On this Christmas Day, we present to you a re-post of an excerpt from Writers Forum member Michael Brian Brussin’s novel, For King and Kaiser.
The incident Michael writes about here really happened in World War One. I saw several stories around the Internet over this last week about this incident, but of them all, only Michael’s actually puts us in the trenches that day. Michael reminds us that as writers, we can keep these sorts of miracles alive forever through our writing.
Our regular feature, Fridays With Dale, will return next week.
Merry Christmas, all!
Excerpt from For King and Kaiser
By Michael Brian Brussin
Evening came and it began to snow.
“All right—just because it’s Christmas Eve doesn’t mean you can take it easy; that’s just what jerry wants, so stay alert,” Sergeant Wade said to Albert and Jim and the men standing with them.
“We’re on top of things, sergeant, don’t worry,” Albert assured the cautious Sergeant Wade.
“I just wish it wasn’t so perishin’ cold,” Jim said, clapping his gloved hands together.
“Stop your moaning, Jim, it’s Christmas Eve and we’ve got snow; what more do you want?” Albert teased the young cockney.
“Yeah, Christmas,” Jim sighed. “Ya know, it feels like Christmas, even aht ‘ere.”
“It does at that, even in this hellish wasteland,” one of the other soldiers remarked, watching the snowflakes drift onto the parapet and beyond.
It was nine o’clock in the evening and the snow continued to fall. Oil lamps lit English and German trenches, and drum fires burned that had the men taking turns to warm their hands over the flames.
Albert sat by himself with a mug of tea thinking of home. Jim Broadbent sat with another private where they talked about their families and what they would be doing at that moment if they were home. Sergeant Arthur Wade walked up and down in a casual gait, lost in his own thoughts; and Captain Duncan made an appearance, checking on his men and making sure the parapet was lined with watchful sentries.
“Hey, what’s that? What’s jerry doing?” one of the sentries said, peering cautiously at the German parapet.
“What is that?” another sentry questioned.
Sergeant Wade jumped onto the fire step and peered over.
The Germans had acquired Christmas lanterns and placed lit candles inside and put them along the top of the parapet.
The silence was then broken by distant singing.
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht…
The entire carol of Silent Night grew louder and was sung in a beautiful voice.