Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A tense day

My wife awoke first this morning.

She sat up suddenly. I looked up at her.

“Do you hear that?” she asked.

I listened for a moment.

A low hum.

“The giants,” I said, and jumped out of bed.

I dressed quickly and went downstairs. Eomar, the head of North Pole security, was waiting for me in the dining room. He was drinking a coup of hot chocolate. I joined him.

“More giants came during the night,” he said. “Some are strangers to the North Pole. They now have more tents up.”

I nodded and sipped my hot chocolate.

“The humming continued all night. They took turns. But about an hour ago they all went to the tent with the frozen giant, and this loud humming started.”

“Any messages from them? Any invitations to join them?” I asked.

“No,” he answered. “I took the precaution of calling back some of the elves.”

“Good,” I sighed. “I’m sorry about their vacations.”

I ran my hand over my beard a few times.

“How many giants?” I asked. “And how many who are strangers?”

“We don’t have an exact count. About 100, and about 30 to 40 are strangers.”

I thought back to the snow giant war. There had been several hundred then. They had almost won. But 30 to 40 could still be hard to handle if there was a problem, especially if some of the North Pole giants joined them And most of the elves were now away, so our numbers were small.

“Any sign of goblins?” I asked.


During the war, goblins had joined the fight. They had almost tipped the fight the giants’ way. And since then we’ve had ongoing problems with goblin uprisings. The worst outbreak had been in the 1930s.

“Very well,” I sighed. “Keep an eye on things. Maybe if they succeed in waking the frozen giant, they will celebrate and leave.”

The humming continued throughout the day. We all kept working, but our mind was not always on what we were doing.

More and more elves kept coming back early from vacation, having gotten word about what was going on. Even some dwarves showed up!

Early in the afternoon, Zbigniew Ting’s mail plane arrived. I was surprised to see him come in the large pane.

Then he came out – with a gaggle of uncles, brothers, cousins and other friends and relatives!

“I am hearing that you might be wanting some guests for dinner,” he said.

I laughed. “I’m sure Mrs. Claus will be more than happy to meet more of your family.”

“I am not liking this hum,” said one of the older men with Zbigniew.

“This is my uncle, Zum,” Zbigniew said, introducing us.

“Pleased to meet you,” I said.

He then introduced me to them all.

I must admit, I am normally good at remembering names, but the Ting names left me confused! I remember his brothers Juan Ting and Will Ting; his uncle Mel Ting; his cousins Ray Ting, Cy Ting and Everett Ting; and his brother-in-law Andy Ting-Atall!

There was much laughing at dinner. But it was nervous laughing. In the background was the humming. It had grown louder.

By night time - though, of course, in July we have sun almost the entire day - Eomar said there were nearly 200 giants.

I am taking a break now to write this. I think it will be another long night with little sleep.


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