The Christmas Masquerade by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 1886
The magic trick:
Appealing to children with fun and memorable plot twists
I’m not sure this is a story for kids, for adults, for families. For everyone, probably. It certainly appeals to children. The plot draws out like a line with a constant barrage of fun plot twists. There are several funny and memorable scenes – the old woman at the edge of town, the rich children tending geese. It might not be a straight-up Christmas classic, but it’s a fun story that anyone can enjoy. And that’s quite a trick on Freeman’s part.
The Mayor’s daughter declared she was going to tend her geese out in the pasture, and the shepherdesses sprang out of their little beds of down, throwing aside their silken quilts, and cried that they must go out and watch their sheep. The princesses jumped up from their straw pallets, and wanted to go to court; and all the rest of them likewise. Poor little Red Riding-hood sobbed and sobbed because she couldn’t go and carry her basket to her grandmother, and as she didn’t have any grandmother she couldn’t go, of course, and her parents were very much troubled. It was all so mysterious and dreadful. The news spread very rapidly over the city, and soon a great crowd gathered around the new Costumer’s shop, for every one thought he must be responsible for all this mischief.
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