by Jennifer Green
“Still, still, still,
Weil’s Kindlein schlafen will.”
The song came to an end. It was getting cold now. Jenny rang the doorbell again. Nothing. “They did say we could call here, didn’t they? “
“Yes,” said Toby. “I even phoned my aunt yesterday to remind her. I’ll try her again.” The phone rang and rang. Nothing.
“Shall we try one more?” It was getting late and now she longed for home and nice hot chocolate.
They all nodded.
“What do you fancy then?”
“O Tannenbaum,” said Greg.
They’d barely got through the first verse when the front door was flung open and an elderly man in a dressing gown and slippers came out.
“You can bugger off with the communist claptrap. Go on, the lot of you. Scarper.”
“Granddad, it’s just my German class from school. We’re singing Christmas carols in German to raise money for the RSCPCA. Isn’t Auntie Cynthia there? ”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about. Go on scarper, the lot of you.” And with that he slammed the door.
Toby winced. “I’m sorry miss. He gets a bit forgetful. I don’t know what’s happened to my aunt.”
“Never mind,” said Jenny, “You’ve done really well and we’ve collected a lot of money. All the other people have been very nice.”
“What did he mean though,” said Joanne. “About communists.”
“They use the same tune for the socialist song about “keeping the red flag flying”,” Jenny explained. I imagine he doesn’t know the German song. Anyway, let’s all go home. Come and see me first thing tomorrow and I’ll let you know how much we’ve raised.
Jenny had just finished counting the money when the secretary texted her. “There’s someone to see you in reception.”
She found a youngish woman waiting for her.
“I’m Toby’s aunt,” the woman explained. “I wanted to apologise about my father last night. I’d forgotten Toby had said you were coming and I’d popped over to Tesco’s. And I didn’t hear my phone ring it was so noisy in there.” She bit her lip. “I’m afraid Dad thought you were a bunch of communists.”
“It’s understandable. Don’t worry,” said jenny. “No harm done.”
“How did you get on?”
“We raised £175.70.”
“That’s good, but now you can make it £225.70. He was ever so sorry after he realised what had happened. He just didn’t recognise Toby all wrapped up in his hat and scarf. He panicked a bit.”
“That’s so generous.”
“And he said will you come again next year.”
Jenny nodded. “Of course.”
The bell rang. As Jenny walked back to her classroom she thought what a good idea it had been to go Christmas carolling in German.
About the author
Jennifer Green teaches German and enjoys teaching her students German Christmas songs almost as much as she enjoys writing short stories. Something very similar to this happened to her one year.