Picture this scene east of the sun and west of the moon. The ground is white with snow. Billowing, silvery drifts are piled throughout the country. The rivers and lakes are frozen solid. The woods are still but for the distant jingle of sleigh bells in the bracing air. The sky is slate grey and heavy. Coal smoke hangs over the villages and towns. It is almost Christmas here in the far-off Grand Duchy of Stollen, somewhere to the northeast of Frederick’s
Stollenians bustle to and fro through snow-covered streets in the capital city of
The colorful, gabled merchants’ houses are warmly lit by candles in each window as year-end business is concluded in the ground floor offices. Music and song emanate from the Lutheran and Catholic cathedrals. The notes and tones coalesce, spiraling up above the old city as organists and choirs rehearse their respective parts for the coming celebration. And in the side streets, local coffee houses and taverns provide a welcome respite from the biting Baltic cold along with hot beverages to warm the palettes of many a weary patron.
As you drop by the Grand Duchy of Stollen for your own cup of warm holiday cheer during the next several days, the jolly Grand Duke Irwin-Amadeus II and fetching Grand Duchess Sonja would like to wish each and every one of you, as well as your near and dear ones, a happy and joyous Christmas season. May you find oodles of Stadden, Willie, Spencer Smith and RSM figures in your stocking and an "old school" book title or two beneath your tree on Christmas Day.