It was approaching Christmas and around Bowstown snow began to
It lay thick on the ground and a pretty sight of winter pulled its
white sheet over the rooftops of the tiny terrace houses. Christmas
trees were decorated with brightly coloured lights that sat in the
windows of homes and shops all over Bowstown. Robin redbreasts thrilled
out their winter songs and left their tiny footprints on the carpet of
white snow. Footpaths were being cleared and roads sprinkled with salt
and grit as the snow turned into slush.
As the wind turned cold a crisp edge of ice kissed the crest of the
Children everywhere began to think of what Santa Claus would be
bringing them this year. In every home child were scribbling their
letters to Santa and making sure to be well behaved. All the children
of Bowstown were very excited and in every home they were playing and
laughing. Yes indeed everybody was happy that was everybody except for
one and in every home a warm spirit of Christmas was alive and aglow
that was in almost every home with still that one exception. For in one
home and in the heart of one person
Christmas meant nothing. You see Ardy McGrew was the roughest toughest
kid in Bowstown. Nobody messed with Ardy. The thing was little hardy
Was too big to believe in Santa and much too cool to play with kiddies
So Ardy got his kicks tripping up girls at school and throwing dogs in
the icy river. Ardy beat up small boys and kicked the cats on the
street. He was mighty and mean with his clothes never clean. Ardy was
untidy and always angry. He loved to see people cross over the road as
he came down the street. He hated everything about Christmas and went
around creating havoc. He threw stones at the Priest window and had
broken all the coloured leadlight windowpanes in the little Church in
Ardy broke milk bottles and stole the welcome mats from outside
people's doors. Everyone stayed away from Ardy even his own parents had
given up on him. A few years back Ardys Mum and Dad had written a long
letter to Santa and asked him to stop bringing toys for Ardy. He never
cared anyway he enjoyed making other people sad. He tore down Christmas
decorations in town and ripped open peoples mail before destroying
He loved making snowballs with rocks inside them and threw them at old
men and women on the street. He let down car tyres and emptied rubbish
outside the front door of the peoples home. Ardy was having a wonderful
time as Christmas drew near. He placed trip wires outside people's
pathways and tied a dozen empty tin cans on the tail of the horse that
pulled the milk cart.
What a great time he was having. Just as he was nailing some wooden
planks across the entrance to the sweet shop a soft voice called out to
" Hello there hardy Ardy."
"Who's that. "? Said Ardy and stopped hammering.
'Ardy are you having fun?" The soft voice replied.
"Who are you?" Said Ardy who was getting quite angry now.
"I am the good Christmas fairy." was the reply
" Oh sure and I'm the red nosed reindeer. Here pull the other one now
where are you. Come out and show your face! " Ardy screamed.
"I am right here in front of you." The fairy appeared before Ardy
shimmering and glistening. Ardy took a step back and wiped his
" So lets see the good Christmas fairy wear my hammer "
He slammed the hammer down on the fairy's head but only landed it on
his toe in the process. He tried not to show how hurt he was and kept
his cry buried deep inside him.
"So you're a real hard man then Ardy? " The fairy said.
" I think that you are a nasty little excuse for a boy " Said the
Christmas Fairy who changed her appearance into a snowdrop.
Ardy laughed aloud and said,
" Are you that frightened of me you need to become a drop of snow
"I've been watching all the things you do and I think you need to
soften your attitude Ardy. I think you need to see things differently
for a while."
Ardy reached out to grab the snowdrop and as he did the snowdrop landed
on his head. Suddenly he was propelled through the air and in a matter
of seconds Ardy was thrown down in the shape of a snowman right in the
centre of town near the village clock.
"Here you will remain until you can change your wicked ways and I will
remain here with you, " Said the Christmas fairy.
"Help! Somebody help! " Screamed Ardy.
"No one can hear you Ardy It won't do any good screaming ".
"Put me back how I was "
"I can't do that "
"Ok I'll be good fairy now change me back now! " Said Ardy
"Listen Ardy. You have to face many things before you can hope to be
human again. You need to learn manners and discover love in your heart.
When I think the time is right and you're ready to be human again. I'll
think about changing you into your proper self until then there is no
"How do you expect me to learn all the things you want."?
Ardy watched horrified as a dog came over and cocked its leg and
urinated over Ardy. Then a crow landed on his head and pecked at his
Powerless to fight them off Ardy stood there helpless and watched the
snow fall on Christmas Eve. Christmas day came and Ardy stood there and
watched the children in town come out with their new toys and play in
the snow. Innocently the children played and had fun as Ardy watched
Come over and throw snowballs into his face and poke him with
He could not throw a punch or kick them back. Instead he had to take
whatever they threw at him. It wasn't a nice experience for Ardy.
After a few hours he realised what it felt like to be beaten up and
The next lesson Ardy had was manners. For a week he had to stand there
and listen to all kinds of people talk without butting in to their
conversations even when they said nasty things about him. During this
week he discovered no one had a good thing to say about him. He had
time to think things over.
Ardy began to soften. Feeling very cold and alone Ardy watched his Mum
and Dad come towards him. They stood there beside him as the Priest
asked if there was any news of their boy.
"No Father. Even though we know Ardy is a bad kid, we still love him
and hope that he is ok."
Ardy felt something warm inside him and parts of his body almost
He watched as his Mum and Dad walked off, He screamed out to
"I am the only one who can hear you Ardy."
"Please change me back fairy."
"There is much more to have to see, " Said the Christmas fairy.
"I promise I will change for the better fairy. Just let me be me
" No. "
As weeks passed Ardy saw the daily newspapers with the headlines,
"Little Boy Lost" He watched in silence as some of his neighbours
gather together and form search party for him. He watched them return
each night disappointed that they could not find him. He watched his
parents cry for their lost son. He saw a caring community appeal for
outside help to find Ardy the lost boy from Bowstown. Ardy felt a warm
glow inside and one evening as the Christmas decorations were being put
away he felt movement in his body.
A croak in his voice returned. Ardy was beginning to melt.
His mouth opened them his legs took shape. His arms reached out and he
was human again.
"It is love that has changed you Ardy," said the good Christmas
Ardy embraced the Christmas fairy.
"Love is a beautiful thing, " Ardy shouted.
He gave a hug to the Fairy who winked then disappeared in front of
Ardy ran as fast as he could to his home.
Knocking the door loudly his Mum and Dad answered.
They were so happy to see their son "
"Oh Ardy come in . Where have you been:"
Ardy hugged them and in that wonderful moment tears of joy flowed
freely down all of their faces.
"Is it really you Ardy? " Said his Dad.
"What has happened to you?" Said his Mother.
"Lets not worry about that Mother. Lets have a party and invite
everybody in the whole town." Said kindhearted Ardy with a great big
"A party we will have Son and welcome home."
Well what a party it was. For the first time in his life Ardy played
with the other kids in town. He laughed and sang like never
Hardy Ardy was a thing of the past. Yes he had changed.
As Ardy grew he threw himself into community work.
He coached the local football team and did regular fundraisers for the
charities. As an adult Ardy became a schoolteacher and a parent
He had all kinds of pets at home. Cat's dogs, guinea pigs and
Everywhere he went people smiled at him and said hello.
The Christmas fairy is always around. Everything that goes on is known
and everything that can be changed for the better always will be. So
There will always be someone watching over you. Try and be good for
By Paul McCann