A Mrs. Bagge Story
Bernice Ramsdin-Firth

The year had turned and the season for giving and receiving had come round once again. Families were bustling up and down the street, Merry Christmasing each other or joining in groups to sing carols outside of malls and where ‘Sally Ann’ Santas plied their trade, soliciting funds for the poor from harrassed passers-by. Not Philomena Bagge’s favourite time of year.
Cursing the commercialism and those begging bearded buffoons, as she called them, she had given up on Christmas long ago. She was also a little envious. “I’m poor,” she would grumble, “ but nobody notices me!” Every year she did her best to keep clear of Christmas, shopping early in the morning to avoid the crowds and muttering “Humbug” to any storekeeper impertinent enough to wish her a Merry Christmas, even though Happy Holidays seems to have replaced it these days. Well, a skunk by any other name…. She even went so far as to turn off all the lights in her house (though not her precious TV) in a feeble protest against the lurid night time light show the season’s madness brought to her neighbourhood. And any child with nerve enough to carol outside her door was sent off with a flea in his ear. She was glad when it was over.
The Faerie in her attic, though, had come to appreciate this happy season. And while their beliefs differed from the Christian ones, let it not be said they lacked spirituality. Mother Nature, Gaia, was their deity and they worshipped her just as fiercely as any Christian believer. But they understood the message of peace behind the Christ child’s birth and rejoiced along with their human counterparts. They made gifts for their chlldren and for one another, and even brought a tiny tree into their attic, decorating it with fancy bows made from discarded Christmas wrapping and sprinkling it with fairy dust. A bright star sitting on its peak lit the whole room, to the delight of the children. In consequence, at this time of year there was always a slight glow in Mrs. Bagge’s attic window, in contrast to her dark house; enough to scare any child from approaching her door.
But this year, as the Faerie looked at their tables decorated with nuts and berries saved from the fall woods and gardens, flowers pinched from florist shops and their plates laden with last summer’s honey and pollen, (traded with bumble and honey bees in return for combing the lice out of their fur) they decided things would be different. They would somehow include “the Bagge Lady” in their festivities. But how? They loved Mrs. Bagge; they lived in her house (though she didn’t know it), they often ate her food (mostly milk and honey and jam), and she had provided the children with endless hours of harmless mischief. So what to do for their crabby landlady that would bring at least some pleasure to her? They could keep the children from plaguing her of course, not a popular idea with those small editions of their parents. They could make her a present, but what? What would a person who hated the world as much as Philomena Bagge like for a present? A suggestion was made—perhaps they could decorate her house with faery dust, and even provide some their favourite food. As they thought about it the Faerie became more enthused about the idea; yes, that would be just the thing, fairy dust, and cake, and music, yes, there must be music. Plans were laid and they set to work.
Christmas Eve came and when Mrs. Bagge climbed into bed the house outside suddenly lit up with a golden glow that picked out its best architectural features, (this was a difficult one for the Faerie, considering there were few to choose from). Because her blinds were closed she didn’t notice the light, but as she lay there she heard a beautiful sound, not exactly caroling but a sweet humming that swelled into a glorious Stabet Mater (musical ode to Mary, mother of Jesus). Getting up from her bed she looked out of her window, and on seeing the glow surrounding her house, feared it was all ablaze. Shouting “Fire!” she ran down the stairs and out the door. But look where she would, all was well, no fire to be found anywhere, just a magical glow. Mouth open, she stood staring up at this strange transformation until, chilled, she went back inside to find, to her surprise, every room hung with wreaths of fir and cedar and holly. In every corner sparkling lights glistened and on her dining room table sat artistically arranged walnuts and berries and colourful honey candies. In the centre with candles lit on either side, a tiny decorated pollen cake took pride of place on one of her best plates. Then another surprise—by the fireplace lay a present wrapped in fine tissue with a silver bow, and her name written in tiny letters. When she opened it a white toque and a pair of warm white gloves emerged, clipped and knitted from the fur of a purebred Samoyed dog that lived nearby.
Angry at first that her house had been invaded by some do-gooder, but also confused, Mrs. Bagge sat down before the gifts of food on her table. Tears suddenly welled into her eyes but she wiped them away, ashamed of her weakness. She stared around her uncertain of what to think. But as she tasted the honey candy and listened to the exquisite sound of the music, new feelings began to fill her soul. Then, sucking on the candy, though leaving her bounty otherwise untouched, she climbed back up to her bed and fell deeply asleep, as she once had as a young child, before life got in the way.
The next morning she was awakened by the sound of church bells, having slept better than she had for many a year, and for the first time she didn’t grumble about the noise. She put on her rabbit-eared slippers and best dressing gown before going downstairs, though she suspected the night before’s events were only an overindulgence of wine before bed. But no, there were the toque and gloves, the fir boughs and holly, the decorated table, and the goodies still waiting to be enjoyed. Staring at the bounty before her, she sighed. “Oh, what the heck,” she said and ate the whole lot, leaving the tasty little pollen cake to the last. When every bite was gone she lit a fire in the fireplace and wearing her new gloves and toque, she sat in her favourite chair and raised a glass of her best sherry to whoever had provided these wonderful things; (assuming, as she didn’t believe in Santa Claus, that it was probably someone from the ‘Sally Ann, though how they got into her locked house she didn’t know and never did discover.)
But let it not be said she wasn’t grateful for this largesse, for after that at Christmastime, wearing her white dog-fur hat and gloves, she would drop a penny or two into the pots of bearded Santas, who, like the proverbial postman, deliver their message in all kinds of weather—especially outside mall doors—ringing their urgent kindly bells.

