Christmas Magic and the Golden Ginger Kitten by Finn McCool the Magic Leprechaun Cat

To all my friends, I, Finn McCool, the Magic Leprechaun Cat, wish you Nollaig Shona! In Gaelic, that means Happy Christmas.

In my homeland of Ireland, where Gaelic is the old language, Christmas is a very special time of the year. It is a magical season, full of sparkle and wonder, like the beautifully decorated trees and homes, festive parties, the anticipation of receiving those long desired gifts, soon to appear in the sack at the back of the bed, rather then under the tree (that’s an Irish tradition,) It is the time of year when people make magic happen, through the love they show to others and their generosity, both of spirit and of giving. Above all, for the Irish, it is what the day is all about, the joy of welcoming the Baby Jesus into our world.

Dreams come true at Christmas. Here is the story of one such dream.

* * *

“If you could have one wish for Christmas Emily what would it be?” Thomas Harding asked his young daughter.

He got no reply from the small, dark-haired child looking wistfully out her bedroom window, for Emily did not speak. It was not that she could not speak, but rather that she chose, since her mother’s passing, to lead a silent, speechless life.

“Father Christmas is eager to know what you would like,” Thomas continued, in spite of a lack of reply. “Tomorrow is Christmas and you have been very good this year. Perhaps, he will bring you something special.”

No amount of wishing could possibly bring me what I really want, Emily thought. No amount of wishing can bring back my lovely, sweet Mum.

Not wanting to be rude to the Father she loved Emily got up from her chair, and going to him, wrapped her arms around him and gave him a hug.

The moment was interrupted by Margaret, the housekeeper’s, knock on the door.

“Sorry to interrupt, Mr. Harding,” She said through the door, “but, Mr. O’Leary has arrived and is waiting in the library. I have put the day’s mail on your desk.”

“Thank you Margaret,” Thomas replied, “tell Mr. O’Leary I shall be with him in a moment.

“Come with me, Emily,” Thomas said, extending his hand. “Mr. O’Leary will be very pleased to see you.”

Emily hung back. Though it was her choice not to speak, it no less embarrassed her to be around people and be silent.

“No need to speak to Mr. O’Leary, Emily,” Thomas said gently, “you know that he understands. One of your beautiful smiles will do nicely. Come, perhaps there is some mail for you.”

The thought of a letter from her Mum’s sister, Aunt Beatrice, who lived in France, or her old schoolmate, Abigail, whose family had recently moved to America, convinced Emily to accompany her father.

“Ah, sweet, Emily, come and greet a crotchety, old man,” the jovial Irishman, O’Leary exclaimed, as Thomas and Emily entered the library. “It is one of your sweet smiles I be hoping to see to set me day right.”

A smile spread across Emily’s face. She loved O’Leary, who was an old friend of her family. Having no family of his own, he often spent Christmas with the Hardings. She especially loved his Irish brogue, the twinkle in his eyes, and the lilting sound of his laughter. A stout man, with a full head of white hair and a beard to match, she had thought many times how he resembled the pictures of Father Christmas.

“How are you Nicholas,” Thomas said in greeting as he extended his hand. “I was just trying to get Emily to give me a hint of what it is she might like Father Christmas to bring her this year. But, she is keeping it to herself. So, he will have to learn the secret wish from her heart.”

“Ah. And so he shall. Will he not, Emily?” O’Leary said to the smiling child, “Just as he always has.”

It was true, Emily thought, no matter what she had wished for at Christmas, since she had gone silent, it had always come true. Could this year’s wish come true…only in my dreams, she was sure.

“Well, what have we here, Emily,” Thomas said, as he sorted through the mail. “It appears you have received a Christmas card.”

Eagerly, Emily took the card from her Father’s outstretched hand, and to the far end of the room where she curled up in a chair next to the fireplace to examine her prize.

It was addressed to Miss Emily Harding. The return address did not have a name, but indicated it was from 1 Catnip Lane, Puss-in-the Willows, County Meath, Ireland.

Printed on the card, and framed in gold was the picture of a golden, ginger kitten with emerald green eyes and a red Christmas bow around his neck. He was sitting in front of a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with a shining crystal star on top, his paw raised as if in greeting. Emily was sure she could see a smile on its face.

Inside, the card read.

The Magic of Christmas will bring you a gift.
It will fill the emptiness in your heart and bring joy to you life.
Believe in the Magic of Christmas.
Your wish will come true.

It was signed, Callaghan Mac Cool.

As Emily closed the card, she noticed that the kitten, which had previously been facing to the right of the card, was now facing to the left. I must have seen it wrong when I opened it, she thought.

Believe in the Magic of Christmas, she repeated to herself, and your wish will come true. Oh, how she wished it were true. But, Emily was old enough to know that a wish like hers could never come true, no matter how much she would like to believe it could be so.

“Mr. Harding.” Emily heard Margaret saying from the doorway of the library. The Christmas tree has been set up in the parlor.”

Emily, Thomas and O’Leary retired to the parlor to decorate the tree. The crystal star Emily’s Mum had purchased on a trip to Waterford, Ireland, and which Emily loved best of the ornaments, sat atop the tree. It reflected the light from the fireplace and the colored lights on the tree, every facet of its dazzling, cut crystal sparkled and shined.

As she looked up at the shining star, she heard a small voice inside her say, “Believe Emily, believe.”

Their work done, they enjoyed a cup of hot cocoa in front of the fireplace and admired the tree.

