Friday, September 30, 2005

Secret Santa?

Zbigniew Ting flew in with the mail today. It’s been a few weeks since I last saw him.

We talked about my plans for a little trip to the United States incognito. He will fly us down.

This year, Mrs. Claus will join me. I’m glad. We didn’t have a vacation this year, so we will combine some sightseeing with some observations of the Christmas spirit.

Speaking of the Christmas spirit, gnomes have suggested that we do “Secret Santas” this year!

It seems they do it in their home lands, so they thought it would be nice.

We exchange gifts at the North Pole anyway, and I, of course, make sure everyone gets a gift.

But this might add a little twist. It might also help the growing warm relations along the elves, dwarves and gnomes to grow even more.

The Council will talk about the idea at the next meeting.

Of course, I had to laugh at the thought of my taking part.

How can I be a “Secret Santa”?

I am always Santa.

Maybe I’ll just be Nicholas.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The straight poop

I received the preliminary report on the possibility of creating a forest greenhouse at the North Pole.

The report basically set out what needs to be studied. The figures we have are all tentative, and much more data is needed before any conclusion can be reached.

I was amused by one area.

Under possible resources, the same items appeared under both potential sources of energy and fertilizer: the reindeer.

It took me a moment to realize what they meant.

Yes, they do generate plenty of “sources” of energy!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005



Days of snow.

Snow in the forecast.

What else can you expect at the North Pole!

The children were all out playing in the snow while the sun was still up.

Some of them were making snow angels. Imagine the size of snow angels made by gnomes!

The only smaller snow angels I can imagine is the ones we might have if we had pixies living here too.

We also saw Dimmis’ latest invention in action: a snow making machine.

Several other elves tried to point out that we already had more than enough snow at the North Pole, but Dimmis said he could make better snow.

Well, he turned on his machine, and it did make snow!

Red snow.

Blue snow.

Green snow.

I guess better is in the eyes of the beholder!

Some of the children used the colored snow to make snow men and snow women.

Red, blue and green ones.

Interesting. Very creative.

Dimmis seemed pleased.

Alandil, who is a bit of a joker, quipped that he could make his own colored snow.

Yellow snow.

When Dimmis and the other elves figures out what he meant, they pummeled him with snowballs.

Red, blue, and green ones!

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Welcome Alosil!

We had a special event here at the North Pole today.

Thrgi and his wife Hidys had a baby boy.

They have picked the name Alosil.

I got to hold him.

Just as I’d held Thrgi and Hidys when they were young – for they were both born at the North Pole, too.

Babies help us to remember that no matter how dark things seem, life goes on.

They are a promise.

As I held Alosil, I thought of the first times I held each of my own children.

And I remember that I have to finish the story of how Mrs. Claus and I married!

All in good time.

Tonight’s thoughts belong to Alosil and the future.

Monday, September 26, 2005

A poem in the mail

This poem arrived in a letter today. The letter writer did not write the poem. I wish I knew who wrote it.

Santa's Sleigh

Have you ever wondered
Where Santa leaves his sleigh,
When he brings toys for the girls and boys
To find on Christmas Day?

For reindeer, all the roof-tops
are much too smooth and steep!
One slip, and they'd go sliding down,
and land in one big heap!

But if they were in the garden,
How could Santa, with his sack,
Climb right up to the roof-top,
Then down the chimney stack?

There's too much danger in the road...
So, where CAN he leave his sleigh?
Perhaps you'd like to ask him,
When he comes round your way!

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Sunday - some rest

Since I came back from my visit with King Eldinil, things have been very peaceful here at the North Pole.

I haven’t been thinking about the dark forces too much in the past week.

I’ve been thinking about Christmas!

So many toys to make.

So many letters to read.

And, in the coming weeks, a trip to plan.

You see, one of the things I do each year is to visit lands where they believe in me to see how alive the spirit of Christmas is.

I also like to see if that spirit is being misused!

That’s in a few weeks.

Today, it’s Sunday.

Because of my trip last week, Mrs. Claus and I decided to spend a quiet day at home.

Well, relatively quiet.

She sat at the piano and played, and we both sang.

That’s a kind of noise I like!

And tonight, we made some popcorn and I read some poetry. I chose Robert Frost. I always liked his name.

I read one of my favorites, “Birches.”

“…Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.”

Mrs. Claus liked that part. I do too.

But I am also fond of the last line:

“One could do worse that be a swinger of birches.”

I wonder if our greenhouse forest could have some birches? I think I’d like to see some elves, dwarves and gnomes try their luck at swinging.

“Id like to try it once again (it’s been years).

Of course, only when Mrs. Claus wasn’t looking!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

A sign of hope

Although they had hinted at the growing darkness in the world, it wasn’t directly brought up until lunch the next day.

King Rurgec looked at King Eldinil and Counselor Namwyn, who both nodded.

“We need to talk about one final thing,” King Rurgec said. “As you know, my people are lovers of deep places in the earth.

