This actually happened when our first daughter had just turned two. We have had many cats since Miranda, but none of them were inside cats. This story is copyright © 2007 by Paul D. Race, which means you're not allowed to publish it anywhere without my written permission, not even another web site. You are allowed to print it off to read to your children or grandchildren.
Update for 2017 - Rob and Amy, who make nice podcasts (recordings) of children's stories wrote me and asked my permission to record an audio version of this story. I said yes, and it turned out better than I expected. If you want to hear the story narrated by someone with a British accent, click here.
Hope your holidays are all very happy - Paul
Miranda's Christmas Visitor by Paul D. RaceA small cat named Miranda lived in a very small house with a very small girl and two grownups. This story is about a Christmas that was very special for that cat.
Miranda was an inside cat. That means that she never went outside. So Miranda never got to climb trees or chase birds or do any of those outside things.
The only time Miranda was around trees was at Christmas. That was when the grownups would bring in a real tree and cover it with shiny things.
Miranda knew she wasn't supposed to climb the Christmas tree. One time she tried but some of the shiny things fell off and the grownups scolded her. Now she mostly left the tree alone. Sometimes, though, she tapped the shiny things near the bottom. She liked to make them sway back and forth.
One Christmas morning, Miranda’s people were getting ready to go away. The little girl was wearing a special dress and shoes. Daddy was wearing dark blue, but there was something red tied around his neck. Mommy was still getting dressed. Miranda knew that she had to stay out of the people’s way until they were ready to leave. Then she would have the house to herself. She could tap the shiny things all she wanted.
The little girl knocked on Mommy’s bedroom door and said, “Mommy!”
Mommy said, “What is it, Kristen?” Kristen is what the grownups called the little girl.
Kristen said, “There’s a bird in the Christmas tree.”
Mommy said, “Of course there is, dear. There are lots of birds in the Christmas tree.”
Miranda looked at the Christmas tree. Mommy was right if you counted the birds that were made out of glass, or plastic, or pine cones. But Miranda didn’t think those were real birds. She could see real birds through the window in the dining room. Real birds jumped around and flew from tree to tree. The birds on the Christmas tree were always very still.
Today, though, something in the Christmas tree moved. Miranda could tell that something moved, but she couldn’t tell what. She crept over to the tree and watched carefully. Something moved again. Some of the shiny things started swaying back and forth.
Miranda watched the shiny things until they stopped moving. Behind her, Daddy was going into the bedroom. Kristen said, “Mommy, there’s a bird in the tree.” She walked over to the tree and stuck out her hand.
Just then, a brown and gray bird flew out of the tree and up into the air. It landed on one of the curtain rods. Then it flew across the room. It landed on the lamp that hung over the dining room table. Kristen giggled.
Daddy came out of the bedroom. He saw Kristen and Miranda running around the dining room. He did not see the bird. Daddy said, “Kristen, don’t mess up your good clothes.” He went back into the bedroom. The bird flew into the kitchen.
Kristen didn’t see where the bird went, but Miranda did. She went into the kitchen. But she did not see the bird right away. She watched and listened very carefully. Then she heard a funny sound coming from a window.
There was a curtain over the window. Miranda couldn’t see what was making the noise. She couldn’t jump onto the window sill, either. So she watched for a while. Finally, Miranda saw the bird poking its head out from behind the curtain. It looked around the room and saw Miranda. Then it hid again.
Near the window stood an old kitchen chair. The back of the chair was shaped like a ladder. Miranda didn’t know what a ladder was, but she knew she could climb the chair. So she did.
The bird poked its head out again. Miranda tried to tap it on the head. The bird hid again for a few minutes.
Daddy came into the kitchen and saw Miranda on the back of the chair. He wondered what she was doing. Then the bird poked its head out again, and Miranda tried to reach it. Daddy laughed. “There really was a bird in the Christmas tree,” he said.
“What do you mean?” asked Mommy.
Daddy said, “A starling got into the house. Miranda has it cornered in the kitchen.”
Mommy said, “Well, get it out, please.”
Daddy said, “I'm working on it, Honey.” He picked up a towel and wrapped it around his hand like a glove. Then he went to the window. He caught the bird from behind so it wouldn’t hurt its wings trying to get away.
In a moment, the bird was in Daddy’s hand. It was wrapped in the towel except for its head. Daddy let Miranda see the bird, but he didn’t let her touch it. Then he took it into the living room and let Kristen and Mommy see it. Daddy didn’t let Kristen touch the bird, either. Mommy didn’t want to touch it.
Finally, Daddy went out the front door. He set the bird on the porch railing. After a moment, it flew away and Miranda never saw it again.
“How did the bird get into the house?” asked Mommy.
“It must have come down the chimney,” said Daddy.
“Just like Santa,” said Kristen.
Daddy reached for Miranda, but she ran away from him. Miranda was angry. She wanted to play with the bird. She didn’t understand why Daddy put the bird outside. Miranda was so angry that she would not come to Daddy until she became hungry that evening.
Miranda has never had another visitor come down the chimney. But every Christmas eve after that, Miranda went to sleep under the tree. In her dreams, all of the birds on the Christmas tree came alive and flew around the room.
If you've been reading our pages, you know that we have big things planned, and a lot on our plate, so keep checking back. And contact us with any questions or suggestions you have in the meantime.
Paul and Shelia Race
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