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Our Children's Christmas Corner.,


Our Children's Christmas Corner. -0 [By "UNCLE WILLIAM."] L RESULT OF THE PRIZE COM- PETITION. In the Children's Christmas Corner, Which appeared in the Weekly Mail on 2H ^Uncle Wimii" invited the opinion -of his nieces and nephews aa to whom they regarded as The Twelve Most Famous Englishmen, offering a prize to the sender of the list con- fining the moat names of those who should oeoure the greatest number of votes. A large were rece'vre^< but the oom- °riL er?d £ rea% in their opinions, no r ninety finding places in the lists eived. Some have given the names of nnca Consort, Abraham Lincoln, Columbus, ongfellow, Barnum, and others who are not Englishmen, being of foreign parentage, and born on foreign soil. In moat of the lists « uhmen and Scotchmen are given, and these WILLIAM" has allowed, inasmuch ml n°^ cau^on competitors on the DanftC^' &tl<^ as' on carefully examining the pf8' ^n(^s it does not affect the result. J7NO?C^E WILLIAM" is considered a famous n*A man ^y some of his nieoes and pnews, but that happy individual, although more Notes than Oliver Cromwell, •Joii t> er^0rce' Charles Dickens, Ruskin, je *roy«i, and other men of light and En rf. regards himself as a famous Point 1&dari' an<* 's nofc' therefore, disap- that his name is not found among a jr. av°ured twelve. In the opinion of these"1"1' ^'ILI'IAM S nieces and nephews the twelve most famous English- juo,d Nelson, The Duke of \V ELI.IXGTOX, Y ILLIAM SHAKSPKAEK, W. E. (JI LADS TONE, Ceneral GORDON, j^-ord BEACONSFIELD, JJAYID LIVINGSTONE, Cborge STKPH UNSON, JOHN MILTON, Lord TENNYSON, Lord SALISBURY, Th ILL1AM Put. he lists whioh contain the greatest number jjv J1.6 names of the twelve most famous jjv the names of the twelve most famous glirshnienhave been received from ALICE MAUD TYNNEY, Roache House, Leek Edge, Leek, Staffordshire. and ALFJRKD KKXDELL, Bay View Place, Sketty, T, Swansea. lists contain nine of the names. As, « ,^re^ore> hoth these competitors are equal, YXCLE WILLIAM will give each of them a prize, and has very much pleasure in forward- ing to the first-named "Crumbs from the Children's Table," by Jessie M. 10. tSaxby (published by George Cauldwell, London) and to the last-named "Sir Aylmer's Heir," by Evelyn Everett-Green (published by T. Iselson and Sons, London aud Edinburgh). How I Spent Christmas. Prizes were offered for the best original ifi*61"5 no^ *° exoeed 400 words, entitled, How I Spent Christmastide, The prize has been awarded to DAVID JONES, King's Court, Tally, Llandilo, to whom UNCLE WILLIAM" has forwarded 'd -Ile Earl's Yacht," by Jessie M. E. Saxby (published by James Nisbet and Co., London). l'be letter rune as follows :— How I Spent Christmastide. A^8'11183' all its joys and happy thought?, arrived. My country friends have rou«J? c'avrn °f day, and have roughly their *,om my pleasant slumbers. I »m soon at 8et out at oace ^or the "plygain," prayer meeting, which is a custom handed 'ondlr. our faUiers which we si ill cherish aud ,,° £ serT0.ih Wales. There we listeu to the hearts pouring forth their grati- Son IA »{ ran'w 10 Divinity that sent His only hatmv world in alt humility. What a Grod/Jj gathering A true worship of 'hat n» • S-Drin58 spontaneously from the heart. we leave in a healthy mood. Time ^crn,rJ*a'ls *or no one* '9 'ime for the early Communion, which I have has sjw°5 to at,ead, seeing that the clergyman Oil rangsy exhorted his flock to show their joy Bug b Messed day by taking part iu that holy pi! feast. Such is the true and real enjoy- tioa of ^stinas Day, and not the mere gratifica- ?he for dinners and good puddings. floor*1 aTrives at last; the postman is at the hrio»,1 nno^ fail to feal interested in what he lokena of the good wishes of my tea. CJ19 soun<* which rings on my ears ? It their r> 11 bell, wlticli summons all to worship *t Us»reV°r; sat forth, and reach the church <* «»8ide its walls 1 see a goodly gathering them »>,» rd^ sona and it cheers me to see Tht!T?,16?~lbe strength aud st »y of Englmd Or tw# *s over> an^ after a friendly greeting i« u0>_ P>rt^ eact> to his own home. The dinner object of our attention. That of the past. As the plain &i S sailed ia,covered with flames, we gave it 06 Jnenflk1" *^rnoou was spent in cailiDg jg and wound up with a short walk. Once xh^°Q '!me ^)r evening service, and we are of the great blessing which Otitis^- '19<^ received on this glorious day. Bo* nearly fading from our sight. of us who are gathered around the b*y> b £ T!: win Live to see another Christmas time arrives and we are asleep. Tb Xn ^oond prize—" Eveline's Key-note, or Cnu»-*?