"In his heart he never thought Santa Claus shook great rattles at children like that—and then laughed."
Read it here, or in The Collected Works of Langston Hughes.
A classic element to any sad Christmas tale is how for the have-nots, the holiday provides a hearty serving of more wanting. For instance, after cleaning your employer's house, and cooking their meal, and admiring their beautiful Christmas tree — a decoration you have never been able to afford for yourself — you might want to get paid, so that you can rush off to buy a gift for your son, one which you probably can't afford. Or, if you are an innocent little boy, you may just want things you see other children getting, like toys, or entrance to a whites-only theater where Santa is bringing joy to other children, who are like you in that they believe in Christmas, but are unlike like you in that they are not black. What you don't want, but know through experience you will get, is disappointment, and this Hughes delivers with a tense, painful beauty.
Sadness Rating: 12/12