The moon was high and the snow thick on the ground as Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, Peter, Susan and Lucy hurriedly shouldered their bundles and left the cozy dam. Edmund’s disappearance confirmed their suspicions that he was in league with the White Witch and they were in mortal peril. I remember willing Mrs. Beaver to hurry, HURRY, as the wolves sent to kill them got closer and closer.
At last they departed, the children following Mr. Beaver on a path that meandered next to the frozen river. I pictured that scene so many times, envisioning the white world glowing and magical in the moonlight. I imagined the slippery ice of the dam, the deep snow they trudged through, their much-too-big fur coats leaving a trail behind them. I thought hiking all night long must have been horrible, and felt their pain as their burdens felt heavier, their feet dragged and eyelids drooped.
Finally they stopped as Mr. Beaver veered off the path and scurried into a hole in a dense thicket. They climbed in after him, finding a snug little cave, dry and safe from prying eyes. It was cramped and the ground uneven, but with so many bodies (and a sip from Mr. Beaver’s flask!) they were soon warm and fast asleep.
They woke hours later as daylight glimmered through the opening, and were jolted into alertness by the sound of jingling bells. Fear gripped them as Mr. Beaver slipped out of the cave to see who it was, and their hearts leapt in fright as voices drifted down. Surely Mr. Beaver had been caught by the White Witch!
Within moments, however, Mr. Beaver was calling cheerily for them to come out and join him. So blinking and rumpled and dirty, they emerged from the cave and scrambled up the steep bank. There were reindeer and a sleigh and bells, but instead of the evil White Witch stood the massive, bearded, and red-robed Father Christmas. I remember thinking how lucky they were to meet him, how comforting that solid, beaming man must have been after their terrifying flight in the dark.
Father Christmas brought more than presents and jollity that day, he brought strength and a renewed hope that all was not lost. He bestowed gifts on them: a sewing machine for Mrs. Beaver, a mended dam for her husband, shield and sword for Peter, bow, arrows and horn for Susan, and for Lucy a small dagger and a vial of healing cordial.
Then Father Christmas produced a large tray laden with cups and saucers, sugar bowl, cream jug and “a great big teapot all sizzling and piping hot.” And with a shouted “Merry Christmas! Long live the true King!” he was off.
Before the men could get side-tracked examining Peter’s weapons, Mrs. Beaver gathered them round for bread and ham sandwiches and steaming cups of strong tea. What a lovely respite after much danger and tension.
But their adventure had only begun. 🙂
Krista’s Ham Sandwich
2 slices dark rye bread, sliced thin
sweet hot mustard
2-3 thinly sliced pieces of ham
1 large slice Havarti cheese
- Spread bread with mustard and top with ham and Havarti.
- Place under broiler for 2-3 minutes until cheese is melted.