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Text Illustrations
ROOM AFTER ALL


This is the story of a nine year-old boy named Wallace Purling. Larger than most kids, he was also slow in mind. But the children all liked him. He was so much bigger than they, but he never bullied them. In fact, he was the ever-present defender of the smaller boys. Wally wanted very much to be in the Christmas play that year. He hoped he could be a shepherd. But the teacher had a larger part in mind. Wally was big enough to be the innkeeper, she reasoned. And so it was that Wallace Purling got the part of the innkeeper. He was given the part. Oh, how he practiced. The night of the play everything went beautifully. No one even missed a line. At last the play came to the part where Mary and Joseph knocked on the door of the inn. "What do you want?’ Wallace asked, opening the door with a brusque gesture. "We seek lodging," came the response. "Seek it elsewhere, the inn is filled," "But sir, we have tried elsewhere, we have come a long way, and we are very tired," they responded. "Go away," Wally properly commanded. "There is no room in my inn for you." "But sir, my wife is with child. Don’t you have a corner where we can get out of the cold?" For the first time the innkeeper broke his icy stare and looked at Mary. There was a long silence. The audience was tense with embarrassment because they thought Wallace had forgotten his lines. "No, be gone," the prompter whispered. "No, be gone," Wally said halfheartedly. Joseph sadly placed his arm around Mary as they began to move off the stage. Suddenly, this Christmas program became different from all the others. Wallace Purling could stand it no longer. Big he was – cruel he could never be. With big tears welling up in his eyes he gave a performance others would never forget. "Wait, don’t go Joseph!" Wally called. "Bring Mary back." Wallace Purling’s face grew into a bright smile. "You can have my room and I’ll sleep out in the cold." Some said the pageant was ruined. Others knew better. Wallace Purling caught the real spirit of Christmas – that of giving and sacrifice. SOURCE: Autoillustrator.com, INKEEPER’S HEART CHANGED.