Mr. and Mrs. Crocus made up their minds to have a special Christmas celebration. Mr. and Mrs. Crocus are such changeable people and so quickly, repent their decisions, it is a marvel that their Christmas celebration ever materialized. When planning the entertainment, Mr. Crocus took paper and pencil to write down the suggestions but couldn’t do it because he had already forgotten what they were. Then he became much depressed, was sure he was no longer fit for the business and believed he was going to die. Mrs. Crocus became very angry with him but just as she was on the point of giving him a good scolding for his nonsense, her anger suddenly departed. When she discovered that she wasn’t angry with him, she became furious with herself for being such a weak creature that she couldn’t hold her anger.
The Crocus children were affectionate and happy little ones, full of frolic and laughter, but with it all, they had quick tempers and you could never tell at what minute they would fly out in a passion.
Mr. and Mrs. Crocus decided not to have a Christmas tree because thy changed their minds so frequently, it would take altogether too much time and money to select the presents.
When the little Crocus heard there was to be no Christmas tree, they were in the depths of woe and such a sorrowful anxious little brood you never saw, but when their parents told them they might have a house party instead, their sorrow was turned to joy and they jumped about, laughing, whistling, singing and trying to kiss everybody. They could hardly wait for Christmas eve to arrive, but finally it did come and with it came the guests. Grandfather Crocus was a war veteran. His old wound which had healed all right in the years that had gone, had broken out afresh and was troubling him with painful suppuration. Grandfather Crocus isn’t young any more. His knees give way while standing; you can hear his knee joints crack as he stoops. The more he walks, the harder it is for him to do so. Colocynthis Staphisagria who had received a sword thrust in the engagement in which Grandfather Crocus had received his wound and who was now old and stiff and weak, was invited to keep him company.
A delightful program had been planned for the Christmas eve entertainment. The Crocus themselves were bubbling over with merriment and were ready to lead in any fun.
Miss. Arum triphyllum who was invited to sing a solo began in good faith, but soon her voice gave out and she was compelled to stop, but that made little difference, for with the first note, the Crocus involuntarily joined in the song. They laughed and stopped but just as Miss Arum triphyllum’s voice gave out, they began again and the solo was finished as a merry chorus.
Miss Agaricus thought Miss Arum triphyllum very foolish to try to sing when she must have known her voice would fail after the strain she had already given it in choir practice. She herself had refused to sing for that reason. After the singing was finished, Miss Cicuta entertained the company with a fancy dance which was grotesque enough to have had its origin in the ages of the aborigines. While watching Miss Cicuta, the Tarentula sisters could not keep their hands, feet and head still, though music usually had a soothing effect on them. Before the dance was finished, they could control themselves no longer and sprang to their feet and began a wild dance of their own. Thereupon all the Crocus and in fact, all of the guests who dance, jumped up and a general dance followed with music and laughter. When all were tired of dancing, Veratrum proposed one of the old fashioned kissing games. The Crocus, who are as fond of kissing as they are of singing and dancing, agreed, but Miss Agaricus, who was very proper and hygienic objected to promiscuous kissing. She said that kisses, when they must be given, should be given upon the hands only. It was finally agreed that the very proper might take and give their kisses upon the hands if they wished, but others might take theirs in the good old fashioned way. The game began and all went well until someone forgot and gave Miss Anacardium a kiss upon the cheek which so angered her that she swore a big round oath to the horror of everybody and the game suddenly ceased.
At this point, Mrs. Crocus whose own thirst for a cold refreshing drink reminded her of refreshments came bringing them in and the young people seated themselves about the fire on the hearth, prepared to enjoy what was given them. They had hardly commenced when Mr. Belladonna saw, or thought he saw, a ghost in the fire. No one else saw it but when a lot of people sit before the fire and begin to talk of ghosts, all have their own stories to tell. Then someone asked when ghosts usually made their appearance, Arsenicum said they came anytime, day or night. Dulcamara and Zincum thought, they came only when you first wake up, but Lachesis, Sulphur, Calcarea and Bryonia agreed with Arsenicum and said spectres would appear at any time if you would just close your eyes. Aurum insisted that they were always hovering in the air. Pulsatilla and Arnica were sure they never came excepting in dreams. Crot. cascavella then began to tell about a death ghost that he once saw; it looked like a black skeleton, but Mrs. Crocus feeling sleepy herself and seeing that eating and drinking was finished and that conversation had taken a wrong turn, sent them all off to bed.