Grabber’s New Christmas

Christmas will soon be here so I have a little play for you to try. I wrote it for The Night Visitors. If you get your brothers and/or sisters and your friends together, you might like to put the play on for  your parents  and other friends.

Grabber the Giant



Santa Claus enters his living room looking very tired and speaks to his wife who sits knitting on the couch

 SANTA— My dear, there are such a lot of children this year, I don’t know if we will have enough presents for them all. The elves just can’t keep up and tomorrow is Christmas Eve!

MRS. CLAUS, (putting down her knitting)—Oh but we must! How would it be possible to leave anyone out. Have you counted all the toys? So many children have been good this year and there are so many poor children who deserve something nice for Christmas

SANTA—Yes of course I have counted them, but we are way short. Even without the bad boys and girls, there are still not enough toys for all. That awful flu we had in the fall really put us behind.

MRS. CLAUS—Would you like a cup of tea, dear?

SANTA— Yes indeed I would! Do you have any of those chocolate chip cookies you made the other day?

MRS. CLAUS— I’ll see, I think I have a few left. (Whispers to audience as she exits) I have to hide them or he eats them all up!

A very loud knock is heard at the door

SANTA  (calling)—Yes, who is it? (This time heavier pounding is heard)

 SANTA—I’m coming! I’m coming! Goodness me, who could it be at this time of night! (He opens the door to reveal an ogre)

GRABBER—(Stomping in and pushing his face into Santa’s) I never got any toys last year, or the year before that, or even the year before that! Well, I better get one this year, or else!

SANTA— (Putting his face back into Grabber’s) If I remember rightly you have been as bad or worse than the worst bully on my list! Didn’t you frighten a little girl nearly to death by hiding in her cupboard and jumping out and throwing a snake on her bed? And putting salt in the sugar bowls? And even worse, you go out of your way to step on spiders and pull cat’s tails! No, I’ll be giving our toys to children who help their parents and do their homework and are kind to animals. Oh no, my friend, the toys are not for you!

GRABBER—AAAAARRGH! I’ll crush all your silly toys! If I can’t have them, nobody can! (Grabs toys sitting on the sideboard etc. Begins to jump up and down on them in a tantrum) I never get anything! I Hate Christmas. I WANT SOME TOYS! (Throws himself on the floor and kicks his feet)

SANTA—Nope, sorry, not until you change your bad ways. Now, I think you had better leave.

MRS. CLAUS—(Arriving with the tea, puts it on the table) Oh goodness, we have a guest. Would you like some tea Mr…


SANTA—I think he was just leaving!

MRS. CLAUS—Oh no, Santa, not before tea! Would you like some tea, Mr. Grabber?

GRABBER—Oh yes, beautiful lady, thank you! (Gets up off the floor, takes her hand and kisses it. Santa looks astonished at this)

MRS. CLAUS— Tee hee! And do have a cookie. (Hands him a cup of tea and passes the few cookies on the plate to him)

Grabber grabs all the cookies and stuffs them in his mouth

Santa looks very angry as he see his cookies disappear

MRS. CLAUS—Oh my, you must be very hungry!.


(Mrs. Claus leaves to get more cookies)

SANTA—(Frowning even harder) I think Mr. Grabber has finished with tea. (Takes out his cell phone and calls his elves.) I think we have a 911 here!

 Four elves rush in and chase Grabber. He tries to fight them

but they wrestle him down and sit on him.

ELF—You want us to rough him up boss?

SANTA—No, don’t do that. Just let him up, but keep an eye on him.

Mrs. Claus returns with more cookies. Grabber gets up and looks pitifully at her

 MRS. CLAUS—Oh my, are you all right, Mr. Grabber? Really Santa! And you never even gave him a chance to finish his tea!

 Mrs. Claus brushes Grabber off and hands him another cup of tea

GRABBER—(Starts to cry) I never had any toys to play with in all my life. I don’t mean to be cruel. I’ll be good! Can’t I have just one toy?

SANTA—(Searches in his sack and finds a small Teddy Bear at the bottom) Well, if you really promise to be good, you can have this, but it’s all I can spare.

GRABBER—(Cuddling the bear) Oh, a Teddy all my very own! Thank you Santa. I will try to be good, but I really don’t know how. I only know how to scare people and do bad things.

SANTA—Hmm. I’ll tell you what, come with me and I’ll show you something that might help. Elves, saddle up Rudolph and Blitzen. We’ll see if you still want more toys after we get back.

MRS. CLAUS—Oh, do be careful dear, it wouldn’t do to have an accident this close to Christmas.

(Santa, elves and Grabber exit)


Children dressed in rags enter Some are coughing, others beg for food, holding their hands out to the audience. Santa and Grabber enter leading the reindeer.

SANTA—You see? There are so many children who are hungry and need so much. There isn’t even enough food to help them through the dark hours. I try to bring food to these children as well as toys in my bag. How can I give you toys when these poor young ones have nothing!

 Grabber—I didn’t know, Santa! I didn’t know! What can I do? Tell me what I can  do for these poor children?

SANTA—There are many things you can do but you will have to decide for yourself what is best for you.

GRABBER—I could make them laugh. People are always laughing at me.

SANTA—That is a gift indeed! Let’s see what you can do.

Grabber stands on his head, makes faces, sticks out his tongue. But that only makes the children afraid and they run away, all except one small child

GRABBER—Sigh, I guess I’m not very good at making people laugh. I guess I’m only good at making them scared of me.

SANTA—I thought you were pretty funny.

The child comes up to Grabber and takes his hand. He looks at the child, then hands her his Teddy Bear and a cookie he had hidden in his pocket, The child hugs him and exits

SANTA—That was very kind, Grabber. Now lets go home and see what we can do.

(They exit)


 Back at Santa’s house Mrs. Claus looks anxiously out the window

 MRS. CLAUS—Where can they be. It’s nearly Christmas Eve!

(Santa and Grabber enter)

 SANTA—Mother, this fine ogre wants to help out, but he doesn’t know what to do. Can you think of anything?

MRS. CLAUS—Indeed I can! He can help with the heavy lifting and carrying. He could even help finish the toys in the shop.

GRABBER—Make toys! Oh, can I? Oh thank you, dear Mrs. Claus!

SANTA—You can go with me and help me take the toys and food down the chimneys. We’ll dress you like one of the elves so the children who might be still awake won’t be afraid of you. What do you say?

GRABBER—This is the happiest day of my life!

MRS. CLAUS—(Hugging Grabber) What a good Christmas we will have, and you can stay for dinner with us. What do you say, my dear.

SANTA—As long as he doesn’t eat all the pudding!

Cast of children and elves enter and all sing together

Christmas Time, Christmas Time,

Christmas Time is near

Leave aside, leave aside

Put aside your  fear

With joyful hearts, with hopeful hearts

We will try to steer

Our course for good to last and last

To last and last the year

Christmas Time, Christmas time

Peace and Joy to yours and mine

Do good to all, in this aspire

And you will find your heat’s desire

Christmas Time, Christmas Time,

Christmas Time is near

Leave aside, leave aside

Put aside your  fear

With joyful hearts, with hopeful hearts

We will try to steer

Our course for good to last and last

To last and last the year