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Part 4 of Midday After One - "Stories of the Season," where notable community members and Minnesota Public Radio staff read their favorite holiday tales.

MPR’s Dave Schliep reads "Too Many Gifts" by Anne Marie Pierce.

Giovanna D'Agostino, better known as "Mamma D", a restaurateur and cookbook author, reads her original poem entitled "The Befana."

MPR’s Kate Moos reads "St. Francis and the Sow", a poem from the book “Mortal Act, Mortal Words.”

MPR’s Kate Smith reads “The Fir Tree” by Hans Christian Andersen.

Read the Text Transcription of the Audio.

Dave sleep reading Anna Maria Pierce has too many gifts. It was a very long time ago in a place. I can't remember almost like magic. There was a man he was difference. Not the Killer really just unusual. He was curious. He invented things they can make people smile. He called himself Santa no one asked why it was a kindly name as was the man people like tin man. He like them back. Santa especially enjoyed the children he watched them play. He studied their faces there. He saw honesty and trust he sense their curiosity like him their Joy was discovery. Santa made them special games. He captured their attention. His ideas were fun. But the challenge was real how he loved them. Their laughter was his reward slow. He reached a decision. The children would be his work is to elimination his classroom. The Earth is dream that all would be gifted. He had many ideas it work 4 hours. His Joy was endless each day, the children played around him. He loved their company, but he was distracted every minute every hour was so important. He soon realized he must be alone. Only dedication would fulfill his dream. So Santa what a way. He left with a promise once a year. He would return to the children. He travel at night bringing each a gift a special gift a wondrous gift full of ideas gift of imagination Word spread the excitement grew so they were new places and many children looking for Santa too many stops for just one man. There had to be helpers. But who and where could they be? Then he remembered the grown children those we had visited before could they share the gifts with others? Define Benny eager to learn they worked quickly so that all of the children could know the dream. What's Santa they developed endless supplies of fantasy and myth? Years of past the plan is unchanged. Santa visits the youngest children planting the seed of discovery later is assistance see that the magic continues in time the children grow to become helpers and the cycle repeats. There have been so many gifts. There is Wonder and Delight mystery and challenge a world of dreams for everyone. And somewhere keeping track of them. All is Santa. I believe he is happy. Too many gifts was read by Minnesota public radio's Dave sleep restaurateur and cookbook author Giovanna D'Agostino better known as Mama Dee reads her original poem entitled. The bafana The Legend of the bafana says she is the Italian Santa Claus or the Christmas switch. Your is Momma Dee with her memories of this Italian custom. The bafana comes to our homes to bring many Christmas gifts and you can be sure it brings much joy and happiness and gives us many lips Christmas Eve in Italy is something precious as can be your plan for 13 dishes, which makes it special for everyone to see no meat is allowed on the menu for it is a NoNo to eat need to see British said if you do you'll die like a dog and you'll have to leave we have pasta with cod fish beans and vegetable dishes Galore fruits lupini beans. Italian fruit cake and cookies of which you want more the table is set for 13 places one for each Apostle and one for Jesus our lord when she hears Lipton tea for a guest who may come Uninvited and who can't afford to eat. He is the younger guests for the whole evening of fun and he brings to the family of bright Ray of love and son. This is the evening. The lights are still only at all to the house. If you did this any other time, your mother would hit you in this would be the cause the table you ate Primrose left for all evening long. And you ended up singing a great Italian song. Then when men that came around you got dressed to go to mass and pray after Mass was said you came home and started to eat again without delay everyone starts to hug and kiss everyone in the room and wish each other a bun. Connect all day the smiles on their faces covered with tiredness. They were beaming from the long State finally one by one. They started to depart to go home with love for just being together was a blessing they all enjoyed from above with Christmas Day arriving. We had a lot to be thankful for for God's kindness to love. We realized all good things. We enjoy can really come from above. That was Giovanna D'Agostino better known as Mama D reading her original poem The bafana Know Minnesota public radio's Kate most read the poem from the book Mortal X mortal words. Saint Francis and the sow by Galway kinnell the bud stands for all things even for those things that don't flower for everything flowers from within of self blessing though. Sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness to put a hand on its brow of the flower and Retail it in words and in touch it is lovely until it flowers again from within of self blessing as st. Francis put his hand on the creased forehead of the South and told her in words and in touch blessings of Earth on the south and the South began remembering all down her thick length from the