“Not long ago, we found signs of goblin activity in one deep cave. But there was more. Trolls had been with them. And gremlins.”

“And we have seen signs of growing numbers of baghests, banshees and howlers in the forests,” Namwyn said.

“We too have seen more activity from such creatures of darkness,” Eldinil said. “We have also had reports of snow giants leaving their southern ice to cause problems.”

I thought of the snow giants who had come to the North Pole to help resurrect the frozen one we had found. It had been a tense time – but it had led to the dwarves and gnomes joining us once again.

“Not all of these beings have ill intent,” Namwyn said. “Some wish for peace, and have given us some warnings.”

“But what is most troubling is that humans are joining them,” Eldinil said.

“Some humans have begun to experiment with the dark arts,” Rurgec said. “Many of them do not realize what they are about. They think it is a game. But it infects them and poisons their souls.”

“Then there are those who know what they are doing is wrong, but do not care,” Eldinil said.

“The result is that evil grows,” Namwyn said. “Darkness spreads in away that it has not since what the humans call the Second World War.”

“I have seen signs of it,” I said with a sigh. “More greed, more selfishness.

“But I have also seen instances of great love and compassion, or care for others,” I added.

“The creator does not leave us without help - or hope,” Eldinil said.

“True,” I said. “I have seen him do it again and again during my years as a gift giver.”

We agreed to work together to keep good alive.

That willingness gives me hope.

Friday, September 23, 2005


“We ask to come visit to give your attempt our official blessing,” Eldinil said.

I could have fainted.

“It’s about time were elder races learned to get along,” Rurgec said. “The dark forces are growing stronger, and we need to work together.”

“Of course,” I said, “You are always welcome.”

‘We will set a time later,” Namwyn said. “For now, we would like to hear from you how it is going.”

I told them everything – the good and the bad.

I must have spoken for an hour. The let me continue uninterrupted.

When I finished, Eldinil nodded.

“It is much as we heard,” he said. “Both King Rurgec and I have heard form those of our people who are happy, and unhappy. But the different stories all tell the same story: Those of good will are working hard and are making it work.”

“I hear you even have some interesting music being developed,” Namwyn said. “I look forward to hearing elvish, dwarf and gnome voices sing in harmony.”

“Just as we long for harmony among our races,” Eldinil added.

The meeting lasted through the day and into the night.

Oh, and there was plenty of food and drink along the way as well!

Indeed, the feast continued well into Saturday. It turns out the three races were also forging treaties to work together elsewhere in the world.

I also learned about what the dark forces were doing.

It left me uneasy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

King Eldinil begins

“Welcome Santa Claus,” King Eldinil said. “We are honored by your presence.”

I bowed.

“I too am honored. It is not often one is in such company.”

“We wanted to meet with you to discuss a matter of great urgency,” King Eldinil said. “King Rurgec of the Dwarf confederation and Namwyn of the Council of Gnomes and I have talked at length about the changes at the North Pole.”

“We have heard disturbing things about your attempt to resurrect the tradition of eles, dwarves and gnomes living side by said,” Namwyn said.

“I must admit I was uneasy,” King Rurgec said.

“We have a request to make,” Eldinil said.

My heart sank. Are they going to ask me to stop?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

To the palace of King Eldinil

The trip to meet with Eldinil, the High King of the Elves, began with much fanfare.

All the North Pole elves gathered in the town square to see us off. They were joined by all of the gnomes and dwarves.

Seeger even had the choir ready to sing a song in honor of former great Elf kings!

I was dressed in my best suit – and thanks to my diet, it even fit (well, mostly!).

Eomar, as the head of the North Pole Elves and so going with me, was dressed in his best. He looked wonderful in his forest green suit with red trim.

The choir burst into song as the stable elves led the team and the sleigh into the square.

The reindeer had all been cleaned and brushed. Their antlers had been rubbed with oil so they glistened,

They were wearing the finest harnesses we had, with gold links and buckles, and hundreds of gold and silver bells that tinkled as the reindeer walked.

Walked? No, pranced as they carried themselves proudly and could barely conceal their delight at the trip.

I gave my lovely wife a kiss, then Eomar and I climbed aboard.

“We hope to be back soon with news of our meeting,” I said. “Until then, keep up the good work and heed my good wife. There are only three months until Christmas!”

I shook the reins – and away we flew!

We circled the village once, both of us waving, and then headed south to Norway.

It seemed as if we were only in the air a minute when we passed over the Norwegian coast. We wove our way through the mountain passes in the Jotunheimen Mountains (the realm of the giants, as the Norwegians like to say). We circled, Glittertinden, Norway’s highest mountain, until I saw the sparkling light that indicated an Elvish passage into the mountain.

Anyone seeing us would have thought we crashed right into the mountain.

But of course, the opening simply let us into a passage that led us deep into the mountain.

Finally, the passage widened into a great chamber. In the center of the chamber lay Farnhorth, the glittering palace of the King Eldinil.

