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Why Children Hang Up Christmas Stockings
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Many years ago there was an old man called Joshua who had had three beautiful daughters; Ellie, Nellie and Mellie.
He worked hard but he earned just enough money to keep himself and his daughters fed.
In those days, ladies who wished to get married had to have a dowry to give to their future husbands.
But Joshua did not have enough money for one dowry let alone three dowries and he became very worried.
Also, his daughters were dressed in rags and he was saddened because he was unable to buy nice dresses for them.
His neighbours knew of his troubles and many of them offered him money.
Joshua, however, was a proud man and he would not accept help from anyone.
One day Saint Nicholas was passing through the village and heard the villagers talking about Joshua's plight. He knew that Joshua would not accept help so he waited till very late on Christmas Eve night.
Ellie, Nellie and Mellie had been out gathering holly that day and, while crossing a stream, their stockings became very wet.
Therefore, they had hung them up to dry by the fireplace before they went to bed.
When St. Nicholas was passing their house, he looked in the letter-box and saw the stockings.
Using his magical powers, St. Nicholas threw three bags of gold through an open window and they went straight into three of the stockings
On Christmas morning the girls were amazed to find a bag of gold for each of them in their stockings and they had the happiest Christmas ever.
Soon afterwards, they bought nice dresses.
The sons of the wealthiest people in the area could see the girls' beauty and came to visit them.
Within a year all three girls were engaged to be married to handsome boys from the best families around.
The gold the girls found in their stockings was used as dowries.
Their weddings were elegant affairs and Ellie, Nellie and Mellie lived happily with their husbands for many years.
When the story of the bags of gold in the stockings was told around the country, people started hanging stockings on the fireplace or on their beds on Christmas Eve night.
And hanging stockings on the fireplace or the bed on Christmas Eve night is still done by children all over the world!
Because gold is not a suitable gift for children, often a golden fruit, an orange, is found in the stocking.
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