A Kidnapped Santa Claus
Santa Claus lives in the Laughing Valley, where stands the big,
rambling castle in which his toys are manufactured. His workmen,
selected from the ryls, knooks, pixies and fairies, live with him, and
every one is as busy as can be from one year's end to another.
It is called the Laughing Valley because everything there is happy
and gay. The brook chuckles to itself as it leaps rollicking between
its green banks; the wind whistles merrily in the trees; the sunbeams
dance lightly over the soft grass, and the violets and wild flowers
look smilingly up from their green nests. To laugh one needs to be
happy; to be happy one needs to be content. And throughout the
Laughing Valley of Santa Claus contentment reigns supreme.
On one side is the mighty Forest of Burzee. At the other side stands
the huge mountain that contains the Caves of the Daemons. And between
them the Valley lies smiling and peaceful.
One would thing that our good old Santa Claus, who devotes his days to
making children happy, would have no enemies on all the earth; and, as
a matter of fact, for a long period of time he encountered nothing but
love wherever he might go.
But the Daemons who live in the mountain caves grew to hate Santa Claus
very much, and all for the simple reason that he made children happy.
The Caves of the Daemons are five in number. A broad pathway leads
up to the first cave, which is a finely arched cavern at the foot of
the mountain, the entrance being beautifully carved and decorated. In
it resides the Daemon of Selfishness. Back of this is another cavern
inhabited by the Daemon of Envy. The cave of the Daemon of Hatred is
next in order, and through this one passes to the home of the Daemon
of Malice--situated in a dark and fearful cave in the very heart of
the mountain. I do not know what lies beyond this. Some say there
are terrible pitfalls leading to death and destruction, and this may
very well be true. However, from each one of the four caves mentioned
there is a small, narrow tunnel leading to the fifth cave--a cozy
little room occupied by the Daemon of Repentance.