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A man named Robert L. May, depressed and brokenhearted,
stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling
December night.

His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly
sobbing.

Bobs wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.

Little Barbara couldn’t understand why her mommy
could never come home. Barbara looked up into her
dad’s eyes and asked, “Why isn’t Mommy just like
everybody else’s Mommy?”

Bob’s jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears.

Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger.
It had been the story of Bob’s life. Life always had to
be different for Bob.

Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by
other boys.

He was too little at the time to compete in sports.
He was often called names he’d rather not remember.
From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed
to fit in.

Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and
was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery
Ward during the Great Depression. Then he was blessed
with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn’s bout
with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob
and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room
apartment in the Chicago slums. Evelyn died just days
before Christmas in 1938.

Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he
couldn’t even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he
couldn’t buy a gift, he was determined a make one – a
storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind
and told the animal’s story to little Barbara to give her
comfort and hope.

Again and again, Bob told the story, embellishing it
more with each telling.

Who was the character? What was the story all about?

The story Bob May created was his own autobiography
in fable form. The character he created was a misfit
outcast like he was.

The name of the character? A little reindeer named
Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little
girl on Christmas Day.

But the story doesn’t end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught
wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a
nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book.
Wards went on to print, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Reindeer” and distribute it to children visiting Santa
Claus in their stores.

By 1946, Wards had printed and distributed more than
six million copies of Rudolph.

That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase
the rights from Wards to print an updated version of
the book.

In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of
Wards returned all rights back to Bob May.

The book became a best seller.

Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May,
now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy
from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter.

But the story doesn’t end there either.

Bob’s brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song
adaptation to Rudolph.

Though the song was turned down by such popular
vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was
recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry.

“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was released in
1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more
records than any other Christmas song, with the
exception of “White Christmas.”

The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter
so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again
and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like
his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn’t so
bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing.

* MERRY CHRISTMAS 2010*

Comments on: "The True Story of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" (8)

  1. I never heard the story before, and Loved reading it. Being different is never a bad thing.

    Thanks Cherokee

    • Dear Tarryn:
      but thought this was very interesting to find out how this all started. I believe being different is actually a blessing. Who wants to be one of the robots? Have a wonderful holiday, Cherokee Billie

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this story I also never heard this story before, but I love Rudolph. I started to weep when I read the the little girl wandered why her mommy wasn’t like other mommys she’s 4 like my daughter, and I pictured my baby girl.
    His life turned out to be a blessing though, because he actually gave a gift to the world, and that story and song will be heard throughout time every Christmas. Being different is actually a blessing as I said before we all are works of art by our Lord.
    Love,
    lisa

    • dear Lisa:
      I think this is a wonderful story and know how Rudolph became part of our culture is quite fascinating. You’re absolutely right we are each an individual work of art. Have a wonderful Christmas.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  3. Dear Cherokee:
    Thanks for sharing with us this Christmas story, a love story between a father and a daughter. I really liked because he had no money to buy presents for his daughter but he had something more beautiful than love is. And managed to make a beautiful story with great success because it is full of love for his daughter to give comfort and hope. Brother things are made with love and dedication they have a special glow and are beautiful. This story makes me think this.
    When I looked up the history of Rudolph found this video. These pictures remind me of Christmas when they spent time watching cartoons about Christmas when I was a child. There are many very nice animated stories with lessons.

    I send my love for this Christmas.

    • Dear Anabella:
      I’m glad that this story inspired you. It goes to show that we do not need fancy gifts to make us happy, things that are given from the heart are the true treasures. Thank you for the video on Rudolph. I wish you the very best for Christmas.
      Many blessings,
      Cherokee Billie

  4. I wish you enjoy this video. With love.
    Anabella

  5. Gorgeous story… I’ve never heard that one either about how Rudolph got started. I always love that song……

    MERRY CHRISTMAS TO EVERYONE………..Love and Light Susanxxxxxx

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