Eomar could barely conceal his excitement. To see the reat King is an immense honor – for a human, and certainly for a elf.

We landed. A number of elves dressed in green suits approached us.

One elf stepped forward.

“We are honored to welcome the great Santa Claus to Farnhorth,” he said, bowing. “The High King awaits.”

Before I could ask his name (I later learned it was Elros Calcacil), he gestured us forward.

We entered through a great door into the king’s audience hall.

I was surprised to see three thrones. The central throne held Eldinil, with his crown that rose several feet above his head in triple spires of white gold.

But seated to his left was a dwarf who was wearing the ornate and jewel encrusted crown of the king of the dwarves. And to his right sat a gnome wearing the simple gold band on his head that showed he was a representative of the high council of the gnomes.

I gasped.

This is not at all what I expected!

Monday, September 19, 2005

So, it was the birds

I’d forgotten about the birds.

To be honest, such things happen to me regularly. I don’t even think about them when they happen any more.

I’ll share one little secret.

I had a small bag in which I kept treats for various kinds of animals. I always kept it in my pocket – that’s why I was able to take out some bird seed.

The bag was made of the same elvish material as my Christmas gift bag. You’d be amazed how much you can keep in such bags.

I lost that treat bag years ago. Maybe I’ll ask the elves to make me another.

After all, I have the birds to thank for my lovely wife!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Mrs. Claus: When my feeling began

It was the ride to Rhundveld when I first began to look at Nicholas with different eyes.

Of course, I did not know that when I returned to his house for his answer.

What I did know in my heart was that he would say yes.

But I still had fears.

He greeted me at the door, smiling broadly.

He led me to the visiting room again.

This time, tea was waiting. And cookies.

I tried one. I had never tasted anything quite like it.

“This is good,” I said. “What is the flavor?”

“It’s a spice called ginger,” he said. “It’s originally from a land called India.”

I made up my mind to try to get some for the bakery.

“Did you bake these?” I asked.

“Yes. I happen to like cookies.”

I started on a second cookie, but then I put it down.

“Will you come with me?” I asked.

He smiled.

“I will travel with you, with your father’s permission, of course,” he said. “And at least one of your brothers should go with us.”

“Thank you. I knew you were kind hearted,” I said. “Father has already said yes. He says he knew you were a good man. And my brother Nicholas will go with us. We will be back in an hour with a wagon.”

I jumped up and gave him a hug, then hurried home to get my things.

Nicholas, my brother, was waiting with a cart.

“Get your pack aboard or I’ll leave without you, Kris,” Nicholas said.

I rushed into the house. My mother and father were waiting.

“Be careful,” my mother said, giving me a hug,

My father handed me a basket.

“I baked a few things for the trip,” he said.

As I hugged him, he said, “I think there is more to Master Nicholas than we know. Listen to him.”

My brother had already filled the back of the cart with baskets of bread.

I climbed up next to him and we rode the Master Nicholas’ house.

He was waiting with a small bag. He climbed up next to me.

“I’m so glad you came,” I said.

“I am happy to help in any way I can,” he said. “I am a neighbor.”

In his story about the trip, my darling husband said he remembers that ride to this day. So do I.

We talked about all sorts of things. The war and the famine and drought were on my mind. So much suffering. And now the plague.

But as we rode, Master Nicholas also entertained us with jokes. And he sang some songs – in German, in Latin, and in several languages I did not know. Even though my brother and I did not understand them we knew they were funny and joyful, and they made us laugh.

He sang so freely, without the self-consciousness most men had around me.

I was not a beauty. But I was not bad looking. And I was healthy and had all my teeth – something that made me a good catch in some eyes!

My family was not wealthy, but we were comfortable, so I did have a dowry – something that made me a good catch in some other eyes.

Around me, men were often nervous, or tried to show off.

But not Master Nicholas.

He was natural and easy. He felt comfortable around me – and that made me feel comfortable.

“It’s funny to meet someone else with my brother’s name,” I said. “My father was always devoted to St. Nicholas. He used to tell us all sorts of stories about him.”

“You can’t believe everything you hear,” he said. “People exaggerate.”

“They stories aren’t true?“ I said.

“Some are legends, told to teach lessons, or share ideas, or even entertain,” he said. “After all, Our Lord told parables. You don’t believe they were literal stories about real people?”

“True,” I said.

What was also true was that that thought had never occurred to me before.

I looked at him. Perhaps my father was right: There is more to him than we know.

“And the other stories, well, let’s talk about you,” he said.

I was startled.


“Yes,” he said. “You show up with your basket full of bread. You never seem to run out. Maybe some day there will be stories about you performing a miracle so that you never run out.”

“It’s no miracle. We bake it all,” I said.

“True. But what a great story a miraculous supply of bread would be.”

I tried to change the subject.

“Did your parents know the stories about St. Nicholas,” I asked. “Is that why they named you after him?”

He chuckled as if he’d just heard a private joke.

“I don’t believe they heard any of those stories. They just liked the name.”

