A Christmas Fairy
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: John Strange Winter

“A Christmas Fairy” is a short story published in 1913 in a collection called “The Children’s Book of Christmas Stories.” This story is about two boys who must stay at boarding school over the Christmas holiday. Students will read the story and answer questions on words in the passage and on the theme.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Theme, Context Clues, Main / Central Idea. Genre(s): Prose

Click for the passage & questions on one printable PDF.


In the story, Tom Egerton and Bertie Fellows are students at an English boarding school. Both
have to stay at school over the Christmas holiday. Tom’s parents are in India,
which is too far for him to go for the holiday. Bertie’s sister is sick, so he
cannot go home until she is well. They are sad they must stay at school. The
boys have briefly argued about fairies: whether they exist to grant wishes.


This was the day before
Christmas. Quite early in the morning came the great box of which Bertie’s
mother had spoken in her letter. Then, just as dinner had come to an end, there
was a peal at the bell, and a voice was heard asking for Tom Egerton.

Tom sprang to his feet,
and flew to greet a tall, handsome lady, crying, “Aunt Laura! Aunt Laura!”

Aunt Laura explained
that she and her husband had arrived in London only the day before. “I was so
afraid, Tom,” she said, “that we should not get here until Christmas Day was
over and that you would be disappointed. So I would not let your mother write
you that we were on our way home. You must get your things packed up at once,
and go back with me to London. Then uncle and I will give you a splendid time.”

For a minute or two Tom’s
face shone with delight. Then he caught sight of Bertie and turned to his aunt.

“Dear Aunt Laura,” he
said, “I am very sorry, but I can’t go.”

“Can’t go? and why not?”

“Because I can’t go and
leave Bertie here all alone,” he said stoutly. “When I was going to be alone he
wrote and asked his mother to let me go home with him. She could not have
either of us because Bertie’s sister has scarlet fever. He has to stay here,
and he has never been away from home at Christmas time before, and I can’t go
away and leave him by himself, Aunt Laura.” For a minute Aunt Laura looked at
the boy as if she could not believe him. Then she caught him in her arms and
kissed him.

“You dear little boy,
you shall not leave him. You shall bring him along, and we shall all enjoy
ourselves together. Bertie, my boy, you are not very old yet, but I am going to
teach you a lesson as well as I can. It is that kindness is never wasted in
this world.”

And so Bertie and Tom
found that there was such a thing as a fairy after all.

Comprehension Questions

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