When telling the following story, use twelve simple little wood figures to symbolize each month. A small pinecone or wool roving wrapped in felt can be the 2020 baby. You can find one small item that reminds you of each month to keep near its associated figure (i.e. noisemaker for January, small felt heart cut-out for February, etc.) If you have a needle felted man or stuffed doll, use him as Father Time with felt or silk wrapped around him as a cloak.
~ Adapted from Emilie Poulsson
If you were in the right place at the right time and had looked in the right direction, you might have seen all this yourself; but since not one of you was anywhere near the Palace of the Future when its great doors swung slowly open, you did not see the people — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve of them — as they came out. But they did come out, nevertheless, and didn’t know what to do or where to go. Before they had much time to wonder, however, an old man stepped forward and greeted them heartily. “Glad to see you, friends! Glad to see you. I knew you would come if I sent for you. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve. That’s right, you are all here. And now I suppose you would like to know why I sent for you, wouldn’t you?”
The twelve friends said they would indeed. “Look, then,” said Father Time, for that was the old man’s name, and he opened his big cloak which he had been holding close about him. The twelve crowded near to see, and what they saw was well worth looking at, for it was a dear, sweet, tiny baby, laughing and cooing and stretching up its pretty hands to be taken. “There!” said Father Time, “that’s my youngest child and his name is 2020. I do not want him to be all alone during his visit upon the earth, and besides there are so many things to be sent with him that he could not possibly carry them all.” “Oh! I’ll go with him!” “And I!” “And I!” shouted the twelve in chorus. “Softly, softly,” said Father Time. “You cannot all go at once, but you shall each have your turn. You shall each carry something for little 2009. My storehouse is right here and we can plan now what you shall each take, so as to have no confusion later. Come, January, you must be the first.”
“Then I will carry this banner,” said January; and he brought a beautiful silken flag from the storehouse. On it was “Happy New Year” in flashing golden letters. January had also a large pack upon his back. This was full of snow, with which he intended to make coats for the children.
“February!” called Father Time, and a little fellow stepped forward from the group and ran into the storehouse. He came out with a package of valentines in one hand and George Washington’s picture in the other. “You have chosen well,” said Father Time; “valentines for fun, and George Washington’s picture to remind people of that good man.”
“March!” “March, where?” said February. “March!” said Father Time, a trifle sternly. “Oh! Excuse me,” said February, skipping off to talk with January.
March was rather a wild looking fellow, and very noisy and blustering; but he showed that he had a good heart and liked to make people happy, for when he came out of the storehouse, he had chosen kites for the children to fly, a big bunch of silvery pussy willows, and a few – a very few – flowers, just one or two daffodils and crocuses and some spears of green grass. “But see,” said he, “and listen! This is my greatest treasure and what will be best loved,” and there was a warbling bluebird perched upon his hand.
“April!” called Father Time. April danced forth from the waiting group, curtsied to Father Time, and ran to the storehouse. She brought out a lapful of violets and a flock of robins.
“And now, May, my dear, run in and choose your items”, Father Time instructed. Another pretty maiden answered this call; and a beautiful sight she was, especially after she had been in the storehouse. She was laden with apple blossoms and wreaths, and carried a long pole; and she walked to the sound of music, for velvety bees hummed about her and birds of many kinds filled the air with their warbling. “Music and dancing and flowers!” said May. “The children shall have a merry time when I am with them.” “Have you forgotten the soldiers?” asked Father Time. “Oh! No,” said May, a tender look upon her bright face. “The most and best of my flowers are for Memorial Day.”
May took her place with those who had gone before, and Father Time called June, saying: “Hurry up, dear June, for there are still many to follow you.” So June made no delay in choosing, but chose well, nevertheless, for she brought roses – roses in such profusion that one could scarcely see her lovely face peeping out from among the flowery branches. “Strawberries, too, good Father Time,” said June “I couldn’t resist taking the strawberries, too.” Father Time smiled fondly. People always smile upon June, for every one loves her.
“July!” called Father Time. Into the storehouse and out again in a thrice bounded a lively boy. “The minute I saw these I knew they were what I wanted,” said he, showing Father Time a package of fireworks and waving an American flag. “Hurrah!” cried Father Time, “that’s right! But have you also the book of American history?” “Here it is,” said July; “these things were fastened to it, so I brought them all along together.” “Right again,” said Father Time. “Flags and fireworks wouldn’t be of much account without that.”
“Now, August, see what you would like from the storehouse.” August returned with golden sheaves bound upon his back, and carrying a great flower-decked basket. “In the basket I have put as much fruit as I can possibly carry,” said August; “and yet there is so much left that whoever takes the rest will have a rich load.”
“That shall be you, September,” said Father Time. “Nothing would suit you better with your warm heart and your strong arms.” September accordingly loaded himself with beautiful fruits – apples, pears, peaches, grapes – just as delicious than those which August had brought.
October was called next. He was a gay, breezy fellow. “Ha. Ha!” he laughed. “Who will be welcomed more than I, with these ripe nuts and these beautiful colored leaves?”
“My faith!” said Father Time. “I fear my storehouse has no more treasures, each one of you has taken so much. Go and look, November.” November came forward rather sadly, but looked cheerful enough after his return from the storehouse. He fairly staggered under the weight of the golden pumpkins and the big fat turkeys which he carried. “What do you say to these?” said he, triumphantly. “But the best thing is in my pocket — a paper which tells that Thanksgiving day belongs to me.” “True enough,” assented Father Time.
“And now, December,” said he, turning to the last waiting figure, “you, I know, will find no warbling birds nor budding flowers; yet are you, above all others, a joy bearer.” December disappeared in the storehouse; but soon stepped out transfigured. No warbling birds had she, indeed, but lacked not for music; for snatches of gladdest carols burst from her lips from time to time. No fresh flowers bloomed for her in beauty and fragrance, but holly berries gleamed brightly among glossy green leaves and a delicious odor came from the little fir tree which she carried over her shoulder. Looking up, one could see a large star which shed its silvery rays upon her.
Father Time’s eyes softened as he looked upon her, and his voice was full of love as he said: “Ah! The best of days and the best of gifts are yours, December. Fitting it is that you should be the last and that the love and joy which you bear should be left to the earth as the last memory of 2019.
For so it shall be; 2020 shall stay no longer than to your last day. And now, friends all,” said Father Time, “will you kindly form in a procession so that each may know certainly when his turn will come?” The twelve laden friends did as Father Time requested and filed slowly past him. He called their names as they went by, that there should be no mistake: (January, February, March, etc.) All were in their right places.
“The hour draws near,” said Father Time. “Hark!”It is striking! Here, January, take the little New Year in your arms. Farewell! “And lo! at the instant that the clock finished striking the midnight hour, January and 2020 appeared upon the earth. And all the other friends laden with their beautiful gifts went back into the Palace of the Future and are only awaiting their turn to come and bless the earth with their bounty.