“Still,” I said. “He must have been a great man that people would tell such stories about him. We don’t have men like that these days.”

He thought for a moment.

“I think there are men and women like him today,” he said. “Just look at your own family.”

“We’re not saints,” I said.

“You can say that again, Kris,” my brother said.

“Kris?” Master Nicholas said.

“Her middle name. Kristina,” my brother explained. “We all call her that, when we want to tease her. She used to be a bit of a tomboy.”

I slapped my brother’s shoulder.

“You should see the scar on her knee from when she fell out of a tree,” my brother said.

“Nicholas!” I said. The thought of a man seeing my knee!

“And that was a long time ago,” I added.

“Yes, I suppose two years is a long time,” he said with a laugh.

“Oh,” Master Nicholas said, “two years can be a long time in a young person’s life. They grow and change so much.”

“Do you have children?” I asked.

“No,” he said, a hint of sadness in his voice. “I never married. But I have always loved children.”

I was surprised. A good and kind man like him never marrying? Maybe he had taken vows, I thought. Many holy people do.

It was at that moment that something happened that made me look at him differently.

As he was talking, a bird landed on his knee. He glanced down, then back at me, and never stopped talking.

He slowly reached into his pocket, and pulled out some seed. He still kept on talking, his eyes on me.

Why he had seed in his pocket was beyond me. Why he did not react to a bird landing on him was also beyond me. It was as if a bird landing on him was a perfectly natural thing, and he just happened to carry seed with him.

He held out his hand with the seed in it, yet kept talking and kept his eyes on me.

The bird hopped onto his hand and began to eat.

When the seed was gone, the bird chirped, and flew away.

Still talking, he reached into his pocket and took out more seed. He held out his hand to the side of the cart.

Two birds landed on his hand, and began to eat. They chirped when done, and flew away.

Master Nicholas never reacted in any way.

It was as if he treated the birds in the same natural way he was treating me, and they too felt comfortable.

I looked in his eyes and for the first time I saw what was there.

Love. Not romantic love. Just love. The kind of love I imagine Christ had in his eyes when he looked at any of us.

And my heart stirred.

That is when I began to look at my beloved Nicholas as more than just a kind old man.

I return

I’m back.

The meeting in Norway was – well – more than I expected.

Much more.

It was so unexpected I didn’t get back until late last night.

But I see my lovely wife has been busy with this blog.

I will wait to see what she has to say today before I tell about my experience with the King of the Elves.

I will give you a hint, though: He wasn’t the only king there!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

More from Mrs. Claus

I had more contact with my beloved Nicholas in the coming weeks.

Some of that contact was in person. We exchanged pleasantries sometimes after church or when he stopped by the bakery. We also ran into each other at some of the places where I helped, and where he had begun to help.

More often, though, the contact was indirect.

I regulalry ran into Peter, making delivieries and visiting people on Master Nicholas' behalf.

I also found evidence of Nicholas' direct contact with the people of my town.

I remember one time when I went to the home of the Widow Buckner.

Her son had been running a terrible fever. I was afraid for his life.

I stopped by with some soup one morning, only to find him up and playing with a toy horse.

"It's a miracle," the widow said. "Look at my Willie."

"I am happy to see he has recovered so quickly," I said.

"It was Master Nicholas," she said. "He brought some medicine and said to give it to my Willie every two hours. I started yesterday morning, and look at him now."

I smiled at the boy, who was enjoying his horse.

"And he even gave him that toy horse," the widow said.

I looked at the horse. It was skillfully made. Even better than my brother Nicholas could make.

I asked to see the medicine. She brought it, and I sniffed. I could detect the scent of some forest plants I knew.

I began finding more and more evidence of Master Nicholas' medical skills - and toys - as I went about my own visits throughout our village over the next few days.

I was impressed. He had been in so many places where there was a need - often getting there before I could. And he was an old man!

So when I heard about the plagues in the neighboring villages, he was the first person I thought of.

I was nervous when I aproached his house.

Even though we had seen each other often in the past few weeks, we really didn't know each other.

But I needed his help. So I knocked on his door.

The door opened. He stood there, a smile blossoming on his face.

"I hope I am not disturbing you, Master Nicholas," I said.

"Not at all," he said warmly. "Come in."

I looked about his place. It was neat and clean - not like so many bachelor homes I'd seen! As he led me to the visiting room, I did see through a door one small room with a workbench in it and some partly made wooden animals on the bench.

In the visiting room, I sat in a comfortable chair.

"Would you like some tea?" he asked.

"No," I said. "Thank you. I have come for something else."

I realized how rude I must have sounded. I thought for a moment that I would change my answer and accept his offer of tea, but bfore I could say anything more he sat in a chair opposite me and said, "Yes?"

He smiled. I felt strangely at ease.

"Your servant, Peter…" I began.

"Friend, not servant," he said, stil smiling in his friendly way.

"Oh," I said, pleased to hear that. Friends. I thought even more of him.

