Not all Christmas time giftbringers were men
or old women. The Germans have the gentle, beautiful goddess Frau Holda
who descended to earth in midwinter with her gifts of good fortune and
Frau Holda visits the villages at
Christmas time in a carriage full of presents. When the villagers hear her
coming, they come out of their Home Pages to pay respects to this beautiful
stately lady, dressed in white, her long golden hair falling on her white
goose down cape.
She often rewards the kind people by
shaking her feather cape and the feathers that fall turn to gold coins at
On one occasion it is told, she broke the
shaft on her carriage going over rough ground. A local villager came to
her rescue. He whittled an old piece of wood to match the broken shaft. He
had worked all night in the barn and by dawn the carriage was repaired.
After thanking the man, Frau Holda was on her way. When the man returned
to his barn where he had worked the night before; instead of chips of wood
on the floor, there lay a pile of gold coins.
Frau Holda’s feather cape was not an
ordinary cloak. It was made of down ~ 1 feathers from her flock of white
geese. When cold weather began she would drive her white geese through the
villages where their feathers spread a mantle of white over tender crops
to keep them warm against the early frost.
Today when the first soft snow of winter
falls in the mountain area of Germany, the people say that Frau Holda is
shaking her feather bed.
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