Earthen snout all the way through the father and slops to the spiritual curl of the tale from the hard spining a spiked out from The Spine down through the Great. Broken heart to the blue milk and reminisce spurting and shattering from XIV eats into the 14 miles of sucking and blowing beneath them the law song Perfect loveliness of Sal Saint Francis and the Saw Red by Kate moose. Minnesota public radio's kayce Smith reads Hans Christian Andersen's the fir tree How did the forests to the pretty little fir tree it had a good place? It could have sunlight are there was in plenty and all around groom any larger comrades Pines as well as first but the little fir tree wished ardently to become greater. It did not care for the warm sun in the fresh air. It took no notice of the peasant children. But what about talking together when they had come out to look for strawberries and raspberries off and they came with a whole potful or headstrong berries on a straw then they would sit down by the little fir tree and say how pretty and small that one is and the tree did not like to hear that at all. So if I were only as great a tree is the others side the little fir then I would spread my branches far around look out for my crown into the wide world the birds would then build nest in my boss and when the wind blew I could not just as grandly as the others Yonder. He took no pleasure in the sunshine in the birds. And in the red clouds that went sailing over him morning and evening when it was winter in the snow lay all around why you can sparkling a hair with dolphins jumping along and Spring right over the little fir. Oh this made him so angry but to Winters went by and when the third came the little tree had grown so tall that the hair was obliged to run around it. How to grow to grow and become old that's the only find thing in the world. The tree in the Autumn wood cutters always came and felt a few of the largest trees that was done this year too and a little fur which was now quite well grown shuttered with fear for the great stately trees fell to the ground with a crash and their branches were cut off so that the trees looked quite naked long and slender they could hardly be recognized but then they were laid upon wagons and horses drag them away out of the wood. Where were they going what Destiny awaited them in the spring when the swallows in the stork came the tree ask them. Do you know where they would take him? Did you not meet them the swallows knew nothing about it, but the stork looked thoughtful nodded his head and said, yes, I think so. I'm at many new ships when I flew out of Egypt on the ships were stately masts. I fancy that these were the trees they smelled like four, I can assure you there stately. Very stately. Oh that I were only big enough to go over the sea. What kind of thing is this C and how does it look it would take too long to explain all that said the stork and he went away. Rejoice in thy youth to the sunbeams rejoice in my fresh growth and in the young life that is within me and the wind kissed the tree and the do web tears upon it but the fruit tree did not understand that when Christmas time approached quite young trees were felled sometimes trees which were neither so old nor so large is this fir tree that never rested but always wanted to go away these young trees which were almost the most beautiful kept all their branches. They were put upon wagons and horses drag them away out of the wood. Where are they all going to ask the fir tree? They're not greater than I indeed. One of them was much smaller. Why do they keep all their branches weather are they taken? We know that we know that trip The Sparrows Yonder in town. We looked in at the windows. We know where they go. Oh, they're dressed up in the greatest Pomp and Splendor that can be imagined. We've looked in at the windows and have perceived that they are play. In the middle of the warm room and adorned with the most beautiful things gills apples Honey Cakes play things and many hundreds of candles and then ask the fir tree and trembled through all its branches and then what happens then why we have not seen anything more said The Sparrows but it was incomparable perhaps I may be destined to tread this glorious path when they cry the fruit tree rejoicing Lee that is even better than traveling across the sea how painfully I long for it. If it were only Christmas now now I am great and grownup like the rest to wear let away last year. So if I were only on the carriage if I were only in the warm room among all the Pomp and Splendor and then yes, then something even better will come something far more Charming or else why should they are doing me? So there must be something grander something greater still to come but what? Oh, I'm suffering. I'm longing. I don't know my What is the matter with me rejoicing us said Aaron Sunshine rejoice in my fresh youth here in the Woodland but the fruit tree did not rejoice at all. But it grew and grew winter and summer it stood there green dark green the people who saw it said that's a handsome tree and a Christmas time. It was felled before any one of the others the axe cut deep into its marrow when the tree fell to the ground with a sigh it felt a pain a sensation of faintness and could not think it all of happiness for it was sad parting from its home from the place where it had grown up it knew that it should never again see the dear old companions the little bushes and flowers all around perhaps not even the Birds The Parting