"Your friend, Peter, has sometimes come into town with medicines. He, or you, must have great skills."

"We find some things of that sort," he said.

"There is a plague spreading through neighboring villages," I said. "I fear it will strike ours. Is there something you, or he, could make?"

He looked sad and thoughtful for a moment. Then he said, "If we know the nature of the illness, we can sometimes find something to help."

Then I felt bold.

"Will you travel with me to Rhundveld, one of the villages where the illness has struck?"

A young woman of my time did not simply travel with men she was not related to and barely knew. But the mission was important.

"You would be taking a risk, yourself," he said.

"When people need help, I must do what I can," I said.

He nodded.

"Tell you what," he said. "I will think about this, and give you an answer tomorrow."

My first thought was that he was trying to get out of doing it. But then I saw the look on his face. He was not trying to find an excuse. He meant it. He was going to think about it.

So I smiled.

"I look forward to your answer," I said.

He led me to the door, and stood watching as I walked down the path. Then he closed the door.

I walked home feeling at peace.

I was certain that he was going to help.

But at this point I still thought of him just as an old, kind-hearted man. There was no thought of romance.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Mrs. Claus tells her side

My dear husband left this morning for his meeting with Eldinil.

He was jolly as always. But I could tell he was concerned.

You can’t hide that from a wife after centuries of marriage!

He has not returned yet. We do not know how the meeting went.

Knowing him, it will turn out for the best in the end. He has a way of making things turn out well.

While he is away, I will take this time to tell a little of my side of the story or how we met.

I read what he wrote. I did not know he saw me getting honey form he bees. He never said anything about that before.

But when I think of it, it helps to explain why he sometimes chuckles when I call him, “Honey.”

I do remember that the time I first saw him in the bakery.

I wish I could say it was love at first sight.

But I was 17.

And he was old. Older than I could even imagine!

Oh, he seemed nice. He had a way of smiling that made one feel warm. And he had a certain twinkle in his eyes.

At 17, I was still trying to decide what to do with my life.

I loved to bake. I could remain with the bakery, working for my father, and eventually, for one or more of my brothers, and still doing what I could to help the other people in the town.

That appealed to me, though there was a part of me that was sad I could not have my own bakery. At that time, women did not usually have their own businesses.

Another possibility was to enter a convent and dedicate my life to prayer and service.

I liked that idea, too. My family was always very religious, and I think my parents would have loved to have one of us children choose a life of service to the Church.

As appealing as that was, though, my strongest desire was to be a wife and mother.

They were certainly a number of fine eligible young men in the town - and some of them were quite handsome - but there was always something missing.

When I looked about the town at the eligible young men, however, I saw no one who stirred my heart and soul.

The only times I felt anything that were when I was praying, or when helping others.

When I first saw my beloved Nicholas, I felt none of those feelings.

I'll tell more about this tomorrow.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

All set for tomorrow's meeting

The sun is down.

The reindeer are all in their stalls, cleaned and brushed.

The sleigh is polished and the runners waxed.

My suit fits. Mostly.

I am ready.

I fly to Norway for the meeting with the King of the Elves tomorrow morning.

The meeting is set for 11 a.m.

The flight will take only a few seconds. Remember, I am used to covering great distances in a short time at Christmas.

I’m still trying to figure out why King Eldinil asked for the meeting.

I guess I’ll find out tomorrow.

But if the meeting is set for 11, maybe it will be followed by lunch.

Elves are wonderful cooks!

Beautiful music

I didn’t get a chance to write last night.

The gnomes – with the help of some elves and dwarves – have created a wonderful choir.

They are learning more songs. Last night was rehearsal. I went.

My ears are still smiling!

The leader of the choir, Seeger (I’m not kidding, that really is his name!), has real skill at blending voices and different styles of music.

There was one dwarf song they are working on that was simply beautiful.

Even the dwarves were shedding a few tears!

One funny note. (pun intended!)

Some of the gnomes sing so high – well above soprano – that the notes went beyond normal human hearing. But Shulun, my dog, could hear. His ears kept dancing up and down as they sang, and at one point he broke into a howl.

Well, that stopped the song.

Seeger looked at Shulun, waved his baton at him, and said, “That was flat.”

The whole choir started to laugh.

Shulun wagged his tail.

Ah, I wish I could take Seeger and the choir with me for my visit with Eldinil, the King of the Elves.

About that meeting: I have been good. No cookies. The suit almost fits!

We’ve had some snow lately at the North Pole.

We still have sunlight – about 14 hours a day – and it’s not too cold yet (we may even hit 33 F today) so it’s a good time for the elf, gnome, and dwarf children to get out to play.

They built snow forts and snow figures. One group built a snow Santa.

One look at it - and all the extra snow they packed around its middle - and I was glad that I am on that diet!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Candidates for the naughty list

My blog has been spammed!

My e-mail has been spammed before, but I had not experienced that with my blog until recently.

On one level, I don’t mind.

