|credit: Flora Waycott|
A man "with long white hair and white beard, wearing read cloak and a pointed red hat" appears in the picture of magic Advent calendar when Joachim opens the 19th door. You know who he is, of course, Santa Claus! Or what the Norwegians call "Christmas nisse".
The godly procession is travelling across Phrygia, passing some bears, wolves, and jackals. Fortunately, they are travelling through time as well, so when they encounter danger, they just have to step aside one or two weeks to avoid it. Convenient, right? :)
During their climb up through a mountain, they catch sight of a man dressed in green sitting at the watershed. Seeing whom, Caspar and Balthazar runs towards the man, who is Melchior, the third Wise Man, King of Egriskulla, and a fun cheerful guy. He tells Elisabet that they are about to greet the Christmas nisse who lives nearby.
So they continue on to a town of Myra, where, two hundred years after Paul came to found a Christian community on his way to Rome, a boy called Nicholas was born. He became the bishop of Myra, and helped a very poor girl to get married by throwing a bag of gold coins through her window, so that her father could pay the dowry. The generous bishop is the first Santa Claus as we know now. And he did clothed in red cloak and red hat, with a large silver cross with red stone round his neck, because in the year 325 where they are now, that's a normal bishop's clothes.
Bishop Nicholas does not travel with them, though. He just offers each of the Wise Man a casket. For Caspar a casket full of gold coins, for Balthazar, of incense, and the one contains myrrh for Melchior. It was some gifts for the Christ Child they are about to see in Betlehem.
For Elisabet, the Bishop give a wise advise about the joy of giving:
"The more we give away, the richer we become, and the more we keep for ourselves, the poorer we become."
"You needn't own anything at all to feel generosity fizzing in your veins. A little smile is enough, or something you've made yourself."
And with these words, the pilgrims move off to continue their journey, with the Bishop's laughter 'Ho-ho! Ho-ho! Ho-ho!' can still be heard behind them.