Ms. Chand’s essay was reprinted, with her clearly identified as the author, in “Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul” in 2000, as well as on heartwarmers.com, a Web site for inspirational stories. In 2003 Ms. Chand copyrighted the story with the United States Copyright Office. Last June Gibbs Smith, a small independent publisher, released the story, “Christmas Love,” as an illustrated gift book. The story has also been passed around through e-mail and on blogs, sometimes without attribution.
Except for a different first paragraph in which Mr. Walsch wrote that he could “vividly remember” the incident, his Dec. 28 Beliefnet post followed, virtually verbatim, Ms. Chand’s previously published writing, even down to prosaic details like “The morning of the dress rehearsal, I filed in ten minutes early, found a spot on the cafeteria floor and sat down.”