was not at all agreeable. The tree only came to itself when it was unloaded in the yard with the other trees and heard a man say this one is perfect. We only want this one now to servants came and gay live grease and carry the fir tree into a large Beautiful Salon all around the walls hung pictures and by the great stove to the large Chinese vase with lions on the cover. They were rocking chairs silk and sofas great tables covered with picture books and toys worth a hundred times $100 at least the children said so And the fruit tree was put into a great tub filled with sand but no one could see that it was a tub for it was hung round with Green cloth and stood on a large many colored carpet. Oh how the tree trembled what was to happen. Now the Servants of the young ladies also decked it out on one branch. They hung little Nets cut out of colored paper every night was filled with Sweet Pete's golden apples and walnuts hung down as if they grew there and more than a hundred little candles red white and blue were fastened to the different bows dolls that look exactly like real people the tree had never seen such before Swan the pain the foliage and high on the summit of the tree was fixed a tinsel star it was splendid. This evening set all this evening. It will shine go thought the tree that were evening already over the lights May soon. Be lit up. When may that be done? I wonder if trees will come out of the forest to look at me will the sparrows fly against the pains shall I grow fast here and stand adorned in summer and winter? Yes, he did not get badly but he had a complete backache from Mere longing and the back ache is just as bad for a tree as the headache for a person. At last the candles were lighted what a Brilliance what's blender the tree trembled? So in all its branches that one of the candle set fire to a green twig and it was scorched Heaven preserve us cry the young ladies and they hastily put the fire out now the tree might not even tremble. Oh that was terrible. It was afraid so upsetting fire to some of its ornaments and it was quite bewildered with all the Brilliance and now the folding doors were thrown open and a number of children rushed in as if they would have overturn the whole tree. The older people followed more deliberately the little one stood silent but only for a minute and then they shouted till the room rang they danced gleefully round the tree and one present after another was plucked from it. What are they about fell out the tree what's going to be done? And the candles burn down to the twigs and as they burn down they were extinguished and then the children received permission to under the tree. Oh, they rushed in upon it so that every Branch cracked again if the tree had not been fastened by the top and by the bottom it would have fallen down the children danced about what they're pretty toys. No one looked at the tree except one old man who came up and peeped among the branches but only to see if a fig or an apple had not been forgotten Astoria story shot of the children and they drew a little fat man tour the tree and he sat down just beneath it for then we shall be in the Greenwood. He said and the tree may have the advantage of listening to my tale, but I can tell only one will you hear the story of Eva David or a jumpy jumpy who fell down stairs and was still raised up to honor and married the princess eBay David Ackroyd some others and there was a great crying and shouting Only the first tree was quite silent and thought shall I not be in it shall I have nothing to do with it? But he had been in the evenings amusement and had done what was required of him and the Fatman told about clumpy doompy who fell down stairs and yet was raised to honor and marry the princess and the children clap their hands and cried tell another tell another for they wanted to hear about Eva David, but they only got the story of clumpy doompy the fir tree stood quite silent and thoughtful never had the birds in the wood told such a story is that so don't be don't be fell down stairs and yet came to honor and marry the princess. Yes. So it happens in the world. The fir tree and believed. It must be true because that was such a nice man who told it well who can know perhaps I shall fall down stairs to win Mario princess. And it looks forward with pleasure to being a door and again the next evening with candles and toys gold and fruit tomorrow. I shall not tremble it thought I will rejoice and all my Splendor tomorrow. I shall hear the story of Humpty Dumpty again and perhaps that Aviva David of 2 and the tree stood all night quiet and thoughtful. In the morning servants in the chambermaid came in now my Splendor will begin a fresh start the tree but they dragged him out of the room and upstairs to the Garret and here they put him in a dark corner where no daylight shown. What's the meaning of this. The tree? What am I to do here? What is to happen? And he leaned against the wall and thought and thought and he had time enough for days and nights went by and no one came and when it length someone came it was only to put some great boxes in a corner. Now the tree stood quite hidden away and the supposition was that it was quite forgotten. Now it's winter outside. The tree the Earth is hard and covered with snow and people cannot plant me therefore. I suppose I'm to be sheltered here until spring comes how considerate that is. How good people are if it were only not so dark here and so terribly solitary not even the little hair that was