For the first time since the war, the Christmas peal is ringing at St Paul's Cathedral. There is joy. There is new hope. It is Christmas Eve, the carol service has ended, and a woman with three small boys leaves the cathedral, the children swooping like pigeons.
'Why weren't there any wild animals at the crib? Haven't they got something to give?' asked one of the children.
And I heard myself say, 'Yes, they have.'
Was it true, what I told them? Did I dream it? Where it came from I do not know but I seemed to remember every word, just as if I had heard it . . .
Outside the cathedral, the children are told the nativity story from a unique perspective: that of a fox. Despite the scorn of the other animals, he enters the stable to offer the child a gift that only he can give.
About the Author
P. L. Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff in 1899 in Queensland, Australia. She worked as a dancer and an actress, but writing was her real love and she turned to journalism. Travers set sail for England in 1924 and became an essayist, theatre and film critic, and scholar of folklore and myth. While recuperating from a serious illness Travers wrote Mary Poppins -'to while away the days, but also to put down something that had been in my mind for a long time,' she said. It was first published in 1934 and was an instant success. Mary Poppins has gone on to become one of the best-loved classics in children's literature and has enchanted generations. In addition to the Mary Poppins books, Travers wrote novels, poetry and non-fiction. She received an OBE in 1977 and died in 1996.