Some folks are trying to make a living as salespeople. I don’t hold that against them. If I am not interested, I can just ignore them.

What saddens me, though, is the approach some take.

They praise my blog, telling me what a wonderful one it is, how well written, how it is better than the others they read, and so on. They tell me they will certainly benchmark my blog.

I have received the same basic message from several people. It is as if they are all working from the same script.

There are no indications they ever return. There is no attempt to talk about what I am writing about. There is no attempt to be genuinely and sincerely personal.

I know they are just buttering me up to try to get me interested in what they are selling.

But a good salesperson can do that without lying.

These people are clearly not being truthful.

That saddens me.

Why, I just might have to reconsider the whole lump of coal story!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Spit and polish for the meeting

Hmm. Things are getting curious.

I spoke with Eomar about the meeting with the king of the elves Friday.

He told me he had not contacted the king. Nor did he know anyone who had.

Eomar is not a liar. So who spoke to the king?

Or does the meeting have nothing to do with the dwarves and gnomes at the North Pole?

Now I am really wondering!

To help me get ready me ready for the meeting, the stable elves have been polishing my sleigh, and cleaning the harnesses and reins.

On Thursday, they plan to give the reindeer baths and good brushings.

Meanwhile, by lovely wife got out my best suit and brushed it down.

She also asked me to try it on.

It was a little tight.

Too many cookies!

So for the next couple of days, I diet.

Maybe that funny song I printed yesterday was true!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A silly song

This came in yesterday’s mail. I’d seen it before, but it still made me laugh!

Santa Claus, Santa Claus, You are Much Too Fat!
(sing to the tune of "Jingle Bells")

I heard a reindeer hoof, then Santa dressed in red,
came crashing thro' the roof and landed on my bed.
I thought it was a dream, but quickly did I wake,
as soon as I heard Santa scream, "I want a piece of cake!"


Oh, Santa Claus, Santa Claus, you are much too fat;
I was sleeping peacefully but now my bed is flat. Oh!
Santa Claus, Santa Claus, how much do you weigh?
I'm glad I'm not a reindeer that has to pull your sleigh!

He got up off the floor and said, "How do you do?"
I said, "My back is sore, my head is black and blue."
"So sorry!" he replied, and then he asked my name.
He offered me a ride, I said, "No, thank you just the same!"


I heard a "Ho, Ho, Ho," the sleigh was in the sky.
but it was moving slow and wasn't very high.
It wobbled in the air, I hoped it wouldn't fall;
Said Santa, chewing cookies, "Merry Christmas, one and all!"


Saturday, September 10, 2005


A few days ago I mentioned that I do not give pets as Christmas gifts. I leave that up to parents. Only parents know if they and their children can take care of an animal.

Pets need a lot of care and time. Some cost lots of money for food. They need to go to veterinarians. Some of them need space to run in, or need to be taken for walks. Some have cages or litter boxes that need to be cleaned.

I love pets. I have had many over the years. Right now we have Shulun, our dog, and Mathom, our cat.

I have also lost pets. They grow older and eventually they die.

I have cried when my pets have died.

So I understand the pain a child feels when he or she loses a pet.

Just today I received a letter from James, a boy whose dog died a month ago.

It was like a lot of letters I have received. His dog, Duke, was old and sick, and had to be put to sleep.

"He used to sleep in my room. I wasn't afraid of the dark when he was in my room."

The dark can be scary.

Losing someone we love is also scary.

Death can be scary.

After disasters, I often get letters from children because they have lost pets. I expect a lot of letters because of Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

I read all the letters. Sometimes I cry when I read them.

I cried when I read James' letter.

Shulun was sleeping next to the fire. After I read James' letter, I got up from my desk and went over to pet Shulun.

He wagged his tail contentedly.

I wish I could help James to feel as happy and contented.

But there are things even Santa can't do.

Friday, September 09, 2005

An elvish meeting in the works

I received a surprise today.

Eldinil, the Grand High King of the Elves, sent a personal message.

He wants to meet with me.

I have not received such a request from a King of the Elves in more than a century.

He offered to come here to the North Pole. That was a great honor. But I said I would be happy to fly to his palace.

The meeting is set for next Friday.

I don’t know why he wants to meet, but I have a feeling it might be about elves and gnomes at the North Pole.

I don’t want to think Eomar has something to do with this.

As the leader of the North Pole elves, he will, of course, travel with me.

I have much to think about for the next week.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

How do you think I look?

I’m feeling much better today after my soccer mishap yesterday.

I still have a little stiffness.

Even though I have been blessed by the Lord with a long life on Earth, I can still be hurt.

Oh, I’ve had more than a few injuries from falls, frightened squirrels, and a bowling ball (don’t ask).

But one of the blessings in my long life of being the gift giver is that I heal quickly.

Also, my body doesn’t age.

I have looked basically the same age for centuries.

I have, however, gained some weight in some countries!

I’d better explain that.

You see, I appear the way people believe I look.

So in most places I am a bearded jolly fellow who dresses in red.

