If, gentle reader, you will step across this threshold, now, as the moon rises in the keen Christmas air, and will find a place by the ruddy ingle within-doors, you may hear, if you will, a Babel of voices from many lands, telling over the adventures of the road and falling into the good-fellowship of the happy Christmas season.
Here from the north, with his ample furs thrown back, sits the Russian in friendly talk with a gay little wanderer from Sicilian valleys. There, with elbow crooked by a foaming tankard, leans the German, narrating his perils and pleasures to a gallant Frenchman and a sunbrowned Spaniard who smoke and chatter together as now and then Mynheer stops for a pull at his pipe.
A Swede, Norwegians, an Englishman or two, and even a happy-go-lucky American, are clustered about the Yule-log; for the place you have entered is the common-room of the wide world.
As you slip the latch and take your seat, some traveller calls out: A Merry Christmas! Another cries: A story, a story! and so they fall to, each from his own scrip taking forth a native tale, and so they sit the midnight out listening and talking in turn; while the good cheer goes round in endless abundance and laughter and song make interludes for the varied narratives.
By Various Authors