“I do believe it is the prettiest tree we have ever had,” Thomas said.

“It is, indeed, but the magic and beauty of it all is in the Irish star,” O’Leary replied, his gaze focusing on Emily. “Don’t you agree, child?”

Emily smiled in agreement. But, as she took in its beauty, she thought of how happy she had been when her Mum had given it to her, and a small tear started down her cheek, and then another.

“Saints, preserve us,” O’Leary said, as he and Thomas rushed to Emily’s side. “It was not my intention to make you sad, child.”

Emily wiped her eyes and smiled. She gave them each a hug and started for her room.

“It’s lonely the child is, Thomas, she be in need of a friend,” O’Leary said.

“And where would I find such a friend…my friend?” Thomas asked.

“You best be leaving that to me,” O’Leary replied.

Sleep came easily to Emily. Somewhere in the night, she began to dream. In her dream, she saw her Christmas tree as the tree in the Christmas card, the star at the top shining brightly. The glow from it seemed to spread and then she heard a voice…a familiar voice.

“Emily…dear Emily, I know how much you miss me,” she heard her Mum’s voice say. “And I also miss you. You must know that I am always with you in spirit, that I will always love you and that you are never alone. Tomorrow is Christmas and it is you that must give a special gift. Tomorrow, you must go to your dear Father, who loves you with all his heart and speak to him. Do this for me Emily… and, I, in turn, have a special present for you.”

Christmas morning arrived. Thomas and O’Leary were already seated before the parlor fireplace when Emily came downstairs. The Christmas tree was lit. Below it were presents wrapped in colorful papers and topped with beautiful bows, the traditional sack at the end of the bed having been abandoned for the modern under tree presentation.

“Good morning, Emily,” Thomas said. “Are you ready to see what Father Christmas brought my sweet girl?”

But, Emily did not rush to the tree. Instead, she came to her Father, took his hand and said, “Happy Christmas, Father, I love you. I will be silent no more.”

“What a wonderful present, Emily,” Thomas said, hugging her close. “Thank you.”

“Ah, and did your Christmas wish come true, Emily,” O’Leary asked, in a way that said he already knew.

‘Yes,” she said, happily “In the most beautiful way.”

O’Leary reached to the floor beside his chair.

“This is for your, Emily,” he said. “A dear friend gave him to me to entrust to your care. His name is Callaghan Mac Cool.”

In his hand, he held a golden, ginger kitten, with emerald green eyes and a red bow around his neck. And, as Emily approached, the kitten held out his paw in greeting and smiled.

©Finn McCool, the Magic Leprechaun Cat, 2009
Illustrations by Cheyenne Booker – All rights reserved
First published by


  1. December 16th, 2010

    Nollaig Shona! In Gaelic

    May we all find a little bit of magic just like Emily. Another beautiful story!

    Hugs, Cynthia

  2. Bob
    December 17th, 2010

    Lovely story & Illustrations.
    I just sent this to a dear friend from Ireland who now lives in Las Vegas. She had recently lost her Mom and husband . I think this story will bring a bit of a smile to her and her daughter on this Christmas.

  3. December 17th, 2010

    We are happy to hear that you enjoyed Christmas Magic and the Golden Ginger Kitten, but so very sorry to hear of your friends loss. We are happy to know that in some small way Finn McCool’s story can make them smile and bring them joy this Christmas season. That is the most precious reward a writer/illustrator can hope to achieve, that in telling the tale, we bring enlightenment, adventure, comfort and joy to our reader’s lives. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Charisse
    December 18th, 2010

    Cheyenne’s illustrations are amazing. I do so loved them & the more I saw, I wish there were more & more. The artistry was surpurb. The story was great too.

  5. Alice
    December 18th, 2010

    Bravo! Heartwarming stories with adventurous, whimsical characters are a tribute to author Karen’s colorful imagination, and to her obvious love of animals. The beautiful, professional illustrations by Cheyenne bring vitality and magnetic charm to these delightful tales.

  6. Charisse
    December 18th, 2010

    Karen has written a wonderful story that I hope will be the beginning of many more fabulous tales to read & enjoy. The creative illustrations by Cheyenne help make this story even more wonderful to experience. The pairing of these two artisits ability makes it a joy to read with hopefully many more adventures to come.

  7. charisse
    December 18th, 2010

    Karen has written a wonderful tale. The beautiful illustrations by Cheyenne are what completes the story. It is a combination of artistic ability that makes this a wonderful story with hopefully many more to come.

  8. Chris J
    December 18th, 2010

    WOW,….. these illustrations have such a richness to them. Depth and intriguing character! I feel a pull into the illustration as if I am a part of the picture.

  9. Martin
    December 19th, 2010

    A beautiful and touching story indeed, stirred the emotions. The illustrations compliment the story perfectly. Very well done, thank you.

  10. alison
    January 3rd, 2011

    Amazing , beautiful story , can you buy your books?

  11. January 4th, 2011

    We are glad you liked this story, Alison. Decision for Disaster and The Game of Lies can be purchased at, and most on-line booksellers, or ordered from your local bookseller. Finn McCool, the Magic Leprechaun Cat’s first book, The Nine Lives of Finn McCool, the Magic Leprechaun Cat, will be available in the fall of this year, 2011. We will be sure to let you know when it is available. Finn will continue to post new stories on this blog, so do visit often to see what is new. And don’t forget to visit Finn’s Facebook page. Hope you have a wonderful New Year.

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