A Partridge in a Pear Tree

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me
A partridge in a pear tree.

The reference is to the Incarnation as ultimate expression of Divine  love for man.

Additionally, we apply this idea to the conduct of our own lives, as, for example, when we ask What is the most important thing in this situation?  What is the proper ultimate expression?

A child is in distress, more deeply than we had thought.  The trouble is harder for the child to bear than we had thought. How, specifically, do we help our child? We consider and offer this advice, that advice; this assurance, that assurance; this bit of wisdom from our experience, that bit; this way toward confident, detached, assessment, and that way.

But after all of that, all of that particular that, what remains, what must remain, as the single most important thing?

We walked up the road on the morning of the first day of Christmas, looked across the hills to the Green Mountains of Vermont, and I asked myself an urgent question:

What is the most important thing for this child to know and never forget?


Remember, you are loved.

O Ratty, as our Magistra says, please help me out here, to remember something.  There is a short story.  In this story an explorer is in trouble on some planet, some moon, some space station, or suchlike.  Communications with the home planet are horribly impaired for some reason – technical impairment due to some traumatic disaster as yet poorly understood.

The dudes on the ground have been sending out various signals in coded jargon, to no avail.  The author dilates on their sorrow and frustration.  Finally the astronaut’s Mom steps up and informs them that the thing to do is to transmit one very simple and unambiguous message, one that technical glitches cannot ever scramble, and to repeat it without limit until it is caught.  They obey her.  The message is:

I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you I love you . . .

So, Ratty.  Who wrote that story, please, and what is the title?


2 thoughts on “A Partridge in a Pear Tree”

  1. I do not recall such a story, and searching for one has come up empty.

    When I read your description, I immediately though of Robert Heinlein’s short-short story “Searchlight”, which involves finding a way to locate a blind, musically-talented, girl whose spacecraft has crashed at an unknown location on the Moon, but that has a different solution and message.  The story appears in volume 2 of Expanded Universe; I have not found a copy on-line.

    It also brought to mind Isaac Asimov’s  My Son, the Physicist!” [online copy], but that doesn’t fit the description either.

    Meanwhile, here is the classic SNOBOL4 APIAPT program from 1968.



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