Roger and I had a rare opportunity for adventure in NYC and went to The Strand, a famous bookstore advertising 18 miles of books. We put on a timer for 45 minutes so that there was no chance we’d spend our entire night lost in a bookstore.
Like a magnet, I headed to the Christmas section. I sat on the floor for a log time checking out the huge collection. Having written about Little Women, I was pleased and surprised to find The Quiet Little Woman, a collection of three Christmas-themed short stories that Alcott wrote. The first story is about Patty, an orphan who is adopted into a family. The second is “Tilly’s Christmas.” Tilly (no surprise) is poor. Even in hardship, the two characters are selfless and good, with Christmas and love triumphing in the end. The third story, “Rosa’s Story,” is based on the traditional story about animals being able to talk for one night only, Christmas Eve. Rosa is a horse and relates the take about this special night. (I think Jeremy might need to read this before he starts on the groundhog story.)
The story about how these stories were written may be more interesting than the stories themselves. Several lovers of Alcott’s books complained that the short stories do not live up to the character development that is part of Louisa May Alcott’s novels. According to several sources, a group of Massachusetts sisters were inspired by Little Women and wrote to Miss Alcott about their own little publication, Little Things. She wrote back to them, encouraging them in their efforts. Later over the next few years she sent them some short stories to publish. Stephen W. Hines, a researcher and editor, was able to find these stories and collected three in this volume.