Journey to the centre: Great middle lines – 20

It’s Christmas, a time of year when half the world is not covered in snow.  Half the world is not even chilly.  Many of us are melting in mid-summer heat.  I had to find a Christmas story that Australians would ‘get’, where the characters were not wearing long sleeves!

Christmas in the Floods by Olaf Ruhen sounds like a true story, if only because it tells of a disaster that could typically happen here at Christmas.  It’s written from the point of view of a fourteen-year-old boy who has been watching the river rise.  It’s not long before dawn and the flood has chased him and his family into the attic.  So at the turning point of the story they are on the roof, the characters not being able to go any higher.  It’s a great movement from ground level upwards.

I went to sleep, but Ralph wakened me.  It was still dark, but there was a little light coming, and I knew there was only one more day to Christmas Eve.
There was water on the attic floor now, and Dad and Ralph wanted us to shift on to the roof.  It didn’t seem as if the flood could come any higher but if it did, they said we mustn’t be trapped inside the attic.  They had rigged up the trestle-table so it was half out of the attic window, and you could climb on it and step back on the roof at the gully between the two gables.

Illustration for "Christmas in the Floods" in The Oxford Book of Christmas Stories

Illustration for “Christmas in the Floods” in The Oxford Book of Christmas Stories

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