Germany, Dec. 29, 1918
Sunday afternoon and I am writing home first of all to thank you for your splendid Christmas parcels four of which arrived during the week preceding Christmas, the first a splendid fruit cake, etc., the next two chickens, butter etc. and the last that big iced cake on Christmas day. They were certainly some parcels and believe me were thoroughly enjoyed. I of course shared them with the other boys and the people with whom we are staying. The boys in our billet all got a number of parcels so we were pretty well away in that line. So far I have received eleven so we have not been starving by any means during the Christmas season. I wrote telling you about our dinner which was a splendid success.
Have sent you a copy of the menu and hope you got it OK. Also sent you some views of Namur, Cologne and Mehlem with the famous Seven-Mountains across the Rhine. Sent you a few lines on Christmas night telling you how we spent the day. Our Christmas was filled with but one regret and that was in the knowledge what you would miss our presence at the Christmas table and would be worrying about our days in a hostile country, perhaps under adverse circumstances while in fact we were with the best of kind friends and enjoying ourselves to the full. Could you have seen us sitting around Mrs. Kassner's table on Christmas night after our lunch made up of things from our parcels together with coffee and some splendid pudding that Mrs. K. made for us, smoking a rich, fragrant Paloma which a college friend had kindly sent in a box, you would not be worrying about us not having a happy day. We have spent four Christmas seasons away from home and each one has been for some reason memorable but I think this one has been the most memorable of all. Our first in Horsham was the first away from home and our first in army life. Our second was in Carency our first Christmas at the front spent in a dugout. Then came Christmas in Lieven, memorable because of the splendid dugout which we had with its decorations and because of the congenial bunch of fellows who spent that Christmas together. But this Christmas spent with English friends in a hostile
land where we did not expect any of the comforts of home has been by far the most memorable of all and the most homelike. In fact I can't think we could have enjoyed the day more fully anywhere except at home.
Sunday afternoon. How I would like to be over in home today for a little while. It has been very mild today and showery much like a May day at home. I was on duty all morning and did not get to church. This afternoon, Dennis played the piano for a while and we had some hymns and now I am writing home. I hope the day will soon be here when letters are unnecessary. We do not know definitely when we will be getting home but expect to arrive back in Canada in February or early March. Believe me they cannot take us back any too soon for we have had enough of war and army life, enough of seeing the world and in everyone's thought there is a little spot in Canada which speaks to him as the place in all the world where we want to be and that spot is spelt.
I received your letter of Nov. 22 about a week ago and we are expecting another mail tomorrow. Hope you get the views I sent of this place as it is very beautiful - must be perfect in summer for now at the worst season of the year it is splendid. It is considered the most beautiful section of the Rhine and in normal times has a tremendous tourist traffic. Probably the most interesting of all are the Drachenfels (Dragon Rocks). There are many legends connected with this hill but the one from which it got its name is as follows: Centuries ago there lived on this side of the river a Christian tribe while across the Rhine were a number of heathen tribes. Over some trifling dispute the latter made war on the former, crossed the river and made some of the Christians prisoners. and among those Christians was a very beautiful girl whom each of the two leading chiefs immediately wanted for a wife directly they saw her. The result was almost a civil war between the two tribes when the head priest of the state intervened and suggested that she be given as an offering to the dragon which lived in the cave near the top of the hill. To this the older chief at once agreed and the younger one was afraid to go against the will of the priest so she was tied to the sacrificial tree and left for the dragon. Then as the dragon came forth and started to climb toward her, she snatched a crucifix from her breast and commenced to pray and as a result the dragon rose on his hind leg and falling over backwards toward the Rhine disappeared forever. The young chief who had been watching told the story to the panic stricken people. The prisoners were all released, the people became Christians and the young chief married the Christian girl. There is another very interesting legend connected with the Drachenfels and Rolandsick but I haven't it time to tell it now.
Most ring off for this time. Again thanking you for those splendid parcels and with love to all.
From your soldier son, Harold