Retold by a Nobel Prize-winner and published in 1907, this Swedish legend concerns a ""Robber Mother"" who, with her five children, intrudes on a cloister garden, boasting to the abbot that she knows a freer garden that appears on Christmas Eve near her forest home. Skeptical, the abbot and a lay brother journey to see the wonder, which is all the Robber Mother claimed; but the lay brother's fear that it is the work of the Devil Causes it to vanish. The abbot dies; but the next Christmas the bulbs found clasped in his hand bring forth miraculous blooms, earning the bishop's promised forgiveness for the Robber family. This lovely, unusual story is beautifully told; though long, it will be grand to share aloud. Mikolaycak's fine illustrations are as good as any he has done: his elegant designs are unencumbered by borders or frames; and his choice of winter's somber tones to contrast with the miraculous garden is in perfect harmony with the story's quiet drama. A splendid holiday book to treasure for years to come.