How St. Nicholas Came to Be

The story of the Dowerless Daughters adapted by Santa Mike RVA.

Many, many years ago a father lived with his three daughters. Their mother had died giving birth to the youngest daughter. Although the father worked very hard, they were still quite poor. He knew that it would be best for all three daughters to marry. But that required a dowry, and he had few possessions and even less money.

One evening at dinner as they ate their soup and hard bread, the father said to his daughter’s,

“I am sorry I cannot find for you husbands, but I have no dowry to offer.”

The daughters were sad, but they loved their father.

“We will be happy to stay here with you, Father.”

And so, they did, taking care of the house, feeding the chickens, milking the cow. But one day as they were walking from town where they had traded eggs for bread, they talked about how they wished their life were different.

“If only father were a wealthy man, we would all have husbands.”

The oldest daughter said, “Alas, I am soon to be an old maid.”

A man going to town to sell his vegetables overheard their conversation. After he had sold his crop, he visited the priest.

“Father Nicholas, it is a sad story. I wish that there was something to be done to help these daughters. They love their father so.”

Father Nicholas listened to the story. When the man was gone, he thought to himself,

“I am wealthy with more than I will ever need. I will make a way for the oldest daughter to be married.”

That evening he quietly walked to the house where the father lived with the three daughters. As they were sleeping Father Nicholas quietly opened the window and left a bad of gold.

In the morning, the father found the gold.

“It is a gift from God.”

And so, he was able to provide a dowry for the oldest daughter to be married.

The father told the other two daughters that it would be too much to expect another miracle, but a few months later, a second bag of gold appeared, and the second daughter was married.

Surely God would not perform another miracle the father thought, and yet he determined to keep watch in the night in case the mysterious visitor would return.

In the morning the youngest daughter would wake to find her father asleep in his chair. She would cover him with a blanket and kiss him on the forehead.

“I shall always be happy to stay here with you Father” she would whisper on her way to make his breakfast.

One night a few months later, while the daughter was still sleeping, the father woke to hear the sound of the window being raised. In flew a bag of gold. This time it landed in a stocking hung up to dry by the fireplace.

As the bag came through the window the father reached out to grab the hand of the giver. Then he brought a candle to the window.

“Father Nicholas! It was you all this while.”

“Yes, my son. But please tell no one of what you have learned. You owe me no thanks. Give your thanks to God for he is the one who has provided for you and your daughters. You must let keep this story in your heart and never tell who brought you the gifts.”

“I promise,” the father replied, “I will mention your name only in prayer as I give thanks to God.”

Perhaps the father kept his promise. Perhaps he did not.

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