The Boy Who Wanted Cookies
December 2, 2005
There once was a boy who wanted cookies. It was all he put on his Christmas list.
He was a small boy, with many older brothers. Their lists were filled with toy cars, and exciting games, and air rifles, each list long enough to run from a snowman’s nose all the way to the ground. Each day as Christmas approached, their lists grew longer and longer.
But the youngest boy wanted nothing but cookies. Every night before going to bed, he closed his eyes and wished to Santa: “Please sir, bring me cookies. I have no need of toys; as my brothers always tire of the toys they receive. I have no need of clothes, as I always get their clothes when they grow. I know you cannot make me older, as it is my fate to be the smallest brother for all of my days. But being the smallest, before I can enjoy any Christmas treats, my older brothers have eaten them all. All I want is, for one day, to enjoy the things that regular boys enjoy. A simple bag of chocolate chip cookies just for me is all I need to make my Christmas bright.”
The older brothers teased him mercilessly. “Cookies?” they shouted. “Why would you want cookies? We have cookies every week! Why not ask for a baseball glove, or a hockey stick, so that we can have an excuse to hit you in a competitive environment?” They were big and loud, like older brothers usually are, and they did not understand their younger brother, who was somewhat dainty and inclined to like arts and crafts.
The youngest boy stayed true to his heart, however, and every night he repeated his wish. On Christmas Eve, his heart full of hope, he wished one last time for cookies and went to bed.The next morning, all the boys rushed downstairs. Each older brother ran excitedly to the mountains of gifts surrounding the tree, looking for the tags bearing their names. As long as their lists were, so were their gift piles tall. They jumped in glee, their avaricious little faces red with exertion.
The youngest brother had no pile. He sat quietly on his mother’s knee as his siblings tore into their mounds of loot, each one a tiny tornado of clawing fingers and wrapping paper. In minutes, they were chasing each other around the living room with their new air rifles, board games and lava lamps in hand.
As the last ribbons settled, the mother leaned down to the youngest boy’s ear and whispered. “I think there is one present left. Under the tree.” And sure enough, as the youngest brother crept forward, he spied tucked under the lowest branch of the tree a simple red sack, no bigger than a bag of flour. He pulled the sack from under the tree, gingerly opened it, and inside found …
Chocolate Chip Cookies! Struck dumb with joy, the youngest brother grabbed the first perfect disk from the bag, raised it to his mouth and nibbled on the edge. It was the best cookie he had ever tasted, and he squealed with glee.
The sounds of this happiness gave the older brothers pause. What was this? What treasure had they missed? They gathered around their youngest brother, who continued to nibble away at the most fabulous of cookies, tears forming in his eyes from each mouthful of sweet goodness. The plastic playthings and metal monstrosities in their gift piles did not make them feel this happiness. The oldest brother turned to his mother, and asked, “Why didn’t Santa bring us cookies?”
“You didn’t ask for them,” replied mother. “You asked for toys that will be forgotten by February. You teased your brother for wanting cookies. But he understood that Christmas is a time for simpler joys, and he will have the merriest Christmas of all. Now it’s time for me to start breakfast.”
The older brothers stood there in a circle, crestfallen. The youngest brother finished his cookie, and looking up from his trance, saw their faces. It made him sad. “They are not such bad brothers,” he thought. “Maybe the best gift of all would be to see them smile. I will share these cookies with them.”
But just as he opened his mouth to make this generous offer, his mother left the living room and headed to the kitchen. As soon as she departed, the oldest brother grabbed the sack from his hands. Two others held him down, and a third covered his mouth. Pinned and unable to scream, he watched as his older brothers ate all the rest of his cookies, making unnecessary smacking noises and licking their fingers as they finished each one.
Because that’s what brothers do.
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