“Miracle in the Wilderness”
A Christmas Story of Colonial America
Book Look December 4, 2008
Paul Gallico’s Christmas fable is one of those little holiday treasures. We have a family tradition of book giving (imagine!) which has been in our family since I was a little girl. Mark and I continued it with our children and now with our grandchildren. “Miracle in the Wilderness” is actually a gift from my sister who has surprised me the past few years with hard-to-find books including President Monson’s favorite “The Mansion”. If you have a Lit-Lover in your family, these are the type of books to give them.
The author, Paul Gallico, has written several well-known books. “The Snow Goose”, “Mrs. ‘arris goes to Paris and “The Poseidon Adventure” were some of his works of fiction that I was familiar with. As an American writer in the 1940s-1960s he was primarily known as a sports columnist. He became a storyteller with the publication of the sentimental tale “The Snow Goose” and turned from writing sports columns to authoring books. He did not consider himself much of a writer. Gallico once told New York Magazine "I'm a rotten novelist. I'm not even literary. I just like to tell stories and all my books tell stories.... If I had lived 2,000 years ago I'd be going around to caves, and I'd say, 'Can I come in? I'm hungry. I'd like some supper. In exchange, I'll tell you a story. Once upon a time there were two apes.' And I'd tell them a story about two cave men."
“Miracle in the Wilderness” is about a frontier family in colonial America. Set during the time of the French and Indian wars, the novella begins on Christmas Eve 1752. Gallico begins, “This story was told to me when I was a boy, by my great-grandmother on a Christ Eve by the fire. I always believed that stories told by great-grandmothers must be so, for their old eyes look inward and they recall…” Jasper Adams had settled his young wife and baby son in a fort like cabin in the North American wilderness. While he was in the nearby forest hunting, an Indian raiding party surprised Dorcas and kidnapped the family. Without a miracle, this small family would be lost. It is a tale of faith, fortitude and charity. I highly recommend this book as a holiday gift that will be treasured and read every Christmas.