New Free Read: A Long Christmas

Last week’s post was about some of the ways Isabella’s encouraged readers to “remember the poor always, but especially at Christmas.” Our December free read continues that theme.

“A Long Christmas” is a short story Isabella wrote in 1891 about a group of children—all cousins in the same family—who discovered their enjoyment of Christmas lasted much longer when they focused on giving instead of getting.

“We have everything imaginable already. We need Christmas presents less than any young folks in the kingdom, I suppose.” That’s what sixteen year old Holly tells his cousins when they gather together on Christmas morning, and his cousins agree! But which child should receive the cousins’ unwanted toys and books?

Cover of "A Long Christmas" showing a man and dog outside a small cabin, with tall pine trees covered in snow and a mountain peak in the background.

You can read “A Long Christmas” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: “Mine”

This month’s Free Read is “Mine,” a novella by Isabella Alden that was first published in an 1895 Christian magazine.

Image of book cover for "Mine."

Esther Field’s minister father is scheduled to speak at a Christian Endeavor convention in the big city, and he plans to take Esther with him! It’s a dream come true for Esther, who longs to mingle with young men and women her age who share her vision of leading others to Christ through service. But there is much more in store for Esther than simply a series of meetings; and when she finally returns home after twenty-four hours in the big city, she knows her life will never be the same again.

You can read “Mine” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can select BookFunnel’s “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: Her Opportunity

This month’s Free Read is “Her Opportunity,” a short story Isabella wrote about a young woman who was a member of the Christian Endeavor society.

Miss Emily Mason never passes up an opportunity to do a favor for someone; and if, while doing that favor, she has an opportunity to win a soul for Christ so much the better. But the latest recipient of Emily’s kindness may not be worthy of her efforts—at least, that’s what Emily’s friends say. How can Emily ever hope to know if the testimony she shared made a difference in the young woman’s life?

You can read “Her Opportunity” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option on BookFunnel to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: The Forman Family’s Sacrifice

Talk about found treasure! This month’s Free Read is The Forman Family’s Sacrifice, a story Isabella published as a serial in a 1916 magazine.

Although it’s a full-length novel (fifteen chapters in all), The Forman Family’s Sacrifice was never published in book form. Luckily, all those magazine issues survived so we can put the story together and enjoy it today!

Here’s a brief synopsis:

“Aunt Elsie—coming here!”

Isn’t it enough that the Foreman family has fallen on hard times? They already have to count every penny; must they also take in an elderly aunt none of them remember and who is already making demands before she even arrives on their doorstep?

Of course the Formans will make the necessary sacrifices to do their Christian duty by Aunt Elsie, but that doesn’t mean they have to like it. And if Aunt Elsie happens to overhear their grumblings, maybe she’ll get the message and cut her stay short.

But Aunt Elsie overhears more than the family realizes; and she soon discovers a long-held secret she’s been keeping just might be the key to solving the Forman family’s troubles.

You can read The Forman Family’s Sacrifice for free!

Click here to go to BookFunnel.com where you can choose the reading option you like best:

  • You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just choose your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.
  • Or you can choose the “My Computer” option to read a PDF version, which you can also print and share with friends.

New Free Read! Harold Payne’s Easter

Isabella’s friend Theodosia Toll Foster was widely published as a novelist and short-story writer. Under the pen name “Faye Huntington” she wrote for the sole purpose of winning souls for Christ. Her story, “Harold Payne’s Easter” was published in the April 1909 issue of a Christian magazine. 

Easy-going, self-indulgent Harold Payne never took church or anything else in life too seriously. But one day, while day-dreaming his way through a sermon, something the minister said caught his attention: “May our religion put the stamp of Christ upon the things we do.”

For some reason, those words broke through Harold’s indifference and stuck in his thoughts—and left him with the realization he had, at most, only made a faint impression of Christ’s stamp upon the world. Was it too late for Harold to change his ways?

You can read “Harold Payne’s Easter” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read! Their Day at the Beach

Isabella often wrote stories that illustrated the far-reaching effects a single act of kindness can have on a person, a family, or a community. This month’s free read is a short story titled “Their Day at the Beach,” and it fits Isabella’s “kindness” theme nicely!

Frances Farnham and Sherman Kennedy have been friends since childhood, although careers and Life’s interruptions have kept them apart for years; but that’s about to change. For different reasons, Frances and Sherman will both be in Florida—she for pleasure, he for business. They have a single afternoon to spend together on the beach, to catch up on each other’s news and rekindle their old friendship. But a chance encounter on a train will change their plans—and their lives—forever.