°ny with Life," by Edith Kenyon e(* hy the -Sunday School Union), has n Warded to LILLIE BANNING, 5, Charles-street, for n, Cardiff, "e following 5, Charles-street, Cardiff. William,—I enjoyed myself very 1Christmas-day, and hope you did the 'Uotbi ™y sistor and I went to church in the GhurJ?"'stayed home the rest of the day. The >s Wfc Was very prettily decorated. On the 26th I y •l? a Party. There were about forty there, 'ftg. A10. We "11 spent a very enjoyable even~ *»y lilting ara sorry to say the next day accid Went out int0 t'10 street and had 1m» am not sura Aliat' 't w^s, but I JJ^Uer .b-v a horse. We thought his Jj*d in ?ut of joint, but the doctor whom we i,« -'l was only a bad bruise, so we are ^el»* 0i ■Wl" all right soon. I had about ? think I ',r's^taa3 cards: they were all very pretty. befor lave 'la.^ this year than I have ever r°". did not hang up my stocking, as I On tlle 100 °'d» heing fourteen. *chooJ • "h of thi8 moidh we had a cantata at called "Tho Twin Sisters." I was *° Gould ^.a^6D my sister went away to school, 4 atke part in it. J01* and u. 11 ^oes not sinar, 't only chirps ^'11 hp»-8ni but Perh ips when the spring comes hadT do 80- • ftjy watch-chain for a Christmas present, '>#r a l>ttle silver pencil-caso to hang »r om f^Chain. She put it on, and then *»ty ? or a walk and lost it. Was not that a Q°w' hoping you will have a happy New I remain, Your loving Diece, LILLIE BAKKIKG. The letter of SARAH BILNEY, The Rest, ( Bargoed, is so good considering her age (ten years) that it, UNCLE WILLIAM" must award her an extra prize;— The Rest, Bargoed, December 28th, 1889. Dear Uncle William,I am going to tell you what I did in my Christmas holidays. The first day it rained; the second day it was fine, and I went into the garden with my brothers and had a nice game. On Monday I was busy getting ready for Christmas. We put up the holly and hung up the Chinese lanterns, and sent off Christ- mas cards to our friends. On Christmas Eve we had plenty of fun. We played musical chairs, and hunt the slipper, and hide and seek. We had mince pies for supper, and went to bed at ten o'clock. On Christmas Day we had a lot of Christ- mas cards, and we found several nice things in our stockings, which we hung up b; fore we went to sleep. We have not been to the pantomime yet, but we fire going soon. I remain, Yours truly, SARAH CONSTANTIA BILNEY. Christmas Customs in Wales. The first prize for the best letter descrip- tive of Christmas Customs in Wales- "Smitten and Slain, a Nineteenth Century Romance of Life in China" (published by T. Nelson and Sons)—has been awarded to Hil YS LL. THOMAS, 100 House, Near Buiith. for the following 100 House, near Builih. Deir Uncle William,"—Some of the Christmas customs in Wales are very curious ones. I am afraid that what I will tell you won't be very clear; but I will try to do my best. During the Christmas festivities a party of young men make of wood, &c., an imitation of a horse's head called Pen Ceffyl," or Mari Lwyd," meaning horse's head. To the horse's head is a large mouth, made to open and shut. Fastened to the head are two or three long slender sticks beut into the shape of a horse's back, and over the sticks are sewn: pieces of cloth which hang down to the ground. The inside being liollow, one of the party hides himscif inside, to carry and work it. He has a small rushlight with him, which he lights as soon as he gets inside, and phces it opposite the mouth. Then the party start, on their nocturnal journeys, the man inside opening and closing the "Pen C,;ffyl*s" mouth. Thus they go from one house to another, singing amusing doggerel?, which are often answered in a similar manner by some of the party, who, with the consent of the occupants, have got into the house. When they are finished singing, they go into the housp, and are generally regaled with beer and bread and cheese, and sometimes they are given a sum of money. This curious party is always followed by numbers of children, who, when they are all together, are courageous enough, but when one is alone is filled with horror at the sight of the monster, aud keep3 away at a safe d:stnnce. This "custom" is also known by the name "Canu Wasel." In some parts of Wale, a f JW days before Christ- map, the women are all busy making cyflelh," or toffy." It is made of treacle, brown sugar, and c.irraway seed. When it