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Excerpt: "And now Christmas was coming. Joan had never kept Christmas, and knew nothing about it. But at Aunt Priscilla's farm it was a great day, as it always had been since she could remember. Every relative who could come to the farm was invited weeks beforehand; and nothing else was talked of but Christmas Day. The Sunday evening before it came old Nathan's sermon was all about the shepherds in the field, and how they found the little babe lying in the manger; and he told the story so well that Joan did not go to sleep at all, but sat listening to him with her dark eyes wide open." Hesba Stretton was the pen name of Sarah Smith (1832-1911), an English writer of children's books. Her moral tales and semi-religious stories, chiefly for the young, were printed in huge numbers. She became a regular contributor to Household Words and All the Year Round under Charles Dickens's editorship.