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A True Story of Christmas
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Robert May was a short man, barely five feet in height. He was born in the early part of the last century, that is to say, the nineteen hundreds.

Bullied at school, he was ridiculed and humiliated by other children because he was smaller than other boys of the same age. Even as he grew up, he was often mistaken for someone's little brother.

When he left college he became employed as a copywriter with Montgomery Ward, the big Chicago mail order house. He married and in due course, his wife presented him with a daughter. Then when his little daughter was two years old, tragedy struck; his wife was diagnosed with a debilitating disease. She became bedridden and remained so until she died. Nearly everything he earned went on medication and doctor's bills. Money was short and life was hard.

One evening in early December of 1938 and two years into his wife's illness, his four-year-old daughter climbed onto his knee and asked, “Daddy, why isn't Mummy like everybody else's mummy?” It was a simple question, asked with childlike curiosity. But it struck a personal chord with Robert May.


His mind flashed back to his own childhood. He had often posed a similar question, “Why can't I be tall, like the other kids?” The stigma attached to those who are different is hard to bear. Groping for something to say to give comfort to his daughter, he began to tell her a story. It was about someone else who was different, ridiculed, humiliated and excluded because of the difference.

Bob told the story in a humorous way, making it up as he went along; in the way that many fathers often do. His daughter laughed, giggled and clapped her hands as the misfit finally triumphed at the end. She then made him start all over again from the beginning and every night after that he had to repeat the story before she would go to sleep.

Because he had no money for fancy presents, Robert decided that he would put the story into book form. He had some artistic talent and he created illustrations. This was to be his daughter's Christmas present. The book of the story that she loved so much. He converted the story into a poem.

 

 
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