Book Lovers' Advent Calendar -- Day Six: The Feast of St. Nicholas

Today, even though it is the Feast of St. Nicholas, I cannot bring myself to eat a corned beef sandwich in honor of the pickled boys that St. Nicholas miraculously revived (sorry, Susan).  I did have a bagel for breakfast, so I am going to say that was in honor of the wheat that the good saint miraculously provided for his starving city -- although actually, I just really wanted a bagel.  And St. Nicholas did secretly throw gold coins into the stockings of three young girls in his town, thus saving them from prostitution and slavery.  So in honor of St. Nicholas I shall have gold foil-covered chocolate coins for lunch.  

I will wash down my chocolate coins with a Coke. Because I mean, come on!

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Here is a great book that has recently been re-published, Kersti and Saint Nicholas, by Hilda van Stockum.  Kersti is a naughty girl (though she is also brave and generous), and a good case could be made that she should get nothing but coal in her clogs on December 6 .  But St. Nicholas (Sinterklaas in Dutch), accompanied by his Moorish assistant, Pieterbaas, sees something more in Kersti -- and we do, too!

Here's the original cover, from when the book was first published in 1940.  When van Stockum was criticized for glorifying such a naughty girl in her story, here's her hilarious response:  "I claim no responsibility for [Kersti's] actions. I had a lovely, sweet, good little story for nice little children and Kersti just came and played havoc with it. She ruined the moral, shocked Pieterbaas, had a very bad influence on St. Nicholas and did not deserve a present at the end. I wash my hands of her."