They went to bed but not to sleep. Lachesis, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla and Sulphur were so full of excitement that their thoughts kept them awake and when Pulsatilla and Sulphur did finally wander off into dreamland, it was to dream of ghosts. Lachesis kept waking out of her first sleep with the idea that she was suffocating. When at last all were sleeping peacefully, something awakened them. They started up wondering if it were the angel choir for Christmas morning or only murmurs, but when they were wide awake enough to find out where the music did come from, they discovered the Crocus singing in their sleep and Belladonna and Phosphorus acid, also sound asleep. were helping them. Arsenicum occupied the bed with Sulphur but Sulphur kicked the covers all off and Arsenicum felt as if he were frozen.
He was restless himself so when he couldn’t endure it any longer, he got up and sat in a chair a while. Finding that didn’t improve matters, he crawled into bed with Nux vomica whom he found snuggly tucked in. Arsenicum was so restless that he soon had Nux vomica all untucked. Thereupon, Nux vomica berated him soundly telling him because he couldn’t sleep himself was no reason for keeping everyone else awake, so Arsenicum went and sat in the chair again and when tired of that went back to bed with Sulphur.
The next morning, it was difficult to get every one up for breakfast. Nux vomica and Sulphur insisted upon turning over and having another nap. Pulsatilla was so tired on waking that she felt as though she hadn’t slept at all, but she knew that the longer she lay the more tired she would be, so arose at once.
When all at last were up, the pleasure of the day was nearly spoiled by the sickness of the oldest Crocus boy. He complained of acute tearing pains in the right eye-ball. It came suddenly and just as suddenly the eye became blind. The loss of vision began at the center and spread rapidly until all light was shut out. The pupil was widely dilated and he had the sensation of cold air blowing across the eyes. It had been planned that after breakfast all should go to the woods for Christmas greens for decorations but all were so sorry for the blind Crocus that they offered to remain with him. The blind Crocus said no, he would stay and listen to Colocynthis Staphisagria and Grandfather Crocus talk of old times and they should go without him.
At last all were off to the woods and Mrs. Crocus hurried around trying to put the house in order before their return. Before she had half finished her task, she glanced out of the window and saw one of her daughters running for home as fast as her feet would carry her. The child rushed into the room and fell in a dead faint at her mother’s feet. After resuscitation, she went off into hysterics. Mrs. Crocus couldn’t imagine what had happened. At first she kissed the girl and petted her, then shouted and scolded her and at last had her calmed enough to answer questions.
The child then imparted to her mother the terrible news that she had swallowed a frog. She didn’t know when she had done it, but she could fell it jumping in her stomach. In a moment, Mrs. Crocus was furious that such a great fuss had been made over nothing. Then she became sorrowful because another member of her family must be troubled with the sensation of something hopping about almost anywhere inside of her. She hadn’t time to grieve long for all the company soon came trooping home with the Christmas greens. Agaricus and the Crocus who had already frosted their feet and had chilblains were complaining of having tingling toes.
After the rooms had been decorated, the Crocus boys who always liked being out in the open air proposed a game of football. I do not know enough about the game to describe it but all went well until it came time for them to pile themselves up on top of the ball. When they emerged from that pile, Platinum, Belladonna and the Crocus boys were suffering from epistaxis. Platinum’s blood was dark and coagulated. Belladonna’s was bright red and hot but the blood of the Crocus boys spun down in dark strings. They laughed and pretended not to mind it, but in spite of pretence a cold perspiration came out in a large drops on the Crocus boy’s foreheads and they fainted. While Mrs. Crocus was trying to put the boys back into normal condition, she noticed that her own boys kept up a continual scratching; now here, now there, as though they itched all over, so she loosened their clothes to investigate. What was her surprise to find the whole body of each covered with scarlet redness. Quick decision was Mrs. Crocus’s strong point even if she was obliged to change it immediately, so she ordered her own to bed and sent her husband home with the guests and phoned for the doctor, hoping that their Christmas had not started an epidemic of scarlet fever in the town.