Today is the last Sunday before Christmas. It is a very special day. The citizens of Riverside are opening their Christmas market. Everybody is looking forward to this event. There will be market stalls with food and gifts. Some villagers are going to play instruments.
Have a look at this gorgeous market stall. It belongs to James Periwinkle. Tonight he will be selling freshly baked bread and pastries from the Water Mill Bakery. There are also two types of home made jam, cinnamon buns and little bags of freshly baked Christmas cookies. Mr. Periwinkle is especially proud of his gingerbread house.
This is Mr. Schaefer's stall. As owner of the country market, he will be selling an assortment of toys. Look at that cute sleeping mouse! And the yellow pony! And the green dragon that is sticking out its tongue! Just like Mr. Periwinkle, Lance Schaefer has already set everything up.
Where are they now? Maybe they have gone home to fetch warmer clothes? Or maybe they are having a cup of hot cocoa at the Country Market?
When it gets dark, Mr. Periwinkle's gingerbread house is illuminated by the full moon.
Finally, Lance Schaefer steps behind his stall.
James is back now, too.
Look at this! It's Julie Perwinkle and baby Jemima on a sleigh! Julie is pulling her daughter through the snow.
Oh dear! Little Jemima forgot to hold on tight and has fallen into the snow.
"Are you hurt, Jemima?" Asks Mrs. Periwinkle.
"No. Jemima fine, Mommy!" says the little rabbit girl. "I'm so glad, my munchkin! I'll put you back onto the sleigh. Hold on this time, okay?"
"Yes, Mommy!" says Jemima. She can't wait to continue sleighing.
"Faster, Mommy!" She orders, while her mother pulls her through the snow.
When Mrs. Perwinkle is sure that Jemima is sitting on the sleigh safely, she starts walking faster. The snow is crunching underneath her feet.
Then, she sees her husband James and goes to greet him.
The next person to arrive is little Ralfie Hazelnut.
He has decided to test the new skis he was given on St. Nicholas' Day.
The skis are great and Ralfie arrives in front of Mr. Schaefer's stall in no time. "Hello Mr. Schaefer," he says. "Good evening, Ralfie!" "The dragon is so cool, Mr. Schaefer! Do you think Santa would get it for me?" "If you haven't asked for anything yet, there is no reason why he shouldn't," answers Mr. Schaefer. "Well, I did ask for a toy car, a picture book, a jump rope, a ball and several other things... But maybe I could write him another letter and tell him that I would really just want the dragon?" "I suppose so, Ralfie! It's certainly worth a try." "Thanks, Mr. Schaefer. I'll write him as soon as I get home tonight."
Julie and Jemima have stopped sleighing and playing around in the snow and are taking a moment to catch their breaths.
More people have arrived at the market. Here are Angeli and Maxino.
Just like Ralfie they head directly for the toy stall.
Jemima sees Angeli and runs to greet her. "Hello Jemima!" says Angeli.
Ralfie starts skiing around the market square. Jemima and the two kittens are now gloating at the toys.
She spots the loveliest stuffed dog she has ever seen.
"Mommy! I want the doggy for Christmas! Please!" "I will ask Santa Claus if he can get it for you, alright?" "Thank you, Mommy!" says Jemima and beams with joy.
Gradually, more and more people arrive.
They start to gather around Mr. Babblebrook.
He is going to play some carols on his trumpet. "Mr. Babblebrook, may we sing while you play?" asks Angeli. "Of course, Angeli, that would be fun! You may all join in, if you like!"
"I thought we could start with Joy to the World", says Troy Babblebrook and everybody cheers.