From the time I was very young, I had a favorite book: The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell. The actual book belonged to my older sister and had been given to her as a gift. It was kept wrapped in tissue paper in my mother's bureau and was never on the shelf of any bookcase in our many homes. I dearly loved that book and I would beg my mother (or anyone else) to read it to me. It is the story of "The Littlest Angel" who presents himself to the "venerable Gate-Keeper" at the age of "exactly four years, six months, five days, seven hours and forty-two minutes." I have seen many copies of the story through the years, but yesterday at a little thrift store, I found a replica of my sister's copy. It is illustrated by Katherine Evans: copyright, 1946. I bought it for the sum of $1 and it still has the original store price tag: "Millers $1.00" stuck to the inside front cover. Quite a bargain to buy it for the same price it sold for in 1946. This copy of the book is in pristine condition suggesting that maybe this family, too, kept it in a drawer wrapped in tissue paper.
The littlest angel is unhappy to be in heaven, oh, he explains to the "understanding angel" that "Paradise was beautiful. But the Earth was beautiful, too! Wasn't it created by God, Himself? Why, there were trees to climb, and brooks to fish, and caves to play at pirate chief, the swimming hole, and sun, and rain, and dark, and dawn, and thick brown dust, so soft and warm beneath your feet!" The "understanding angel" in order to keep the littlest angel from continuing to get into mischief in Heaven, and from being so homesick, agrees to fetch a small box of "treasures" the Littlest Angel left under his bed back on Earth. After the arrival of the box, everyone in heaven marvels at the great change in the Littlest Angel: he was happy now and his conduct was beyond reproach.
Then it came to pass that Jesus was to be born and all of Heaven began preparing their gifts for the Christ Child. The Littlest Angel was worried about what he could give the child: He dreamed of writing a hymn, but he wasn't musically gifted; he was excited over writing a prayer, but he wasn't literary. On the "Day of Days" the Littlest Angel placed his little box of treasures before the Throne of God. Then when he saw the splendor of the other gifts brought to honor the child, the Littlest Angel was ashamed and even tried to "hide it away from the sight of God before it was even noticed." Too late!
The box contained these gifts to the Child: "a butterfly with golden wings, captured one bright summer day on the high hills above Jerusalem, and a sky-blue egg from a bird's nest in the olive tree that stood to shade his mother's kitchen door. Yes, and two white stones, found on a muddy river bank, where he and his friends had played like small brown beavers, and, at the bottom of the box, a limp, tooth-marked leather strap, once worn as a collar by his mongrel dog, who had died as he had lived, in absolute love and infinite devotion."
In the end, of course, God treasures the gift of the Littlest Angel above all the others and the box begins to glow and appears above the stable where a child was being born and it was ever after known as the Star of Bethlehem!"
So, today the Cosmos sent me back another gift from my childhood - very fairly, for the same price as the original. I wanted to say thank you to the universe and I hope you enjoyed the story of the Littlest Angel.