Sunday, February 26, 2006

The North Pole Flu

It’s been a long week.

We have been battling the flu – nearly the entire North Pole community.

Mrs. Claus and I both got it. But we heal quickly from all ills – one of the blessings bestowed on us by the Lord as part of our long lives.

The elves, dwarves and gnomes are not so blessed.

My beloved wife and I were forced to play doctor most of the week because all the elf doctors got sick, too!

I will continue the tale of being trapped in the ice tunnels when things settle down.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A rescuer - and more trouble

The hour back seemed even longer. We were hungry and tired.

We finally came to the branch.

“Do we go on, or do we rest?” Eomar asked.

Gimlitin looked down the new branch.

“We could find a way out.” He said. “Or we may find nothing.”

I looked at the faces of all my companions.

The looked discouraged.

“Let’s go back to the hole and rest,” I said.

We headed back until we came to the hole. We looked up.

“Maybe if just one of us could get up,” suggested Alosia, one of the elves. “He could go get help.”

“Do you think the sides of holes could hold?” I asked Gimlitin.

“I do not know. It is a risk.

“Staying here is a risk,” Eomar said. “Trying the tunnel that way is a risk.”

“Let’s see what we can do,” I said.

“We first tried throwing up a small pick tied to a rope, but it kept pulling loose and falling down. We had to keep jumping out of the way.

Then we first tried to make an elf/dwarf/human pyramid.

We just kept falling. And we were short of the hole anyway.

Then we heard a voice.

“Santa? Oh Santa.”


“Down here,” I called. “Get help.”

“Down whe … oohp!”

He came flying down, landing on a dwarf!

“Are you two all right,” I said, rushing over to them.

“I…I,” Dimis began.

But then he and the dwarf disappeared into the floor of the tunnel!

We all jumped back, trying to avoid the widening hole. But it was no use.

We fell into the tunnel below, which sloped steeply. We found ourselves sliding down.

We seem to slide forever until we crashed into each other – and a wall.

Our groans were interrupted by a scream of terror.


Sure enough, there was a goblin in the wall.

And behind him in the ice we saw more!

Friday, February 17, 2006

No luck

After a break, we started back the way we had come. It had seemed such a long time to get to where the tunnel was blocked – yet so quick getting back to where we had fallen through.

“Perhaps if we just called up,” Eomar suggested. “They will eventually start to search for us.”

“We could,” Gimlitin said. “But they will not know which tunnel we were in in the first place. And yelling may cause more to give way.”

“Let’s try going the other way in the tunnel, I suggested. If we don’t find a way up, we can always return here and see if we can signal safely.”

We set off.

All was well for about 20 minutes.

Then the tunnel branched.

Gimlitin looked down one branch, then the others. Then back down the first.

Then he began to grumble.

“What did you say,” Eomar asked.

“It’s not like good, solid rock,” Gimlitin growled. “If this was rock, I’d get a sense of which way to go.

I went over to the all and with my walking stick etched an arrow in it pointing back to the way we had come.

Gimlitin grunted in an approving way.

“This way,” he said, and led us into one of the branches.

We walked for at least an hour. There was no end in sight.

Suddenly, the floor began to give way under one of the dwarves.

Gimlitin grabbed him and pulled him back at the last moment. We hurriedly retreated as more of the floor gave way.

When it finally stopped, we peered ahead into the tunnel.

The hole was too large to cross. I edged close to it and looked down.

It disappeared into the depths.

“I guess we try the other branch,” I said, trying to sound cheerful.

No one smiled.

We headed back the way we had come.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A dead end - and bread

Gimlitin – who had a sprained ankle – held his lantern high.

The hole from the tunnel above was about 30 feet above us.

“That ceiling has been giving way for a while,” he said.

I looked around at the piles of ice scattered through he tunnel.

“So it is gradually giving way?” I said.

“Yes. Now I am worried that even more will give way,” Gimlitin said. “The village
may be in danger.”

I sighed.

“Can we fix it?”

“I don’t know,” he said.

“I think the more important thing right now is how we get out of here,” Eomar said.

I looked at him. He had scrapes about his face, and the beginnings of a black eye.

“We must have fallen 40 or 50 feet,” he said. “And it looks like more will give way if wqe try to climb back out the way we came.”

“Aye,” Gimlitin said. “Good eye.”

“So that means we have to find another way out,” I said.

At that moment we heard the rumble of ice falling somewhere in the depths.

“I think we’d better start now,” I said.

We looked both was down he tunnel. Both ways looked about equal, so we arbitrarily went to the right.

As we walked – or limped in some cases – Gimlitin and another dwarf, Arguntar – kept checking the walls, occasionally muttering to each other in a dwarfish dialect.

“Part of me would like to know what they are saying,” Eomar said to me. “But from the looks on their faces, maybe I don’t want to know.”

Occasionally we spotted cracks in the walls. Gimlitin and Arguntar stopped at some of them to peer into them.

We walked for a nearly two hours.

Then we turned a corner – and discovered that a collapse had blocked our way!

“We have to turn back” Eomar groaned.

“Let’s stop first,” I suggested.

We sat, and passed around some water.

