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The Traveler

A short Christmas story written in the same vein as the parable of the good Samaritan, asks as Jesus asked, “And who is my neighbor?”

The Traveler

Winter came late and just in time for the holidays. The cold white beauty brought cleansing and peacefulness to the tired land. The silence brought all to a world of contentment. At times, a crow would caw and break the silence with haunting beauty. The cold brings everyone inside by the fireplace to nurture eggnog or their favorite drink.

A Traveler with a long trench coat and long beard glided along in the snowy, beautiful day. He approached a small town needing to rest for the night before continuing his journey. He walked toward a house that was well lit with many Christmas decorations. In the front yard there was a mechanical Santa which kept turning left and right saying, “Ho, Ho, Ho.”

He knocked on the door. “Who is it?” said the course voice of a woman.

“I need to stay overnight before I continue my journey,” the Traveler said.

She sized him up and said, “Go away before I call the police.”

“Sorry,” the man said. He turned away and slowly started walking down the street.

The next house he approached was also well lit with Christmas decorations. The whole house was wrapped with Christmas lights. He knocked on the door. A woman with curlers in her hair opened the door. She said, “What do you want, bum?”

“Who is it?” someone inside asked. The woman responded, “Just some bum looking for money.” Turning to the Traveler she said. “Go away; get a job; and stop harassing people.” She then slammed the door in his face.

“Sorry,” the Traveler said as he turned to walk down the road.

The Traveler was tired and cold and needed to find a place to stay for the night. The darkness of the night was slowly enveloping him; the temperature was dropping. Everything seemed like it was standing still. “How the world has changed,” he thought.

Toward the end of the town he saw a small house. On the front door was a red wreath with blinking lights. In the middle was the word, “Love.” The Traveler was very exhausted and needed to find a place to stay. When he knocked on the door, a woman in her 50’s opened it. “Can I help you, Sir?” she asked.

He looked at her with a tired, pale face and said, “I need a place to stay just for the night before I continue my journey.”

“Please come in,” the woman said. He shook the snow from his boots and walked in.

As he walked into the house, the Traveler saw a picture of Jesus with outstretched hands and many figurines around the picture. “We do not have much to offer you,” the woman said.

“All I need is a place to stay. Thank you,” he said.

“You must be very hungry. I have some bean soup and crackers and cocoa,” the woman said.

The Traveler responded, “That would be wonderful. Thank you very much.”

As she brought the soup to him, the Traveler saw how etched her face was from the pain of yesterday. Her face looked kind and sincere. “I’m a widow,” she said. “My husband died from cancer. As you can see, I’m disabled. I live on my disability pension and have a son who is ill with pneumonia.”

“I am so sorry,” the Traveler said with sincerity.

“Please do not say, ‘Sorry.’ I am doing fine; I just don’t have fancy things as others do,” responded the woman.

“Tell me about you, Stranger,” said the woman as she poured more cocoa in his cup.

“I am a traveler with a mission to see how people live and what their lives are like.” The Traveler finished his soup and thanked the woman for his food. The Traveler then asked if he could see the woman’s son. The woman showed the Traveler to her son’s room and then left to take the dishes to the kitchen to wash.

The Traveler walked into the room, sat on the son’s bed, and then asked, “How are you, Son?”

Startled, the boy slowly lifted his head and said to the Traveler, “OK, Sir.”

The Traveler spent all evening with the boy.

In the morning when the boy woke up, the Traveler was gone. The boy felt so much better, he got up and went to the kitchen looking for the man. The woman was still sleeping. The boy made himself breakfast of cereal and hot cocoa. He was about to finish his breakfast when his mother walked into the kitchen and asked where the stranger was.

“I don’t know, Mother, but I feel 100% better. Who was that man?”

“A Traveler,” his mother responded.

“Mother, look on the mantle; there’s a letter from that man.”

The mother opened the envelope. Inside were three gold coins and a letter. With trembling fingers, she opened the letter. The letter began:

“Dear Margaret”

“How did he know my name?” she thought.

***********************************The Letter***************************************

Dear Margaret,

Your house was the last stop I came to before I departed to the place I came from. Your kindness is very precious and I will never forget it. I’ve traveled through the world and I saw the suffering of many. This suffering saddened me.

I traveled through Asia and Africa stopping in Namibia. There people have little but are very welcoming and loving. I stopped at one house made of straw with a dirt floor. The dwellers in this home welcomed me in with open arms and gave me bread and coconut milk. Afterward, their two girls danced a traditional dance for me. In the morning, the whole village danced and sang a farewell song: ‘Love the whole world as we love you.’

So called civilization may give you comfort but most people are empty shells. Traveling throughout the world, I saw many sad and unhappy faces. I also so many people who had few material possessions but big hearts. We must always remember to look for those with big hearts not big wallets. Love could be a great force for spiritual enlightenment and a happy existence. So we need to try to love each other.

Some of us gaze upward for the answers they seek through their lives. The answer is within you if you have the time to look for it. I’ll rest with the thought of those who believe in love and seek it. Love is like an ocean of emotions entirely surrounded by an expanded universe.



Vladimir Petrov is a member of the Covington/Mandeville Louisiana area writing group called the Bayou Writer’s Club.  He has been writing poetry and short stories since he came to the United States from Bulgaria in 1970.

Christmas Story

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Published inChristmas Stories


  1. Vera Vera

    I just loved it! What a heartwarming story full of love and compassion. During mass, a priest once said, give to those in need, you’ll never know when that one person turns out to be God looking for the goodness in people. When I see panhandlers at the street corner, I think of the priest’s message, now I have two to remember. Thank you!

  2. Anonymous Anonymous

    Just read this to my 5 years old for her to go to bed…she fell asleep thru the reading.This is a very good story…LOVE covers a multitude of things…

  3. Connie Young Connie Young

    Wonderful story. Reminds people to remember God loves you. Thank you.

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