Summary of The Best Christmas Present in the World
The Best Christmas present in the World is a story by Michael Morpurgo. In this story, the author buys a roll-top table from a junk shop, and to restore it starts working on it on Christmas Eve. While repairing it, he finds a secret space in the last drawer. In that secret space was a small tin box. He finds a letter inside the tin box written by Jim Macpherson, a captain of the English Army to his wife Connie. It was a narration of an incident that took place on the battlefield in 1914 on Christmas Day.
On that day, the German and English soldiers were celebrating Christmas together forgetting the rivalry between them and also that they were at war. They shared wine and food. Also, they played a football match and sang carols at night. The author took this letter to Mrs. Macpherson to the hospital and gave her the best Christmas present in the World.
The Best Christmas Present in the World Summary in English
The story begins with the author buying a cheap roll-top table from a junk shop. Though it was in a bad condition, the author thought that he would restore it. On Christmas Eve, he started to repair it. The table was of the 19th century and was made of oak. The drawers were badly damaged due to fire and water. When the author pulled out the last drawer, he found a secret space there. In that secret space was a small tin box. On top of that box it was written, ‘Jim’s last letter, received January 25, 1915. To be buried with me when the time comes’. Inside the tin box was an envelope with the address written on it, ‘Mrs. Jim Macpherson 12 Copper Beeches, Bridport.’ The date on the envelope was December 26, 1914.
The author began to read the letter. It was written by Jim Macpherson, a captain of the English army to his wife Connie. He had narrated a beautiful incident that took place on the battlefield on Christmas Day. It was Christmas day and the English and Germans were at war. Both the armies were in their respective trenches. All of a sudden, he saw someone waving a white flag from the German side. He heard German soldiers wishing them Merry Christmas. Some of the English soldiers also wished them the same. Surprisingly, they saw German soldiers moving towards them which alarmed captain Macpherson. He thought it could be a trick. But the German soldiers brought canned meat and wine.
The soldiers were hugging and wishing each other. Hans Wolf, the German officer shook hands with Macpherson. Wolf told him that he was from Dusseldorf and played cello in an orchestra. Macpherson told him that he was a from Dorset and was a school teacher. Hans Wolf told him that he knew English and Thomas Hardy is his favorite writer. In his book, ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, he has described Dorset. Thus, he knew a lot about Dorset from there. Macpherson offered him the cake sent by his wife, Connie.
The soldiers played football together. After the match, all of them enjoyed the food and drinks. After all this, they parted back to their trenches unwillingly. Later at night, both the armies sang Carols for a while, and then there was silence. He wrote that these memories are a treasure for his lifetime and hoped that the war will end soon.
After reading the letter, the author decided to return the letter to Mrs. Macpherson. He went to her house in Bridport, Dorset, and found that it was burnt. Mrs. Macpherson, 101 years old, was inside the house at the time of the fire. The author comes to know that Mrs. Macpherson is in the nursing home. He finds her sitting on a chair there. When he called her Connie and returned the letter to her, her eyes lit up. She took his hand with eyes filled with tears and said that her Jim kept the promise. Also, she made the author sit beside her and talked lovingly for long with him. She said that it is the best Christmas present in the World.
Conclusion of The Best Christmas Present in the World
The story states that war brings only destruction and sadness in the world. Only the path of peace will lead us to the happiness and welfare of mankind.