You can read “Their Day at the Beach” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

 

Free Read: Mrs. Knowlton’s Investment

This month’s Free Read is “Mrs. Knowlton’s Investment” by Isabella Alden.

“I wouldn’t go on a Foreign Mission, not if I were the only woman left in the world to do it.”

Mrs. Knowlton doesn’t believe in sending missionaries off to foreign lands; not when there’s so much of the Lord’s work to be done at home. But when it comes time to donate to Home Missions, Mrs. Knowlton has a problem with that, too. She turns up her elegant nose over any mention of Missionary Societies.

When a friend in need begs Mrs. Knowlton to take her place at a Mission Meeting, she can hardly refuse, though she’d rather be anywhere else. But while she sits with the other ladies, busily fuming and finding fault with every portion of the meeting, Mrs. Knowlton makes a mistake—a mistake so horrible, it just may change her life forever.

You can read “Mrs. Knowlton’s Investment” for free!

Choose the reading option you like best:

You can read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device. Just click here to download your preferred format from BookFunnel.com.

Or you can choose the “Read on My Computer” option to print the story and share it with friends.

New Free Read: For This

Do you remember John Remington? He was the young minister who was the main character in Isabella’s novels Aunt Hannah and Martha and John (1890) and John Remington, Martyr (1892).

In 1893 Isabella wrote a short story in which John made another appearance. Titled “For This,” the story centers around a certain mite-box.

Churches used mite-boxes to encourage people to give offerings. They were named for the “widow’s mite” mentioned in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 21:

And He looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury.

And He saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites.

And He said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all;

For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God; but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.
(Luke 21:1-4)

Typically, a church distributed mite-boxes on a Sunday to all church goers, including children. Each person was asked to fill their boxes with coins for a specified period of time (such as six months) before the church called for their collection.

Mite-boxes made of paper—like the one featured in the story—could be decorated with the name of the person or family who filled it, or with words or images that had meaning to the church’s cause.

That, in a nutshell, is how mite-boxes were typically managed in the Presbyterian Church; but leave it to Isabella to find a new use for a mite-box in her story!

You can read “For This” for free. Just click here to visit BookFunnel.com. Then, choose whether you want to read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Or choose the “My Computer” option to print the story as a PDF document to read and share with friends.

New Free Read: The Wife’s Dilemma

This month’s Free Read may strike a chord with anyone who tried to cook something that didn’t turn out right (like a Thanksgiving turkey)!

“The Wife’s Dilemma” is a sweet short story written by Isabella’s sister (and Grace Livingston Hill’s mother) Marcia Livingston. Marcia was a prolific author in her own right. She published many short stories in a variety of magazines, and co-wrote stories with Isabella.

Here’s the blurb for “The Wife’s Dilemma”:

Newlywed Dora Avery is well educated in math and science, and speaks several languages; but Dora has never learned the fine art of keeping house. No matter what dishes she sets before her new husband, they’re either burnt or sour. It isn’t long before Dora realizes that all her logical plans and recipe books won’t fill her husband’s empty stomach!

Somehow she must hire an experienced cook or learn the proper way to prepare meals herself; but how?

You can read “The Wife’s Dilemma” for free!

Just follow this link to go to BookFunnel.com. Then, choose whether you want to read the story on your computer, phone, iPad, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Or choose the “My Computer” option to print the story as a PDF document to read and share with friends.

A New Grace Livingston Hill Free Read!

When she first started out in her writing career Grace Livingston (as she was then known) wrote short stories for several different Christian newspapers and magazines.

In 1891 her story “How One Fanatic was Made” was published in one of those newspapers, and it included two charming wood-cut-style illustrations, one of which you can see here:

It also included one of Grace’s timeless lessons on what it means to live a Christian life:

A devout Christian, Miss Delia Stebbins attends church regularly and reads her Bible every day. She is righteous and strong in her faith, or so she thinks. But when a less-than-desirable family moves in next door Miss Stebbins realizes God’s words are actually God’s instructions for daily life. Is it possible she can make up for the years she’s wasted?

You can read “How One Fanatic was Made” for free!

Just follow this link to go to BookFunnel.com. Then, choose whether you want to read the story on your computer, phone, ipad, Kindle, or other electronic device.

Or choose the “My Computer” option to print the story as a PDF document to read and share with friends.