Wed, 16 November 2011
"The Baker's Dozen" is a holiday story from the Dutch settlers of upstate New York, about a stubborn baker who learns an invaluable lesson about generosity. The story commemorates St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6) a day to honor a legendary figure who also figures prominently in another holiday later in the month.
Many people would be surprised to learn that St. Nicholas was a real person; and they'd be even more surprised to learn where he came from. He lived in the Fourth Century on the island of Lyra, which was then owned by Greece but later became part of Turkey. He was a rather small fellow who apparently had a broken nose. About a thousand years ago, his bones were smuggled to Italy to protect them from invaders, and they've been kept there ever since. But just recently, the Turkish government requested that Italy send them back so they can be put to rest in the place where he was born.
Nicholas was well known for his generosity, which included the habit of leaving coins in people's shoes - thus the tradition of gift-giving in December. Many legends arose around him, and his fame spread to other countries. Among the Dutch, he became known as Sinterklass, which later became the English Santa Claus, and the legends about him blended with traditions from Norse mythology, including the use of reindeer. Dutch settlers in America celebrated St. Nicholas Day by eating cookies shaped like him.
We come to you from Winston-Salem NC, after spending October enjoying the beautiful foliage and the haunting season in Massachusetts, and sending time with our son Zephyr in Rhode Island. And we tell you about our most recent ziplining adventure and our pilgrimage to Mayberry.
Dennis (Baker, Boy) and Kimberly (Narrator, Old Woman, Mother, St. Nicholas)