• Jeanette Lewis

A Christmas 'Tail'


It's almost time for the three kings to visit the manger scene in our churches. In just a few days it will be time to dust off the figures and return them to storage for another year. Before the figures are put to bed for another eleven months, I would strongly suggest that they be examined for any damage and poor repairs.


The Ox's Tale

The following story tells of a poor Crib ox, once beefy and proud; the type which would have graced a butcher's window in days gone by. Year after year his old legs weakened under the weight of his hefty body, and year by year more and more sticking plasters, bluetack and glue were applied to keep his handsome frame intact. The old ox felt saddened that he could barely stand, but thoughts of the abbetoire melted when he saw the children's faces light up as they gazed upon the Christ child. When all manner of folk came to quietly pray before the manger, he forgot his own troubles.

The ox lived in hope that he might keep vigil for a few more years, but one night, when the church was dark and empty, a 'someone' had the key to the nativity cupboard. In crept a naughty elf (that looked rather like a member of the congregation) armed with builders foam and chicken wire, determined to fix that ox once and for all.


The Last Straw
Ox statue botched by amaateur repairs
Ox statue severely damaged by amateur repairs

Ox statue severely damaged by amaateur repairs
The poor old ox didn't have a 'good side' left to show.















A whole year had passed, when ox was awakened by the light of day, as the storage cupboard door swung open. He felt stronger than before, but the flower ladies pulled faces like drooping lillies when they saw the extent of the naughty elf's work.

'We will have to order more straw to cover him up...' said Mary. 'Perhaps we can just show his good side...' suggested a bemused Flo, but try as they might, poor ox had no 'good side' left. 'Maybe we should just call the vet.' Mary sighed.

Poor ox. From that year on he became more and more hidden from view, and no one dare tell Father - who was about to retire - what the naughty elf had done.

Redemption Little Angela visited the crib with mum and dad on Saturday and Sunday that year, as Christmas had fallen on the Saturday. Ox gave her a mournful look, she thought he needed a hug. So being small she shunted her way to the back of the manger, and brushed the straw from ox's back. 'Poor ox.' she sighed and said a prayer he would soon get well. As things woud have it, the new priest arrived and decided to take stock of what needed to be done; and so, the poor old ox ended up in our workshop.


All's well that ends well.

We cleaned 'Ox' up and carefully removed the wire and foam from around his legs, only to find that he had no legs at all....and his tail was missing too!





removing wire and builders foam
Removing wire and builders foam

Little by little, we rebuilt the Ox's legs and gave him a lovely new tail that swished about his haunches. The little sheep that accompanied him watched on with a smile awaiting his own restoration.

It took a while, but at last old Ox was good as new. He turned around to admire his new tail in the mirror in the corner of the room. 'Looking goooood!' he thought, and the little sheep agreed.


Post script

We wanted to start the new year with a smile, and hope you liked our funny story

Our hope is that we can provide that 'stitch in time' which saves nine, as poor old Ox discovered.

All's Well That 'Ends' Well - ox admires his new tail

We restore nativities all year round and ensure they are back spick and span for the Christmas season. Contact us if you need our help to restore your nativity figures this new year.







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