A Kidnapped Santa Claus
You are quite
right to hate such base slanderers, and you ought to be revenged upon
them for their evil words."
"But I don't hate 'em!" exclaimed Santa Claus positively. "Such
people do me no real harm, but merely render themselves and their
children unhappy. Poor things! I'd much rather help them any day
than injure them."
Indeed, the Daemons could not tempt old Santa Claus in any way. On
the contrary, he was shrewd enough to see that their object in
visiting him was to make mischief and trouble, and his cheery laughter
disconcerted the evil ones and showed to them the folly of such an
undertaking. So they abandoned honeyed words and determined to use force.
It was well known that no harm can come to Santa Claus while he is in
the Laughing Valley, for the fairies, and ryls, and knooks all protect
him. But on Christmas Eve he drives his reindeer out into the big
world, carrying a sleighload of toys and pretty gifts to the children;
and this was the time and the occasion when his enemies had the best
chance to injure him. So the Daemons laid their plans and awaited the
arrival of Christmas Eve.
The moon shone big and white in the sky, and the snow lay crisp and
sparkling on the ground as Santa Claus cracked his whip and sped away
out of the Valley into the great world beyond. The roomy sleigh was
packed full with huge sacks of toys, and as the reindeer dashed onward
our jolly old Santa laughed and whistled and sang for very joy. For
in all his merry life this was the one day in the year when he was
happiest--the day he lovingly bestowed the treasures of his workshop
upon the little children.
It would be a busy night for him, he well knew. As he whistled and
shouted and cracked his whip again, he reviewed in mind all the towns
and cities and farmhouses where he was expected, and figured that he
had just enough presents to go around and make every child happy. The
reindeer knew exactly what was expected of them, and dashed along so
swiftly that their feet scarcely seemed to touch the snow-covered ground.