My Grandmother was excellent at telling these sort of stories.
But as an animal lover I held on to this tight and believed her.
I believed that at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve, that magic happens.
However most Christmas Eve's were spent in the city where we rented a house.
The cat never talked, rather he seemed perturbed by me interrupting his sleep.
Later we had dogs. They sleepily thumped their tails and rolled over so I could scratch their bellies.
So for a long while I forgot the 'legend' that Grandma told me.
Until I moved to a place where I could keep equine.
One Christmas Eve, I went out into the pasture where some of our mules were...and my horse Cheyanne.
The night was clear, the stars were shining brightly illuminating the snow that crunched under foot.
My animals looked up and walked quietly over to me. Their breathes leaving frosty plumes in the starry light.
Will I tell you what happened next?
Well, I'm not sure myself. Did I hear them speak?
No, but I believe I heard their thoughts very clearly.
Maybe it was that I wanted this legend to be true -- to hear them speak in human tongue.
Maybe I needed it to be true.
Maybe I needed to believe in the magic of Christmas Eve.
The Animals’ Christmas Eve
In the barn on Christmas Eve, after all the people leave,
The animals in voices low, remember Christmas long ago.
One small hen, upon her nest, softly clucks to all the rest:
“Little chicks, come gather near. A wondrous story you will hear.”
The Animals’ Christmas Eve, a Little Golden Book, by Gale Wiersum and illustrated by Jim Robison.
Go ahead, believe in the magic.