Legend of the Three Purses

by Stories

It is said that when Saint Nicholas was Bishop of Myra and heard about the extreme poverty of one of his parishioners who once a wealthy nobleman but was now unable to provide food and clothes to his three daughters and marry them off because of the custom of dowry in those days, he was overcome with pity and sympathy. Then he decided to throw a purse of gold from the open window anonymously to the daughters’ bed. In the first night, he threw the purse on the eldest daughter’s bed. In the morning, family was pleasantly surprised to find it and rejoiced to see it and spent some of the money to buy food and clothes for themselves and rest of the money was used to marry her to her lover. The father was even more surprised, when he found a similar purse of gold the next day on the bed of the second daughter. She was also married off.

However, the father could not curb his curiosity to know the identity of their secret helper and hid himself beneath the window on the third night. When Saint Nicholas came to throw the silken purse of gold for the youngest daughter, he sprang up from his hiding place and kissing his robes thanked him very much for his kindness. However, Saint Nicholas begged him not to tell anyone about his good deeds and disappeared. Since then, the family remained well fed, warm and clothed. Hence, the custom of gifting three silken purses on Christmas came into being.

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