A Kidnapped Santa Claus
And the Daemons, who guarded him by turns, one after
another, did not neglect to taunt him with contemptuous words in his
When Christmas Day dawned the Daemon of Malice was guarding the
prisoner, and his tongue was sharper than that of any of the others.
"The children are waking up, Santa!" he cried. "They are waking up to
find their stockings empty! Ho, ho! How they will quarrel, and wail,
and stamp their feet in anger! Our caves will be full today, old
Santa! Our caves are sure to be full!"
But to this, as to other like taunts, Santa Claus answered nothing.
He was much grieved by his capture, it is true; but his courage did
not forsake him. And, finding that the prisoner would not reply to
his jeers, the Daemon of Malice presently went away, and sent the
Daemon of Repentance to take his place.
This last personage was not so disagreeable as the others. He had
gentle and refined features, and his voice was soft and pleasant in tone.
"My brother Daemons do not trust me overmuch," said he, as he entered
the cavern; "but it is morning, now, and the mischief is done. You
cannot visit the children again for another year."
"That is true," answered Santa Claus, almost cheerfully;
"Christmas Eve is past, and for the first time in centuries
I have not visited my children."
"The little ones will be greatly disappointed," murmured the Daemon of
Repentance, almost regretfully; "but that cannot be helped now. Their
grief is likely to make the children selfish and envious and hateful,
and if they come to the Caves of the Daemons today I shall get a
chance to lead some of them to my Cave of Repentance."
"Do you never repent, yourself?" asked Santa Claus, curiously.
"Oh, yes, indeed," answered the Daemon. "I am even now repenting that
I assisted in your capture. Of course it is too late to remedy the
evil that has been done; but repentance, you know, can come only after
an evil thought or deed, for in the beginning there is nothing to
The Girl with the Horse's Head or the Silkworm Goddess
Category: Chinese folktales
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