Christmas for Axel

Christmas present

Axel thought of Christmas, then he tossed a frozen bale. The cowhand had no 

fam’ly. He was fresh, right out of jail.

Christmas wasn’t Axel Harker’s favorite time of year. He lived out in the 

bunkhouse and he needed winter gear.

The foreman’s wife loved Christmas. She could mother anyone. She taught the 

cowboys ’bout the birth of Heavenly Father’s Son.

She reminded all the cowboys, “You’ll be home on Christmas Day. But Axel is 

alone, could use a gift or two his way.”

The cowboys had no money, so they chose a piece of tack. Floyd had an extra 

rope of horsehair dyed in black. 

Wilbur found two right hand mitts and pulled one inside out. Axel would have a 

proper pair just good enough to tout. 

Whitey had a second coat which no one did back then. He wrapped it in a gunny 

sack and placed in Axel’s bin. 

Dalley spent the day in town. The feed store had a hat. The owner said, “It’s 

yours for free.” Can’t beat a deal like that. 

The foreman’s wife was quite a gal. She made a brand-new shirt. She tore up one 

old tablecloth and one well worn-out skirt. 

With presents wrapped and put away, those cowboys felt akin to a quiet man 

who they called friend. Now Christmas settled in.

Axel woke up Christmas morning, went out to do the chores. He fed the cows and 

gathered eggs, swung open all their doors.

Axel wondered if this Christmas Day he’d be alone. The cold wind, unforgiving, 

chilled him right down to the bone. 

Then walking back toward the house, he noticed teams and sleighs with cowboys 

and their families too, tucked tightly in the hay. 

They all sat down for breakfast. It was dang near half past ten. Then the 

foreman’s wife set out the gifts to Axel from the men.

The tears of joy that freely flowed which once seemed out of place were now a 

part of this old cowboy’s worn and grizzled face.

With children smiling back at him he heard the foreman say, “Merry Christmas to 

you Axel on this very special day.”


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