Friday, December 07, 2007

My Christmas Story

I started this a few years ago, and only recently have decided to finish it. At some point, it might be worth my time to illustrate it as well, maybe do a book out of it or something.

For those wondering about the Christmas tree ship, these really existed on the Great Lakes. They effectively brought Christmas trees to Chicago and it's suburbs in the late 1800s and early 1900s from Michigan and Wisconsin. However, as anyone who has lived near the Great Lakes, the winter storms that can kick up from November to March can be quite nasty (as the song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald will tell you); so delivering trees in December by this method was quite risky, indeed. Growing up around Chicago, I've occasionally heard the various legend surrounding these ships around Christmas, most notably the Rouse Simmons.

Maybe there's a game in here somewhere...

Anyway, I liked the way that this turned out; it's not just a little story, but actually a tall tale "explaining" a reason for a common Christmas tradition.

"Ghost ship" image blatantly stolen from

Finley, the Christmas Starfish

Many, many years ago
Before you were born,
People tell of that Christmas
With that terrible storm.

In the deep waters,
Rather dark, clear and blue,
There was a starfish named Finley
Not much older than you.

Finley dreamed of exploring
above his coral and caves,
So he swam up to the surface
and bounded up on the waves.

Finley suddenly heard singing
Carried in the night air.
"Why, they're coming from that ship,"
He thought, "I should go there!"

He climbed upon the hull of the ship
With remarkable ease,
And on the deck he was surprised
To see piles of evergreen trees.

For this was the Christmas tree ship,
By name, the Midnight Dawn,
And every year they set sail
To bring Christmas trees to our town.

Though it was a bitter cold night,
The sailor's wine helped them along.
They continued their carolling;
Happily, Finley danced to their songs.

Suddenly, all the men started running
with their laterns bright aglow,
Finley heard some sort of ruckus,
Coming from within the ship below.

Finley watched as the men rushed about
Said he, "What could they be thinking?"
He then heard quite a loud shout,
"Captain! The boat! She's sinking!"

Finley ran into the ship;
He was both brave and bold.
And what he saw was water pouring in
from a hole in the wall of the hold.

When he saw the rushing water
Finley knew just what to do,
he plugged up the hole with one arm.
When it wasn't enough, he used two!

The Captain went below and what he saw
was quite the unusual sight.
He was astounded to see a little starfish
Stop the great lake's water with all of his might!

He called to his roughshod men,
to make quick with the rudders and sail.
"For if this brave little starfish can hold,
surely, there is no way that WE can fail!"

The men worked with a hurry,
with many a "Ho-HEAVE!"
And finally the reached the port
Rather late on Christmas Eve.

Finley fell down to the floor
Exhausted and quite tired,
The Captain picked him up in a small towel,
If not for the warmth, he surely would have expired!

The Captain walked up to the deck,
Where the townspeople waited and stood,
Then Captain held up the little starfish,
and explained the story darn good!

"We were taking on water, and
beneath the waves we would've slid
if not for this brave little starfish.
Why, he saved Christmas,
Saved Christmas he did!"

The story of Finley was carried
To all people near and to all far.
And that's why every year on Christmas,
We top the tree with a star.



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