QUESTION and STORY 23rd Day Christmas Past

Posted by on Dec 21, 2011 in Christmas of Past 2011 | 2 comments

On the 23rd Day of Christmas Past, the question is to be:

23.  Heber J. Grant, during Christmas time, had two experiences being cold.  What were the reasons?

Read the two accounts below:

Heber shivered in his thin coat as the cold November wind whipped around him. All he really wanted for his birthday was a warm overcoat, but he knew that asking for one would upset his mother. He remembered how she had cried the Christmas before because she didn’t have enough money to buy him even a stick of candy.

Nine days after Heber was born, his father had died and his mother had moved him from the fine house where he had been born to a small one where they lived for many years. The roof leaked and sometimes they went to bed early because there was no coal for heat. Sometimes they went to bed hungry, for the fried bread hadn’t been sufficient supper and there was no money for anything else.

There were days and nights when Heber’s mother would sew and sew even though she was really too tired to finish a dress for a customer. Then Heber would go under the sewing machine and push the pedal up and down so that his mother’s tired legs might have a rest. As they worked together in the lamplight, she would tell him stories and they would plan together for the time they would have plenty of coal, food, and all the clothes one could wear. Neither of them dreamed that one day Heber J. Grant would be the seventh President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

November 22 dawned clear and cold. “Happy birthday, Heber,” called his mother as she handed him the most beautiful coat Heber had ever seen. It was made of material his mother had been sewing, and it fit him perfectly. He hugged it to himself and could hardly wait to go out in the cold day and feel its warmth about him.

A few weeks later, around Christmas, as Heber was hurrying on an errand he saw a boy just his size who was crying with cold. The boy was wearing a thin sweater, and Heber shivered, even though he had on his new overcoat.

As Heber hurried by, the crying boy looked at his coat with such longing that almost before he knew what he was doing, Heber had stopped, taken off the coat, and insisted that the boy wear it.

That very afternoon his mother saw Heber wearing his old coat instead of the new one. “Heber,” she called, “what have you done with your lovely new overcoat?”

For just a moment he wondered how he could tell her he had given it away. He wondered what she would say. He hoped she wouldn’t cry. “Oh, Mother,” he finally explained, “I saw a boy who needed it lots worse that I did, so I just gave it to him.”

“Couldn’t you have given him your old one?” she asked.

Heber longed to have her understand, and yet he despaired of her doing so. And then he looked up anxiously into her face. Her eyes were misty with tears, and he threw his arms around her as she answered her own question, “Of course, you couldn’t, Heber; of course, you couldn’t.”

See a sweet illustration of this story can be watched at this link: cp3IH8ZNviQ

Another story of Heber J. Grant being cold in “A Sleigh Ride Surprise”.

Snow lay deep over Salt Lake Valley. When the children became tired of playing in it, they would dare each other to wait for a sleigh to come by so they might catch a ride on its runners.

The most beautiful sleigh in all the valley was one owned by Brighman Young. Nearly every afternoon he would go for a ride in it while his coachman guided a fine team of horses over the frozen ground.

Six-year-old Heber often watched this sleigh and dreamed of someday riding on its runners. They stuck out so far behind the rest of the carriage that he thought them a perfect place on which to stand and ride. One day as he watched the sleigh, it slowed down to go around a corner. Heber was so close to it, he was able to jump onto the runners before it began to speed again.

At first it was exciting fun to ride throuh the crisp air as the horses tossed their heads and the sleigh bells tinkled merrily. Heber thought he would go only a few blocks and then when the horses slowed down, he would hop off and hurry home. But the animals did not slacken their speed. They ran swiftly through the town and beyond it into the country. Heber was nearly breathless as the bitter wind and snow whirled around him. His teeth chattered with cold and fear as he prayed that he might get back home safely. He shivered at the thought of what Brigham Young might say and do if he found a boy riding on the runners of his sleigh.

When the horses had gone more than five miles, they came to a frozen stream and slowed down at last to make their way across it. Heber jumped off and started racing back toward town. He had gone only a short way when he heard a kind voice call, “Stop!Stop, little boy. You are almost frozen. Come, get warm under my buffalo robe and then we’ll take you home.”

This moment was one Heber J. Grant never forgot. It was his first meeting with Brigham Young, the second President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Heber became its seventh President!

Taken from:  Leon R. Hartshorn, comp., Inspiring Stories for Young Latter-day Saints p. 48, 183 – 184; and Children’s Friend, February 1963 & 1966.


  1. Thin coat, and riding on the runners of a sleigh.

  2. He gave his brand new warm coat to a boy who needed it more, all he had was his old thin coat. He rode on the runners of Brigham Young’s sleigh.

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