Children Story – The Tempting Gloves

It was Christmas evening. In the Christmas market sparkled numberless lights, and their bright beams were beautifully reflected by the various wares which tempted and invited purchasers.

Many children passed to and fro—gazed with wide-open eyes at the wonderful array of pretty things—and some were induced, after long seeking, to spend the few pennies saved in the money box for this very occasion.

There were parents and other friends of children standing in the well-arranged shops, buying and examining the gifts with which they wished to delight their dear ones.

In the midst of the grown persons and children who thronged the market place, stood a young girl named Magdelain. She was alone, and gazed sadly, with a heavy heart, at the brilliant and beautiful array spread out on every side.

Her parents were very poor, and for this reason had placed her in the service of a lady, where she was employed out of school hours in going on errands, and in working with her needle. For her services she received small wages, which she faithfully took to her parents, who could do little for their own support, having other children to feed and clothe.

Magdelain was sent, this Christmas evening, on an errand by the lady with whom she lived. Her way led through the Christmas market. How gladly she would have purchased some little thing as a Christmas gift! Yet, for that, money was needful, and money she had none.

She thought and said softly to herself, “I could give up playthings, or pretty things I could well use, if I might buy a warm dress, a shawl, or a pair of warm gloves.”

It was very cold. Magdelain shivered, and her teeth chattered, for she was but scantily and thinly dressed. She blew on her half-frozen hands, and wrapped them in her apron.

“I do not want either cakes or candy, or dolls, or playthings. But, oh, I wish so for a pair of warm gloves!”

She drew near to one of the shops where many articles of wearing apparel were sold. The cold wind which blew the candle lights to and fro, seemed to pierce to the very bones of the poor girl, and she tremblingly drew herself together to keep warm.

On the right side of the shop, on the counter, lay a pair of warm woollen gloves, lined with soft skin. Magdelain saw them, and the longer she stood looking at them the better she liked them; they looked, too, as if they would just fit her hand.

Her gaze seemed fastened on the gloves—even from the moment she had seen them her hands felt warmer.

But buy—buy them she could not; they were well made and prettily wrought, and must be expensive.

Then came another thought to her mind, “I will secretly take them.” The shopkeeper stood on the other side of the shop attending to a purchaser, and busily engaged in praising his goods. Magdelain stood alone, unnoticed, beside the gloves.

She thought and reflected—but the gloves were so pretty, and seemed so warm; her hands which she had drawn out of her apron, were quite stiff with frost.

Already she had stretched out her arm; already she was about to seize the gloves and rapidly conceal them. Her whole body was hot and cold by turns; her heart beat loudly; she could scarcely breathe; she trembled. Suddenly pealed out, with clear, startling tones, the organ of the neighboring cathedral.

It was a voice, earnest and warning, speaking to Magdelain’s heart. Quickly she drew back her arm, and the gloves lay still on the counter.

As a voice from heaven did Magdelain receive the solemn organ tones; they seemed to say to her, “It is wrong that thou wouldst do. Thou shalt not steal!”

Magdelain obeyed the voice. She turned to leave the shop just as there entered a lady richly dressed, and warmly wrapped in a cloak of fur.

She examined and purchased some articles, and then took the gloves in her hand which had tempted Magdelain. She demanded the price, and purchased them. Magdelain had seen this, and was glad that the fatal gloves were now entirely removed from her eyes.

The lady turned to leave the shop, and Magdelain recognized her. She was the lady with whom she lived.

Now, for whom had she bought the gloves? Surely not for herself; she could hardly wear them! Her mind occupied with these thoughts, Magdelain went hastily from the Christmas market to attend to the errand on which she was sent.

In returning homeward again, Magdelain came through the market place. She said, as she passed the spot where she had been so sorely tempted, “Oh, what a fearful moment that was! God, I thank Thee, that Thou didst warn and deliver me from the danger which would have destroyed me! No! rather will I hunger and freeze than—”

“Away with you to prison, boy! You will learn hereafter to keep your hands off! We’ll soon cure you of your fancy for stealing. March!”

Magdelain was startled by these harsh words from the revery into which she had fallen.

A police officer had seized a wild, unruly boy, and was taking him off.

Magdelain ran swiftly, with a beating heart, from the market place, and did not pause till she reached home.

She entered the room. Oh, what a surprise! The table was covered with gifts. There were pretty and useful articles—cakes, clothing, and, above all, the well-known gloves.

The lady with whom she lived came kindly to her, took her hand, and said, “Dear Magdelain, because you are so honest and industrious, so kind and true, and have served me so faithfully, take from me, as an expression of my gratitude, a gift. Look! all on the table is your own; take all and be happy!”

Magdelain thanked her with tears of joy and surprise. Strangely, however, did she feel as her mistress singled out the articles, and said, “See, here is a cap, here a pair of shoes, here a shawl! and what do you say to these gloves? Do they please you? Yes, they will keep your hands very warm! Now take all these things to the house of your parents—show them what you have earned by your honesty and industry.”

On her mother’s neck, with sobs and tears, did Magdelain relate to her the story of her sin and temptation.

Her mother said, “My child, pray to be kept from sinful desires; then it shall go well with you!” And at night, before Magdelain went to her bed, she sank on her knees and sent a prayer to her Father in heaven:

“ ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ (Matthew 6:13)! Amen.”

Choice Stories for Children, A.B. Publishing, Inc., ©1993, 99–102.