Aolieas, one of the elves, said, “I wish we had some food to go with it.”

Arguntar slipped off a pack he’s been carrying. He took out some dwarf bread.

“Here. Not elvish fare, but solid enough”

We each ate some. Dwarf bread has a strong taste and a coarse grain – but at that moment it tasted like the finest pastry.

But I noticed everyone was careful to eat only a little and not to drop any crumbs.

We were all thinking the same thing: We don’t know how long this supply of bread has to last.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Falling through tunnels

I found myself falling.

I landed with a thump on the floor of the tunnel below the one I had been in.

Then that floor began to give way.

I grabbed for anything to hold on to.

All I felt were chunks of ice.

The I felt and arm.


It was Eomar.

I felt his hand and grasped it.

We fell through the second floor.

We hit the floor below. Ice fell on us.

And elves and dwarves.

And more ice.

After a few minutes, the ice stopped falling.

He tunnel was filled with the groans and the sounds of elves and dwarves coughing.

I was coughing, too.

“Are you all right, Santa?”

I recognized Gimlitin’s voice.

“Yes, I think so. Are you? How is everyone else?”

Gimlitin clicked on his lantern. Several other lanterns turned on.

It took a few minutes, but we finally found everyone.

Bruises, a few sprains, but nothing more serious.

“Can we climb back out?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Gimlitin said.

I didn’t like the sound of concern in his voice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Collapse beneath the ice

The next day, we went into the tunnels.

The party consisted of Gimlitin and a team of dwarves, Eomar and several elves, and myself.

All told, 11 of us.

The main tunnels below the main buildings were fine. But as we pushed out into some of the side tunnels, Gimlitin pointed to some problems.

“Look at those cracks,” he said.

Some were so large I could stick my hand in them.

“It get’s worse,” he said.

We ventured into one of the deeper tunnels.

Sure enough, there was a crack so large I could fit through it. I saw in the distance another tunnel through the opening.

“I don’t know that tunnel,” I said.

“There’s lots more like that,” Gimlitin said. “Tunnels that are not on the main maps. Eomar found some older maps, and some of those tunnels are listed there. But they’ve been sealed for years.”

“Some of them were sealed during the goblin fights in the 1930s,” Eomar said. “Some were shut off by collapses even earlier.”

“Speaking of collapses,” Gimlitin said.

Before us we saw a pile of ice where a wall had partly given way.

“This is bad,” I said.

“Aye,” Gimlitin said. “We may even have to abandon the tunnels altogether and fill them in. For safety sake.”

Just at that moment, we heard a rumbling.

Then the floor beneath us gave way!

I started to slip through!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Trapped beneath the ice!

Oh my goodness.

I have not written in two weeks because I’ve been trapped!

In the ice!

Beneath the North Pole!

With goblins!!!

It all began with Gimlitin, head of the dwarves at the North Pole.

He came to deliver a report about the tunnels beneath the North Pole.

As you may remember, I had proposed that we look into the tunnels beneath the pole. We wanted to see if they might be useful to help connect the building. We also wanted to look at building more tunnels.

Gimlitin found me at the paint shop. I was checking out some new shades of red and green to use on toys.

“Well, this is a little too pink for me,” I said, holding up a sample.

Fantanti, The head paint elf, was about to say something when cold air and snow blew in through the door.

A bundle of fur came in and shook.

Snow flew everywhere.

“Hey,” Fantanti blurted.

“Sorry” the fur ball grumbled.


“What brings you out on such a snowy day, Gimlitin?” I asked.

He took off his hat.

“I’ve been searching for you,” he said gruffly. “I have news about the tunnels.”

I turned to Fantanti.

“May we use your office?”

“Anything to get this moisture away from my paint,” he squeaked.

We went into the office.

Gimlitin shook again. Some snow got on Fantanti’s desk.

“Sorry,” Gimlitin grumbled, not sounding very sorry at all.

Fantanti left.

“So?” I said.

“We have found something that might be a problem,” Gimlitin said.



“Go on.”

“As you know, the North Pole is built on ice. Not good solid rock. Ice.”

“Yes,” I said.

“Ice moves. Not like good solid rock.”

He paused, waiting for me to day something. Probably about the superior quality of rock.

I nodded.

“”Well, he said,” it’s moving faster than expected.”

“Do you know why?”

“Not sure. My gut feeling is global warming. The ice cap is melting on the edges. The ice is moving faster.”

“Are our buildings in danger?”

“Could be. They are certainly moving”


“Igf you look at the old charts, the village is about 50 feet further south than it was when it was built.”
It had never occurred to me that North Pole Village could move. But of course it would. It’ built on ice, and ice moves.

“It’s making a mess of the tunnels,” he said. “Some of them have closed up. There are also cracks in the walls of some, and new caves are opening.”

“I see.”

“I think we need to reconsider all our plans. The green house. New tunnels. We may even want to think about having to move the whole village.”


“Are you sure?”

“About as certain as I can be with ice. It’s not like good solid rock.”


“I think I want to see,” I said.

“I can take you down tomorrow. It’ll take about two hours.”

Boy, was he wrong!

(More tomorrow. Right now I need more hot chocolate!)