has boiled enough it is poured into plates nnd cut iuto squares. On Christmas Day, if you weut through the street,you would see nearly every child with its mouth smeared and dirty from eating "Cjfleth." Another general custom in Witles is for people to trim their houses with holly, ivy, & Bunches of miatletoa are often hung up in the middle of the room, under which young people have various gaiues. Churches are decorated at this season with evergreens. At this season, also, the waits" go a: ound in the nights, singing carols, anthems, & receiving euiall sums of money or refresh- ments at the different places. Formerly, and even now, in many plice3 a very early service, called Plygain," was htld in everv parish church on Christmas morning. The church was lighted up brightly with a great many candles, tnosa on the Communion Table being of immense size. At the end of this early service it was usual for the incumbent and churchwardons to distribute alms and doles to the poor of the parish. Although Christmas Day is kept as a holiday in Wales, many people indulge themselves in feast- ing, and in various sports, such as running races, cock-fighting, football, &c. There are others who take advantage of Christmas-day being a holiday for collecting money, by means of tea-parties, con- certs, eisteddfods, etc., nearly every town and vil- lage holding one or other of these on this day. Now, my dear sir, I have said all I can about Christmas customs in Wale9, so must conclude, hoping that, if I am not the first, I shall not be the last in this couipetition.-I remain, your little friend, Ruys LL. THOMAS. To Uncle William." (Aged 14 vears.) LIZZIE THOMAS, New Cottage, A. barvan, Merthyr Vale, Has also written a capital description, and UNCLE WILLIAM has forwarded to her The Adventures of Johnnie Pascoe," by G. Norway (published by James Nisbet and Co., Londou). This is Lizzie's letter Dear "Uncle Williain,Tiiere are a great number of customs practised at Christmas time in Wales. The first thing is to clean the houses thoroughly and decomte them with Holly, Yew Tree, Laurel, and Mistletoe. Afterwards the Christmas cakes and plum puddings are made, and the Christmas beer brewed. It is gsnerally the custom to stop up Christmas Kve for the purpose of decorating candles, and then Christmas morning they are taken to a church, where a meet- ing called" rulgin" is held at five o'clock in the morning. It is a custom to have a fat goose for dinner, and some mashed potatoes; alio oatmeal, bread, and plum pudding. On this diy the Christmas beer is tapped. It was a custom for a party of young men to dress the head of a dead horse with coloured ribbons and flowers, and take it about from house to house, visiting the wealthy people and farmers, singing songs suitable for the season, and receiving what was given to them. This was called the Marilwyd." The inmates of a house and the MarUwyd" generally addressed one another with poetry, and that of a very indecent character. It was also a custom for four young men, called "Punch and Shwan," to go out on Christmas night. They wore a peculiar dr, as, and Punch wore a hump on his back, stuffed with straw, and a high hat on his head with a straw band around it. He carried a fire shovel in his hand, and Shwan a brush. If they went into a house Punch would stir the fire, and throw the ashes over the floor, Then Judy would sweep it away, and the more she swept the more dirty it wa?, and over that was a jolty fight between Punch and his wife. Then the two sons would come to defend the old woman with long stockings stuffed with hay or straw. It was also the custom to divide the charity among the poor people of each parish. St-me re- ceived flannels others coal, money, &c. Theie were some charities given to those poor people who endeavoured to live without aid from the parish. Another practice was to put a large block of wood, as much as a few men could carry, called- the Christmas block, on the fire on Christ- mas night. It was left there until it was entirely burnt. Friends and others generally gather together around afire to relate ghost stories, and hunting adventures, as the Welsh people are very fond of hunting. Also it was a custom for every man to take his gun out and shoot whatever game he could find on Christmas Day. In closing UNCLE WILLIAM expresses the hope that all the prize winners will find their prizes a source of instruction as well as of amusement.





Christie Holmes' Last Tot.

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