Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An unexpected package from Santa December 6, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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WHEN A SMALL PACKAGE arrived in my mailbox on Tuesday with a Merry Christmas! From: Santa Faribault, MN 55021 return address, I had no clue what I would find therein.

But, oh, the sweetness of this surprise moved me to tears at the thoughtfulness of the mysterious Santa who clearly read my recent post, “Passing a love of books onto the next generation.” In that post I reference a favorite childhood storybook, Three Billy Goats Gruff, and my regret at not purchasing a copy spotted at a Pequot Lakes antique shop.

 

 

That reader took my post to heart and sent me a vintage copy of Three Billy Goats Gruff. See why I’m thrilled with this unexpected gift. This individual gifted me with a book that I hold dear.

 

 

Now, rereading this story as an adult, I like it even more:

I’m not afraid,” said Little Billy. And up onto the bridge he ran—trip-trippety-trip!

 

 

This fairy tale of three billy goats attempting to cross a bridge under which a mean troll lives inspires bravery. The trio outwits the troll and gets safely to the other side and a hillside of lush grass. The empowering message of strength and courage proves as applicable for children as for adults.

 

 

As to the identity of Santa, I have only a few clues—the name NANCY ANN OLSON stamped inside and that Faribault postmark and return address. I don’t know any Nancy Olsons. The giver could be someone other than an Olson. Or it could be Nancy. I have no idea.

But to you, dear anonymous Santa reader, please know that your gift of Three Billy Goats Gruff touched me deeply. I am grateful for your kindness, which truly exemplifies the spirit of giving. Thank you. And Merry Christmas!

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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A sister’s love, more precious than jewels December 27, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:53 AM
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ONCE UPON A TIME, in the land of Prairieville, an aging princess (in name only) arrived at the country estate of her middle brother just days before Christmas.

Unbeknownst to the princess, her middle sister, who is nothing like Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters and who also had journeyed from a yonder land, planned for the princess the most splendid surprise.

The princess had just shrugged off her pea coat and greeted her family when Sir Stephen stepped forward to present a present to the stunned princess. Thinking perhaps that her fun-loving nephew was about to play a prank upon her, as family members are sometimes wont to do, the princess accepted the gift with trepidation.

The first gift package, from Nixie, Fairy of Water.

The first gift package, from Nixie, Fairy of Water.

She pulled a dainty tissue-wrapped package from a gift envelope, allowing the tiny package to fall onto the floor for fear of what she may discover inside. With great care, she soon retrieved and unwrapped the gift. A lovely ring fell into her palm.

Before the princess could even slip the jewel onto her finger, another family member stepped forward with a present, followed by nine more packages into which child-size rings had been tucked.

By that time, the princess had determined that her kind-hearted sister, Lanae, had hatched the entire marvelous scheme to write a happily-ever-after ending to a story which began decades earlier on a Prairieville farm.

Many years ago, when the princess was much younger, she lost an emerald ring (not a “real” emerald, of course) gifted to her by her godmother. Despite a frantic search of the family farm, the precious jewel was never found. The princess was overcome with inconsolable sadness and never forgot that lost ring.

A sampling of the rings gifted to me by 11 fairies. These will be passed along to some sweet little girls I know.

A sampling of the rings gifted to me by 11 fairies. These will be passed along to some sweet little girls I know.

Because all fairy tales should end happily, the princess’s loving sister, Lanae, gathered, from various fairies of the world, a collection of fine jewels. Nixie, Fairy of Water; the White, Frost, Tooth, Sugar Plum, Woodland, Snowflake and Ice fairies; the Queen of the Fairies; The Little Fairy Fayette; and Tinkerbell all contributed gems to the cause.

The final ring, an "emerald," to replace the one I lost nearly 50 years ago.

The final ring, an “emerald,” to replace the one I lost nearly 50 years ago.

After the princess had unwrapped 11 packages of child-sized rings, a final box was presented to her from the Fairy Godmother. Inside, the princess found a sparkling imitation emerald, even more beautiful than the one she had lost on her childhood farm nearly 50 years earlier.

The aging princess was overcome with joy as she slipped the emerald ring onto her finger and raced to embrace her sister whose kind heart overflows with goodness and love.

THE END

THANK YOU, LANAE, for blessing me with this wonderful gift. I appreciate the thought, time and effort you put into pulling off this royal surprise. You made me feel like a real princess and I shall always cherish this gift of the heart from you to me.

TO READ my first posting about the lost ring of my youth, click here.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling