You may remember that I’ve written some posts about Blyton’s Christmas stories (as well as crafts and poems) before. I found so many that I had to split them into three posts, one for 1920-1945, one for 1946-1950, and the last covering 1951-1962. I’ve also done one looking at more Christmas bits from Enid Blyton’s Magazine.
Well, since then I have bought some more magazines and books and so turned up more of her Christmas works. I also found one I’d missed in the Bright Story Book. I’ve no doubt that there are many more to be found, so maybe I’ll be back next year with another of these posts.
A few magazine stories
One of the recent additions to my magazine collection is volume 2 issue 26, which is from December 1955. It contains two Christmas stories which I will detail for you. I’m not sure how I missed these before, as I’ve featured some of the crafts and other Christmassy bits from this issue already.
One Christmas Morning
The story is about Robert and Anna and begins a few days before Christmas. Both children are excited for Christmas day, but Robert is one of those inconsiderate children who you just know will have to learn a lesson before the story ends. He breaks a plant pot of his mother’s, forgets to post the last-minute Christmas cards, spills red ink on the tablecloth and slaps his sister.
He does feel bad about it all though and goes out to buy his family some extra presents to make up for it. On Christmas morning he wakes up to find his mother has followed through on her threat – his stocking from Father Christmas is full but the pillow-case which had been put out for family presents is quite empty.
He is understandably upset until he later discovers that Bonny the dog has chewed a hole in the pillow-case to get to some chocolates and his presents have just fallen down the side of the bed. Still, his accidental fright made him a much nicer boy!
It’s Christmas Time!
This can be found in the Fifteenth Tell-A-Story Book from 1966, and a few others, but later (including in Enid Blyton’s Christmas Treats by Hodder in 2017) it has been renamed Bunny’s First Christmas.
I can’t read this without singing it to the tune of Do They Know It’s Christmas? by Band Aid (the original from 1984, obviously, with those lines sung by Paul Young).
Needless to say this story is not Enid predicting a 1980s charity record. Instead it is about some toys in a toy-shop, a little rabbit toy in particular. His best friend is a sailor-doll and so he is most upset when the sailor-doll is sold to an old woman for her grand-daughter Mary and he is left in the shop.
He is soon sold, along with lots of other toys for a party. He finds himself disconcertingly near the top of a Christmas tree until he is given to a rather ungrateful boy called Peter. Peter is taking a jigsaw home for his sister, as she wasn’t well enough to go to the party, but she agrees she’d rather have the rabbit and so he keeps the jigsaw.
There is an even happier ending as the rabbit realises that Mary has been given a sailor-doll by her grandmother.
Some storybook stories
Most of these storybooks are not new to me, but several of the stories don’t have an obvious Christmas connection in the title – the first one excepted, I don’t know how I missed that one, especially as I used an illustration from it in Eileen Soper at Christmas.
One Christmas Eve
This is a slightly religious story from The Bright Story Book, originally published in a periodical called Crescendo, and it doesn’t appear that it has been published in any other collections.
Simon, a simple man, goes into a church on Christmas Eve to play his fiddle in front of the nativity scene and is briefly transported to a field of shepherds where he witness a group of angels singing Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth, goodwill towards men. (This appears to be Luke 2:14 from the King James bible.)
When he returns to the church Simon still remembers the melody and although he cannot write it down he plays it for the people of the church.
The Cracker Fairies
In this story (originally from Sunny Stories no 153 though I have it in the Lucky Story Book, and it has reprinted a few times including in Hodder’s Enid Blyton’s Christmas Wishes, 2020) Elsie and William are unhappy as they are confined to bed on Christmas day due to bad colds. Their mother is busy preparing for several family members to arrive for a meal so they are left alone.
Twelve fairies are passing and see how miserable the children are, and end up hiding in a pack of crackers to avoid the mother when she checks on the children. So of course when the children pull the crackers along with the hat and little toy, they discover a fairy in each one!
The fairies play with the children all afternoon and cheer them up, before leaving them with a tiny magic wand each.
I really feel for Elsie and William. They only have colds yet are not allowed out of bed on Christmas Day! They aren’t allowed any visitors and their mother is too busy for them. It seems laughable now that children would be confined to bed due to a simple cold.
Annabelle’s Little Thimble
This one is the last story in the Gay Story Book, and not easy to recognise as a Christmas story without actually reading it. It was first published in Sunny Stories in 1933, and has also been published as a single volume in 1972. It also appears in Enid Blyton’s Christmas Tales (Hodder, 2016).
It begins some time before Christmas as Annabelle is doing some sewing with her beloved silver thimble. She leaves it sitting out when her auntie arrives and their pet jackdaw Rascal immediately goes off with it. He sees cook, preparing the Christmas pudding and putting in lots of shiny silver things. He sneaks the thimble in too, to hide it away, and of course nobody thinks to look there!
