There are some unaccountable reputations in the world. This saint's is an instance.
He has ranked for ages as the peculiar friend of children, yet it appears he
was not much of a friend to his own. He had ten of them, and when fifty years
old he left them, and sought out as dismal a refuge from the world as possible,
and became a hermit in order that he might reflect upon pious themes without
being disturbed by the joyous and other noises from the nursery, doubtless.
.... St. Nicholas will probably have to go on climbing down sooty chimneys,
Christmas eve, forever, and conferring kindness on other people's children,
to make up for deserting his own.
- A Tramp Abroad
Also see Christmas and Mark Twain's Letter from Santa Claus
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