nce upon a time, in the sitting room of an old house, was a Christmas tree, and on the Christmas tree, there were two decorated eggs. One was decorated with a silver waistcoat and he was called Egg. The other was covered all over with golden glitter and wore a knitted bobble hat – she was called Glittery Egg. The best friend of these two eggs was a shy and scruffy rat, and every evening, when the house was quiet, he would visit the two eggs and talk over the happenings of the day.
“Oh yes,” said the egg to the rat, his waistcoat sparkling in the gentle glow of the Christmas lights, “today I heard something very interesting. Very interesting and beautiful. It was a song.”
“Oh,” said the rat, happily folding his paws in front of him in anticipation.
“Yes,” said the egg fondly, “a beautiful song…”
And to the rat’s great surprise, the egg began to sing:
“Once in Royal David’s city…”
And then, rather to the rat’s surprise, he stopped.
“Is that all, Egg?” asked the rat. “Forgive me, but it is, um, a rather short song.”
“That is all I can remember, Rat,” said the egg cheerfully. “But it is rather beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Oh yes, egg, very beautiful, and you sing it very well. But I feel sure that there must be more. I wonder whether we could find the rest of it.”
As he said this, he heard a faint cough.
“Did you cough, Egg?” he asked. “Did you cough, Glittery Egg?”
“No, Rat,” they both said.
The cough came again, very faintly, and then from further up the tree, a nervous high quavering voice sang, “Once in Royal David’s city, Stood a lowly cattle shed…”
“Oh!” gasped the eggs together.
“Good heavens!” said the rat, who had picked up this useful exclamation from one of the eggs. And then, gathering all his courage, he called up the tree, very softly, “Please, please, sing it again.”