pretty out there in the woods when the snow lay stick in the hair spring past. Yes, even when he jumped over me, but then I did not like it. It's terribly lonely up here. Set a little mouse and crept forward and then came another little one they smelled at the fir tree and then slipped among its branches. It's horribly cold. So the two little mice or else it would be comfortable here. Don't you think so you old fir tree? I'm not old at all said the fir tree. There are many more older than I Where do you come from ask the mice? And what do you know they were dreadfully inquisitive tell us about the most beautiful spot on earth. Have you been there? Have you been in the store room where the cheese is lie on the shelves in the hams. Hang from the ceiling where one dances on Tallow candles and goes in thin and comes out fat? I don't know that replied the tree, but I know the wood where the sun shines and where the birds sing and then it told all about its youth the little mice and never heard anything of the kind and they listened and said what a number of things you have seen how happy you must have been. I said the fir tree and thought about what it is told. Yes, those were really quite happy times. But then he thought of Christmas Eve when he had been hung with sweetmeats and candles. Oh said the little nice how happy you have been you old fir tree. I'm not old at all said the tree I only came out of the wood this winter. I'm only rather backward in my growth what Splendid stories you can tell said the little nice and the next night. They came with four other little nice to hear what the tree had to relate and the more it said The more clearly did it remember everything and thought those were quite merry days, but they may come again. He fell downstairs and yes, he married the princess perhaps I may marry a princess too. And then the fir tree thought of a pretty little birch tree that grew out in the forest for the fir tree that Birch was a real princess. Who's going to be jumpy as two little mice and then the fir tree told the whole story. It could remember every single word and the little mice were ready to LEAP to the very top of the tree with pleasure next night a great many more mice came and on Sunday even two rats appeared but these thought the story was not pretty and the little mice were story for that for now. They also did not like it so much before do you only know one story ask the rats only that one replied the tree. I heard it on the happiest evening of my life. I did not think then how happy I want it's a very miserable story don't you know any about bacon and Tallow candles a storeroom story? No said the tree then we'd rather not hear you said the rats and they went back to their own people the little mice at last state away also, and then the tree side and said it was very nice when they sat around me the merry little nice and listens when I spoke to them now that's passed to but I shall remember to be pleased when they take me out. When did that happen? Why would one morning that people came and rummaged in the Garret the boxes were put away and the tree brought out. They certainly threw him rather roughly on the floor but a servant dragged him away at once to the stairs where the daylight shown now life is beginning again felt the tree it felt the fresh air in the first sunbeams and now it was out in the courtyard everything passed so quickly that the tree quite forgot to look at itself. There was so much to look at all around the courtyard was close to a garden and hear everything was blooming the Roses home fresh and fragrant over the little paling the Linden trees were in Blossom and the swallows cried. Now I shall live so the trade rejoicing lie and spread its branches far out but alas, they were all withered and yellow and the Tree Lane in the corner among that'll loosen weeds. The tinsel star was still a punt and shown in the bright sunshine. In the courtyard, we're playing a couple of the Mary children would dance around the tree at Christmas time and head rejoiced over it one of the youngest ran up and tore off the golden star. Look what is sticking to this ugly old fir trees had the child and he trod upon the branches till they cracked again under his boots and the tree looked at all the blooming flowers in the Splendor of the garden and then look at itself and wished it had remained in the dark corner of the Garret. It's thought of its fresh juice in the wood of the merry Christmas Eve and of the little my switch it listens. So pleasantly to the story of poopy doopy past past said the old tree, how do I but rejoiced when I could have done so And the servant came and chopped the tree into little pieces a whole bundle. They their it Blaze brightly into the great Brewing copper and its side deeply and each side was like a little shot and the children who are at play their ran up and see themselves at the fire and looked at it and cried but it each explosion which would a deep sigh the tree thought of a summer day in the woods or of a winter night there when the stars beamed you thought of Christmas Eve and of clumpy don't be the only story he had ever heard or knew how to tell and then the tree was burned the boys played in the garden and the youngest had on his breast a golden star which the tree had worn on its happiest evening. Now that was passed and the trees life was passed and the story is passed to the fir tree read by Minnesota public radio's Kate Smith


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