But in some places, I am thin, or beardless, or dressed in green or brown.

So what do I really look like?

That’s up to you!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Well, maybe a little foolish


That’s what my beloved wife said.

(A man of your age – such foolishness!)

Things of that sort.

You see, I went back to the school today. I do so like being with the children.

At lunch, they started a soccer game.

Naturally, I just had to play.


Well, we were having a wonderful game, running up and down the play area outside the school.

(A man of your age!)

I managed to get the ball, and was heading toward the goal.

I was going to score!


When I tripped.

(At your age!)

Actually, I flipped.

(Foolishness! Foolishness!)

And landed on my knee and face…

(Imagine, at your age!)

Bending my glasses, scraping my knee, and bruising my face, which is now swelling.


So tonight I have an ice pack on my face.

And on my knee.

(I don’t know what you were thinking!)

Well, I know what I was thinking.

And I still think it:

Foolishness or not, it was fun!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

First day of school

It was the first day of school here at the North Pole.

We’ve had a school here for many years to educate the elf children. Now we have dwarf and gnome children as well.

That means we will have to change some of the lessons.

The elf school we’ve had for years has taught basic math and science, but also elf history and language. Now we must include the languages and histories of all our new residents.

Our school has also always included “shop.”

I should say, “workshops.”

The students get to spend a semester at a time as interns in one of our shops.

Most know what they want to do when they grow up. They go into the shops where their parents work.

But some elves are drawn to different crafts. Why, one of our best doll makers is the son of a toy train maker and an ice cream maker!

And even if they do go into the same shops as their parents, we want the elves to know about some of the others skills. If we need extra help in a shop, that way we can have elves who can jump right in.

I remember when we had a flu outbreak one November. It hit the chocolate workshop very bad, and we would not have been able to fill all the requests if we hadn’t had stuffed animal, metal working, and knitting elves ready to step in for a week.

So school is important.

On the first day of school, I always stop by.

I greet the students. I listen in on some of their lessons.

And then we all sit down at lunch for sundaes. MMMMM.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Labor Day

Today is Labor Day in the United States. It’s a holiday there.

Here at the North Pole, it’s also a labor day.

But it’s not a holiday.

We have only three months left until the Christmas season.

All the workshops are working at full capacity to get all the toys and games and candy and clothes ready in time.

They are creating enormous piles of dolls, model trains, games, socks, chalk boards, balls, toy planes, sleds, scarves, candy canes, water color sets, false noses, sweaters, stuffed animals, crayons, plastic dinosaurs, blocks, fire trucks with hoses that really shoot water, ovens, tea sets, jacks, markers, and so much more.

We’re also trying to fill some unusual requests.

For example, the stuffed animal workshop has been asked to make some stuffed aardvarks (147), wombats (19), and even jelly fish (3).

We don't fill all requests. I leave live puppies, kittens, horses, tarantulas, and elephants (really) to parents to give.

Then there are the very different requests.

One French lad wrote me to ask for a working guillotine, along with three dolls that have heads that come off.

I don’t think so.

And one boy from Bulgaria wrote to tell me his father is a werewolf.

I have seen his father. He does look like a werewolf.

I won’t send the boy the electric razor he asked for, though.

Especially since he doesn't shave yet.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


We had a surprise today.

A chorus sang for us on the village commons.

The gnomes, naturally, took the lead to organize it.

But the choir included dwarves and elves.

The voices blended together so well.

It turns out they’ve been practicing for the last tow weeks.

Dwobnab told me later that the dwarves had had a hard time blending in with the other voices in harmony. At first, they’d sounded like bullfrogs, he said.

Of course, I have heard dwarves sing. They have beautiful songs and voices – once you get used to them. They are an acquired taste – like bagpipes (of which I am also fond!)

Still, I can see that from the musical point of view of gnomes - or elves, for that matter – dwarf voices take extra getting used to!

The chorus sang three songs. They were wonderful. We all applauded.

This is exactly what I wanted to see. All races living together in harmony!

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A quiet week - and a quiet evening

Because I have been spending time telling how I met my wife – and there’s more to the story! – I have failed to record much of what has been going on here at the North Pole in the last week.

Fortunately, after the visit of the giants last week, things have been quiet.

Still, there are some tensions about the dwarves and gnomes now living here. Eomar has been civil, but he has barely spoken to me.

The study of the tunnels continues. Gimlitin even found some Goblin artifacts in the deepest tunnels.

Fortunately, the artifacts were all old.

The study of the forest greenhouse idea has also shown signs of progress. Dwobnab and his people are very happy.

Tonight will be a quiet night at home. I am making some popcorn, and then my beloved wife and I will sit and watch the fire.

Sometimes, the simple times are the best.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Free - We help a town

The butterfly was joined by a second. Then a third.

Then more.

And some of them began to fly into the room.

A few people in the crowd began to notice. I saw some pointing, heard some whispers.

But the priest, the judge and the farmer seemed not to notice.

