Pashmina, the Little Christmas Goat – Geraldine Elschner

Tomorrow is Christmas and the children are excited, but Manja is worried. She doesn’t have anything special to serve her children for Christmas dinner. They have beans, but she wants to prepare a nice roast or something that will truly make the day a celebration. She asks Simon, her husband, to go hunting or fishing, anything that will add to the meal. They don’t have money to buy anything.

Simon doesn’t think he’ll be able to find anything on such a cold and snowy day, and he’s right. After wandering around for hours, he still has no meat. He doesn’t want to return empty handed, and keeps looking. Suddenly he hears a noise coming from underneath a nearby thorn bush.

A little goat was trapped in the thorns. Simon thinks this is the answer to their Christmas feast, and he frees the goat from the bush and carries it home. When he opens the door, he shows his wife what he found, and all the children come gathering around to look at it.

The children fall in love with the goat and beg their father to spare its life. Simon agrees, wondering how they will manage to feed the goat when they can’t even feed themselves.

On Christmas Eve, they eat their meal of beans and potatoes. The children proclaim it delicious, with not a single complaint at the simplicity of the meal. They name the goat Pashmina, and she seems very happy too.

Pashmina grew quickly and before long, had an abundant coat. Marja was able to take the coat and knit socks for her family. She also sold the yard she made to her neighbors, and brought in some money that way. They bought a billy goat and soon Pashmina had a little family, which brought forth much more wool, and much more yarn, and soon the family had everything they needed to eat.

What a blessing was given to them on Christmas Eve, not just a friend, but the means to support themselves. Simon showed mercy to Pashmina by keeping her from the cooking pot, and she helped them fill their pot for the rest of their lives.

(This book was published in 2006 by Penguin Young Readers Group and was illustrated by Angela Kehlenbeck.)

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