chimney sweep black with soot, dragging a huge bag and heavy chains, heading straight for us. A deep, resonant "Zurueck!" orders him back. It's St. Nikolaus, heavenly, awe-inspiring, with flowing white robes, a tall Bishop's miter and golden staff. He is very much aware of all my bad deeds, some good ones as well. They're right there in his huge book! Belzebub argues over each entry, they check with the grown-ups on some, but by the time they're done, none of us will have to be dragged off. Belzebub is clearly disappointed. Now and then he even tries to grab us when St. Nikolaus isn't looking, our screams save us every time.
St. Nikolaus gives us Lebenkuchen and cookies, though later we discover there is nothing but coal in Walter's package. He warns us that next year we won't be so lucky unless we behave, then heads down the stairs shooing a reluctant Belzebub in front of him.
That was Santa's last visit. The following year they knew we knew, so the visit was called off.