Short Stories

The Christmas Roast

Once a man found a goose on the beach.

A few days earlier, the November storm had passed. Surely the goose had swam too far, the wind had deflected it and was later thrown to land by the waves.

Nearby, no one had geese, and this was a domestic goose, white.

The man put it under his coat and took it to his wife.

– Here’s our Christmas roast.

Since they had never had animals, they had no place to shelter them either. With poles, boards, and tarred cardboard, the man built a partition near the wall of the house. The woman put bags in and, above all, an old nightgown. In the corner, he placed a container with water.

– Do you know what geese eat? She asked.

“I have no idea,” said her husband.

They tried potatoes and bread, but the goose didn’t touch anything. I didn’t want rice or the rest of the Sunday cake either.

“You miss other geese,” said the woman.

The goose didn’t struggle when they took him to the kitchen. It was quiet under the table. Her husband and wife squatted in front of him to cheer him up.

– We’re not geese! Said the man. He sat in his chair and searched the radio for music.

The woman had sat at the table beside her and was tapping her knitting needles. It was a very nice environment. Suddenly the goose began eating oat flakes and some cake.

“Our dear Christmas roast is adapting,” said her husband.

The next morning, the goose was already walking all over the house. He stuck his neck in the open doors, stripped the curtains, and soiled the entrance carpet.

The house where the husband and wife lived was simple. There was no running water, just a pump. When the man filled a bucket with water from the pump, as he did every morning before work, the goose would come up to the bucket and bathe. The water overflowed and the man had to give it back to the pump.

In the garden was a small wooden house, which was the bathroom. When the woman went there, the goose ran after her and struggled in. Later, he had even started to accompany her to the bakery and the dairy.

When in the afternoon after work the man returned home by bicycle, the woman and the goose were waiting for him at the garden door.

“You already like potatoes now,” the woman said.

– How beautiful he is! – said the husband, having a party on the goose’s head. – So, by Christmas, it will be round and chubby.

The partition was never used because the goose stayed in the heated kitchen every night. I ate more and more. Sometimes the woman would put him on the scale and each time he weighed more.

When at night their husband and wife had dinner, they would begin to imagine the juiciest Christmas dishes.

“Roast goose with red cabbage goes well,” the woman said, scratching the goose’s head on her lap.

The man preferred choucroute over red cabbage, but most important to him were the potato dumplings.

“They have to be as big as my fist and all the same size,” he said.

“And made of raw potatoes,” the woman added.

“No, baked potatoes,” said her husband. Then they came to terms: half boiled potatoes, half raw potatoes.

As they went to bed, the goose lay on their feet and warmed them.

Christmas has come suddenly.

The wife adorned a small Christmas tree, her husband cycled to the grocer and brought everything they needed for supper. I also brought a pound of extra-fine oatmeal.

“Although it’s your last Christmas, I want to, unless you know what it is,” he sighed.

“What I wanted to ask,” said the woman, “was how you think we are going… I mean… we should…” 19459002]

But it did not continue.

For a moment the husband said nothing, and then:

– I can not.

“Me neither,” said the woman. “If it were any goose, yes, but soon this one … No, I can’t.”

The husband took the goose and secured it in the bicycle basket. Then went to the neighbor. Meanwhile, the woman prepared the red cabbage and made the potato dumplings, all exactly the same size.

The neighbor lived relatively far away, but not so much that it took a full day of travel. Nevertheless, her husband only returned at night, the goose quietly sitting behind him.

“I didn’t find the neighbor at home, so we went for a bike ride,” he said awkwardly.

– Never mind! Exclaimed the woman excitedly. “When you left, I thought that if you have something else to go with, the red cabbage with dumplings is not well known.”

The woman was right and had made a good dinner. The goose ate the extra-thin oatmeal at his feet. Later the three of them sat on the couch staring at the candlelight.

In fact, the following year, for a change, the woman made choucroute to accompany the dumplings. And two years later, there was pasta accompanying the choucroute. They are such good dishes that they should not even have any accompaniment.

However, it’s been a long time, and the geese are getting older. Margret Rettich Anne Braun (org.) Weihnachtsgeschichten Würzburg, Arena Verlag, 1991 Translation and Adaptation

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