‘Papa Panov’s Special Christmas’ by Leo Tolstoy

Tolstoy, Leo 1885

Papa Panov’s Special Christmas by Leo Tolstoy

The magic trick:

Illustrating the essence of Christian kindness

Tolstoy didn’t write this story; he translated it. But that minor quibble aside, let’s break it down. The story aptly illustrates the central tenet of the golden rule as taught by Jesus in the Bible. I have had a difficult time throughout my life reconciling what I find to be the many contradictions littered throughout the Bible. But there’s no arguing the love shown in this story is a beautiful thing. And that’s quite a trick on Tolstoy’s part.

The selection:

Papa Panov opened the shop door, letting in a thin stream of cold air. “Come in!” he shouted across the street cheerily. “Come in and have some hot coffee to keep out the cold!”

The sweeper looked up, scarcely able to believe his ears. He was only too glad to put down his broom and come into the warm room. His old clothes steamed gently in the heat of the stove and he clasped both red hands round the comforting warm mug as he drank.


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