As the two boys, nine and eleven years old, hurried toward their home, they were remembering every detail of the past week so they could tell their family.

The Christmas holiday that they had spent with one of their father’s friends in the country, was over. There had been snow and gifts and laughter and fun. But best of all, there had been plenty of food to eat, and the farmhouse was always warm.

Riding back from the country on the bus, the boys talked about how things at home used to be when Father was well and there had been plenty of food and their house had always been warm. Mother laughed often then as she cared for their lovely home.

Now they lived in an old house and there wasn’t even one rug on the cold floors. But riding toward home on the bus, the boys cautioned each other not to talk about the warm comfortable farmhouse they had just left, and especially not to mention the bright and beautiful carpet in the living room.

Once before, the previous summer, the boys had been invited to spend a few days in the country. When they returned, they told the, family about the fun they’d had. Mother s face had been sad and quiet when they talked about how the carpet in the living room had made the whole farmhouse beautiful and about how warm and soft it felt to their feet.

“Someday,” she said, “we’ll have a beautiful warm carpet, too. I promise you.

The boys were almost home, now. They were anxious to share their gifts, to tell about their holidays, and to be with their family again.

The elder of the two boys was first to reach their front door. He ran into the living room and then stopped suddenly, looking down in amazement. There on the floor was a beautiful turkey-red Oriental carpet!

Mother hurried to greet her boys whose eyes were wide and questioning as they looked first at her and then at the floor. Finally, she said, “It s probably silly, but this is my Christmas present to us. I painted it. It won’t keep your feet warm but it is pretty, don’t you think?”

The boys looked at her again, and there at the floor where she had painted a brilliant carpet design over the rough boards. Their eyes filled with tears. The rug was more beautiful than anything they had seen in the country, and suddenly their feet felt almost as warm as their hearts.

Illustrated by Preston Heiselt