It was Christmas Eve, and large, soft snowflakes were gently falling. Three small girls—Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Sarah Amelia, who was often called Pet—were home alone while their widowed mother was at work. The three girls were worried about Santa not being able to get down the chimney, so they decided to sweep a path for him from the outside gate to the front door. Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet were excited as they finished and went inside their home.
In the house was a very large rocking chair, and all three girls cuddled up in it. They were beginning to get tired, when they heard their family cow, Boss, mooing and mooing. “Poor old Boss,” Pet said. “She must be hungry.”
They were quiet for a minute; then Sarah said, “It’s Christmas, and Boss doesn’t have one Christmas present, not even something to eat.”
Caroline came up with a wonderful idea: “Our mattress is filled with nice dried grass. Let’s feed it to Boss.”
So Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet pulled the covers off their bed, struggled to get a good hold on the mattress, and pulled it into the front room. They put on their coats and gloves, then dragged the mattress through the doorway and over to the barnyard. They ripped open the mattress and dumped the grass out. Old Boss stopped mooing and got busy eating her Christmas Eve supper. The very tired girls returned to the house. They curled up in the big rocking chair and were soon fast asleep.
When their mother got home, she awakened the girls and told them to go to bed. Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet told her that they couldn’t because they had fed their bed to the cow. So that night their mother let them sleep in the big rocking chair.
Sometime that night, Santa came and filled their stockings with yummy things to eat. And the next morning a good neighbor came with a load of hay and straw. So old Boss got a second Christmas present, and Mary Ellen, Caroline, and Pet got a new straw bed.