Christmas At Red Butte by Lucy Maud Montgomery, 1909
The magic trick:
A snug plot that makes you believe that just maybe good things happen to good people
“Christmas At Red Butte” is a nice dose of holiday cheer, reminiscent of O. Henry’s “The Gift Of The Magi” and Dickens’ “The Chimes.” I particularly appreciated the tight plotting, in which Theodora is not only rewarded for her act of selflessness, she saves a life because of her decision to sacrifice her own cherished possession for the sake of the family. It’s nice to think the universe works like that, especially during the holiday season. And that’s quite a trick on Montgomery’s part.
Theodora knew the locket had cost a great deal more than that, but four dollars would get what she wanted, and she dared not ask for more. In a few minutes the locket was in Mr. Benson’s possession, and Theodora, with four crisp new bills in her purse, was hurrying to the toy store. Half an hour later she was on her way back to Red Butte, with as many parcels as she could carry—Jimmy’s skates, two lovely dolls for the twins, packages of nuts and candy, and a nice plump turkey. Theodora beguiled her lonely tramp by picturing the children’s joy in the morning.