“Of course it could have been him,” the priest said. “Look at him. He has the dark skin of a devil’s servant.”

This was while I still had my Turkish complexion. Over the years my skin grew paler.

“Still,” the judge said. I have seen the boy. He has delivered baked goods. His father does own a bakery in Kringlesburg.”

“Ah, the devil is trying to seduce him, too,” the priest said.

I wasn’t angry at him. He did not look like an evil man. He looked frightened. And tired. I noticed his eyes were red. From lack of sleep? Crying? Maybe he was staying awake taking care of his people? Maybe praying for them?

Still, it was time to end this. I nodded my head.

At that moment, a butterfly landed on the end of the judge's long nose.

He sputtered and sneezed.

Other butterflies flittered in and out among the poeple.

There were dozens of butterflies.

People swatted at them, but they stayed just out of reach.

The constable tried swatting at one with his club.

The club slipped out of his hand and flew just past the head of the judge, who sputtered even more.

"We will have a recess," he screamsed, storming out of the room.

By this point, people were laughing.


A delay. And people in better spirits. This was exactly what I wanted.

The butterflies continued their flitting for close to an hour. Then one by one they flew back out the windows.

The judge did not return for nearly two hours.

When he did, the word had to go out for the people to come back.

Then they had to find the the priest and the farmer, who had disappeared.

Finally, they were found. Both had fallen asleep in the rectory!

At last, nearly four hours after the first butterflies had entered the courtroom, the judge called out for order.

Then we heard other noises outside.

Several people stood.

"More butterflies?" someone asked.

Many people laughed.

“No. There’s cows out there!” someone exclaimed.

The crowd surged out of the courtroom. Nicholas, Ann and I followed – the constable in tow.

Peter sat on a horse. He had with him a half dozen cows.

“What is the meaning of this,” the judge said.

“Why, this is a gift,” Peter said. “From Nicholas.”

He pointed to me.

“Were did you get cows?” Anna whispered.

“I was ready for all needs,” I whispered back.

Then I said to the crowd, “Friends, I bring these cows as a gift to you in this time of need. Your children should drink milk to keep them from getting sick and to build their strength.”

“They…they might be cursed,” the farmer said.

“Don’t look cursed to me,” one of the townsmen said.

I heard one man add, “Not like the cows on his sorry farm.”

“My friends and I came here to see if we could help,” I said. “I know some simple medicines. Nicholas and Anna are a baker’s children who were bringing food.”

At the mention of food, all eyes turned to the constable.

“They had food? Where is it.” An older man said.

“Well, I, um, I have it in the jail to, um, keep it safe,” he said.

“Get it,” the judge said.

The constable ran off toward the jail.

The judge looked at the farmer.

“Are you sure these are the people you saw in the woods?”

The farmer looked around at the eyes of his fellow townsmen. He could read the messages in their eyes.

“I, er, might be wrong.”

The priest stepped forward.

“I may be wrong as well,” he said.

“We all make mistakes,” I said. “Now is the time to help.”

We did help. Over the next few days we nursed the sick. I taught the people about boiling all water, and keeping the soiled water away form all drinking water. Nicholas helped to build some privies – decorating them in his own style.

Anna taught the women about cleaning their hands before cooking. She also showed them how to make a community soup to that they could share all their food to make sure that there was enough.

As for Kaiser, he was no longer a savage attack dog. He followed Anna everywhere, and was soon playing with the children, most of who recovered quickly from their illnesses.

Sadly, some of the very sick children and adults died. We had several funerals.

I spent long nights in the church praying for their souls. The priest often knelt beside me, lost in prayer himself.

Two weeks later, we were ready to leave. The priest blessed us.

“I am sorry that my brother and I falsely accused you,” he said. “But I can tell by your kindness and your actions that you have already forgiven us. You are saints.”

“We are just people who care,” Nicholas said.

I kept my mouth shut.

As we rode out of town, Peter, who was riding next to our cart, loudly said to me, “So you’re a saint, eh?”

Anna smiled.

“I think he is,” she answered, then said to me, “I have never seen a man of your years work with so much energy.”

“Years? You don’t know the half of it,” Peter laughed, and rode ahead.

I looked at Anna and shrugged.

But I thought: If there is any saint here, I am looking at her.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Help arrives

There was uproar in the courtroom.

The priest signaled for calm.

The crowd gradually began to quiet.

“If he were the devil,” he said, “could we have captured him so easily?”

A few of the people nodded.

“No, he is not the devil. But he is likely one of his servants.”

“I serve none but the Holy Trinity,” I said.

“Silence,” the judge yelled.

But I could see in the priest’s eyes uncertainty. I had name the Trinity – something most common men would not do.

“Are you certain you saw him in the woods?” the judge said to the farmer.

“Well,” he said uncertainly, “it looked like him.”

At that moment, I saw a twinkling at the window. I smiled. My elves had arrived.

Then I saw a butterfly land on the sill.

They had gotten my message.

Time for some fun.