Magnificent Seven Old West
The Lesson Within

by Jo Ann

Disclaimer: Not mine. Never will be. No money being made.


Comments: I received this in an email and I'm not sure where it originated came from. Anyway, I added the seven and this is what I came up with. I hope you enjoy it!!

"Hey, guys," JD called as the stepped into the saloon humming a Christmas song.



"Mr. Dunn."

And two nods were the other responses he received.

"Josiah not back from visiting his sister yet?" the young man asked.

Nathan shook his head and took a swallow of beer before answering. "Should be back any time now."

"How were Mrs. Wells and her niece?" Ezra asked.

"They're good," JD told him. Then started humming again and appeared to be counting with his fingers.

"JD, what the hell are ya humming?" Buck asked.


"What's with all this?" Buck asked tapping his fingers against his thumb.

"Oh, I heard some kids singing the 'Twelve Days of Christmas' and now the tune's in my head," JD told them with a smile. "I was trying to see if I could remember all the gifts."

Buck grinned and replied, "I always liked that song."

"How's it go?" Vin questioned.

"I ani't heard that song in a while," Nathan commented.

JD grinned at them and said, "Well, I ani't singing it to ya, but I'll tell what I remember -- On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me -- a partridge in a pear tree. On the second day it was two doves. On the third day it was . . ."

"Chickens," Buck suddenly interrupted. "Now, why on earth would a man want to give his love a chicken for Christmas," he added with a shake of head.

"No!" JD cried.

Nathan and Vin laughed. Chris shook his head, while Ezra just rolled his eyes.

"No, Buck," JD laughed. "It's three French hens. Not chickens . . ."

"You telling me that a hen ani't a chicken?" the older man questioned him. Which started Nathan and Vin off again. Even Chris had to grin at his logic. Ezra merely shook his head.

"Just ignore him, JD," Nathan told him. "What's next?"

"Let's see . . . uhm . . . four calling birds!" JD replied with a grin.

Buck leaned forward on the table then grinned as Josiah walked in. "Hey, Josiah. Welcome home!"

"Thank you, brother," the older man said. Josiah told them he had very nice visit with his sister Hannah, but admitted that he was glad to be home.

Nathan and Vin quickly told him that JD was telling them the twelve days of Christmas song.

"I haven't heard that song in a long time," Josiah said. "What day are you up to?"

"The fourth day and the calling birds . . ."

"That reminds me . . . when I was eleven I chopped down this tree for Christmas for my mama and the other ladies I lived with," Buck said with a big smile. "I remember thinking it would make for a nice surprise you know," he paused and heaved this heart felt sigh. "Working ladies had it even rougher back then and I wanted to do something nice for 'em. So after the saloon closed for the night, I got that tree set up and I'll be damned bird didn't fly out of it," Buck told them with a laugh. "I bet you never seen so many grown women and one young man run so fast before," he grinned.

The others roared with laughter as Buck ducked and darted about as if the bird was after him now. Not even Chris or Ezra could keep a straight face at his antics.

After a couple of minutes JD continued, but still giggled once in a while. "The fifth day is easy, five gold rings . . ."

"Then six geese a laying," Josiah added with a smile.

"And seven peacekeepers," Vin laughed, setting the others off again. Even Ezra laughed at that one.

Buck shook his head. "I think that's seven swinging swans . . ." He burst out laughing as he realized what he said. "I mean seven swimming swans."

"Eight maids a milking," Nathan said with a laugh.

"And then nine, ladies dancing . . ."

"That's what I want for Christmas . . . nine dancing ladies," Buck told them with a wiggle of his eyebrows.

"Ten lords a leaping," JD continued with a smile. "Then eleven pipers piping . . ."

"And twelve drummers drumming," Chris said then shrugged.

"Sounds like someone had a really good Christmas," Vin stated.

"Do ya think someone really got all this stuff for Christmas?" JD asked them.

"No," Buck said. "It's just a song. What the heck would a person do with eleven piping pipers?"

Four of the men shrugged. One frowned. And the other looked thoughtful.

"Seems to me there's a story behind this song," Josiah stated. "But I cannot remember what it is."

"What about you, Ez? Do ya know it?" Vin asked.

Ezra looked at his six friends and nodded his head. Picking his cards up he began to shuffle them as he explained the meanings behind the gifts.

"It is more than just a song about twelve silly gifts. It's a religious song . . ."

"Religious?" JD questioned.

"How ya figure that?" Buck wanted to know.

"Well, from 1558 to 1829 Catholics in England were prohibited from practicing their faith both in public and in private. In other words, it was illegal to be Catholic during this time."

"How do you know this?" Josiah was curious.

"I have an aunt that lives in southern Louisiana that insisted that I attend catechism while under her roof," the Southerner replied.

"What about the song?" Vin persisted.

"From what I remember 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' was written in England as one of the "catechism songs" to help young Catholics learn the basics of their faith. In short, it was a memory aid," Ezra said. "And since the song sounded like rhyming nonsense, young Catholics could sing the song without fear of imprisonment. And the authorities would not know that it was a religious song. Actually, the catechism to which it referred was rather ecumenical so they could claim to be protestant if cornered.

"The song's gifts had hidden meanings to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, but it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. i.e. the Church. The partridge in a pear tree is Christ Jesus, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem . . ."

"Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..." Josiah said.

"What's all of it mean?" JD wanted to know.

"Yeah, what's all those gifts mean?" Vin asked.

"The Partridge in a pear tree refers to the One true God revealed in the person of Christ Jesus. The two Turtle Doves refers to The Old and New Testaments. The three French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity. Four Calling Birds is for the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists. The Five Golden Rings is the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch" which contains the law condemning us for our sins. Six Geese A-laying is the six days of creation. The seven Swans A-swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments of the Catholic faith. Eight Maids A-milking is for the eight beatitudes. The nine Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Spirit. The ten Lords A-leaping is of course the ten commandments. Eleven Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles. And the twelve Drummers Drumming is for the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed."

"All this time I thought it was just a song," JD said with a smile.

"That's pretty smart, ain't it," Buck grinned.

"Just goes to prove that if there's a will there's a way," Nathan told them.

"Thanks for sharing, Ez," Vin said, with a nod of his head.

"Lessons within," Josiah smiled and gave Ezra's shoulder a gentle squeeze.

Chris raised his shot glass at him.

"Merry Christmas, gentlemen," Ezra replied raising his glass.

"Merry Christmas, Ezra," they all replied raising their own glasses or mugs.

The End