Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Leaping gnomes, what a flight!

Today I took the reindeer for a flight.

That was a good idea. They need to get some exercise.

I also brought along some gnomes.

That was not a good idea.

Now the gnomes who had come to the North Pole for wedding had flown on the blimps to Bavaria. But that’s not the same as flying on the sleigh.

Still, at breakfast this morning when I mentioned I was going to take the sleigh out, Dwobnab, the leader of the gnome red guild, said, “I’ve always wanted to fly in the sleigh. I’ve heard there’s nothing like it.”

“Oh,“ I said, “I’ve been on some rides in amusement parks that are like it. But it is an experience. Would you care to join me?”

He clapped his hands in excitement.

“May my brothers come, too?”

I said certainly. And so it was that Dwobnab, Ellyjodo, Fonwicket, Minninottin,and Nacklemalkin met with me outside the stable.

I must admit I have a hard time telling gnomes apart. I did not know which one was Dwobnab, so I said to the group, “All set, Dwoibnab?”

The one in the red cap said, “Yes. We are very excited.”

They introduced themselves again. I think they knew I wasn’t sure who each of them was. Each had worn a different colored cap, so that made it easier to remember.

“Now,” I explained, “there is a magic in the sleigh so as long as you stay seated, when it is flying normally you can’t fly out. But for safety sake, we have put in seatbelts.”

The all nodded and smiled, then climbed into the seat behind mine.

I got in. The reindeer were snorting with excitement.

“Now dash away all!” I called out.

We gathered speed on the snow, they rose into the air.

I kept them in check. I didn’t want my riders to be frightened.

I circled the village.

The gnomes babbled excitedly.
Then I flew out to where the giants had been encamped. I followed their trail across the snow and ice until I drew near the giant village.

I turned the sleigh around before we reached the camp.

As we started for home, I turned to my riders.

Dwobnab and Ellyjodo were smiling broadly. Two others Fonwicket and Minninottin looked uneasy.

Nacklemalkin had a strange look on his face.

“Are you all right. Nacklemalkin?”

“I .. I.” He suddenly took out a large handkerchief and sneezed.

But he sneezed so hard he flew out of his seat belt and into the air!

As he flew away behind us, the other four all climbed out of their seats and jumped after him!

“Turn, boys,” I yelled to the reindeer.

We turned about as fast as we could. In the distance I saw a black dot falling that must have been the gnomes.

As we drew near, I saw they were holding hands.

I flew beneath them and they landed in the seat behind me with a thump,

“I’m not staying in this contraption,” one of them squeaked.

I couldn’t tell which one. They’d lost their hats.

But before I could say anything, he jumped!

Then the others jumped after him!

I swung the sleigh about again and caught them once more.

I started to say, “Now, hold on,“ but one of them jumped again, followed by the other four!

I caught them four more times. They jumped four more times. After the last jump, they landed in the snow.

I landed and got out.

“Why did you do that?” I said. I was frightened and a little angry, so my voice must have been too loud.

All five of them covered their ears.

“It’s all right,” I said. “I’m not angry. I’m just a little upset.”

“We will never get in that terrible sleigh again,” one of them said.

“It’s a long way back to the village,” I said. ”You might get lost.”

But they refused. We went back and forth.

Finally, they agreed to get in, but only if we did not fly.

So it was that we returned to the village on the ground. The reindeer were so put out. They wanted to fly!

It took us four hours.

As soon as we were back, the gnomes ran off as fast as they could.

I took the reindeer back to the stables, and promised them a flight the next day.

But you can bet we won’t have any gnomes on board!


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