Cook, well, I was about to say cooks the Christmas pudding but I suspect they are steamed? I’m not sure, I just know I don’t like them! Anyway, when the pudding is served on Christmas day Annabelle is reunited with her thimble as luckily it ended up in her slice. (All I can think of is that it’s a bit gross that the jackdaw pushed the thimble into the mixture and then moved it around with his beak, and then the family ate it. He’s a pet so probably cleaner than a wild bird, and the pudding was heated somehow, but still. Yuck).
The Little Piggy Boy
This is another non-Christmassy sounding story, from A Book of Naughty Children this time (Sunny Stories no 47 originally, and not republished). This story is similar to The Enormous Christmas Stocking from My Enid Blyton Book No.3 which came out six years later. (A description and illustration from that story can be found here.)
This story is about a greedy boy called Podgy. It says that he was called Podgy because he was so fat, so I wonder what his name really was! Even his mother calls him Podgy. Anyway, he’s fat because he eats too much. Many extra helpings of meals especially puddings and spends all his money on sweets.
His mother calls him a little piggy-boy and tells him not to be so greedy, how charming! At Christmas he puts up three stockings in the hope of three times the presents. When Santa Claus arrives he starts filling the three stockings but Podge sees he is filling them with turnips and potatoes!
He challenges Santa who says that he gives vegetables to pets, and that although he is surprised to find a pig in pyjamas in a bed, he will still fill the stockings. Podge argues he is a boy not a pig, but Santa doesn’t believe him and leaves him with the vegetables instead of toys.
Podge is embarrassed so he removes the vegetables, he’d rather his mother think Santa forgot him than thought him a pig! He learns a lesson from this and starts to slim down.
Poor Podge! Brought up with no limits on food, clearly, allowed to eat six cakes for pudding, and all his mother can do is call him names! Even Santa is pretty harsh – fair enough punish him for being greedy over Christmas presents, like he did to Margery in the story linked to above, but no need for so many personal comments about his appearance. Perhaps it’s not surprising that it wasn’t used again after The Book of Naughty Children.
On Christmas Night
This is a slightly strange story. It’s also a very short one, just two pages, less really as there are two large illustrations. It features twins Dan and Daisy who appear in over a dozen short stories in the Foyle’s Flower Story Books – this one being in The Foxglove Story book. Originally it was published in Good Housekeeping in 1945, but also appears in The Enchanted Bellows and Other Stories in 1996 (Award version) and 2015 (Bounty).
Dan and Daisy really want to see Santa Claus when he comes so they set up some traps for him – a bowl of water, a pile of books, a load of string tied everywhere. In the night someone spills the water, knocks over the books and gets caught in the string. Only it’s not Santa, it’s their father who is rather cross and mutters that they won’t have a single thing in their stockings if this is the way they behave!
The last line is “Perhaps he will fill our stockings,” whispered Daisy. He did – but they didn’t deserve it, did they?
I think this is odd as it’s so ambiguous, as an adult I laugh because I know what Daddy was doing in their bedroom in the middle of the night but of course the twins don’t. The last line refers only to he as well, so is this a Blyton nod to the parents perhaps reading this to their children? If so it’s unusual for her, she doesn’t normally include jokes for the grown ups in the way that, say, Disney movies do.
The Christmas Party
This second Christmas story from The Foxglove Story Book is perhaps half a page longer than the previous one. Originally published in Teachers World in 1931 it might appear in some newer collections but it’s hard to know as Blyton frequently reused titles for new stories.
It is about Donald, an only child who is home-schooled and so doesn’t have any friends. Just after Christmas he is out in the garden wearing his new Red Indian suit and he ends up being dragged into the fancy-dress party next door, as someone thinks he is a late invited guest.
He has a lovely time at the party, there is a wonderful party tea, after which they play musical chairs and there’s a conjurer to amuse them. Despite nobody knowing Donald everyone likes him as he is well-mannered and friendly to everyone. He wins the prize for the best fancy-dress outfit and tells everyone he can’t accept as he wasn’t even invited (he did try to tell them at first but nobody was listening). The hosts are kind and say he can keep the prize and must come to play again.
Bit strange that they didn’t notice an extra child! Or that the boy next door was there without being invited (maybe the costume was so good he was unrecognisable, though!)
The Extraordinary Christmas Tree
From the Water-Lily Story Book this story was first published in Sunny Stories no 395, and quite possibly appears in a few post 1990 books too, it’s definitely in Enid Blyton’s Christmas Tales by Hodder (2016).
It is about two naughty imps, Ping and Pong, who steal a Christmas tree from Witch Green-Eyes’ garden. They assume it’s one of her trees that grows presents on Christmas morning, but in fact it’s one of the ones that grows enormous overnight, perfect for big Christmas parties. By Christmas morning it has grown through their bedroom floor from the room downstairs and later it’s through the roof.
The only way to get rid of it is to ask Witch Green-Eyes. In typical Blyton style the naughty elves are well-punished for their thefts in more than one way.
And a puzzle
I won’t describe this, I’ll just add a scan so you can try to solve it yourselves! (Click the picture to see it larger; the blue parcel near the top reads PINTAS in case anyone’s struggling).